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April 4th and 5th, 2014 - Punta Arenas, Chile

From College Station to Punta Arenas

by Andrew Klein

Andrew's head

Well, it has been an interesting trip. Steve and I left College Station a little bit late on the American Eagle to Dallas. We arrived with plenty of time to spare and enjoyed some sandwiches, pizza and drinks in the Admirals Club before we boarded an American Airlines 767 bound for Santiago Chile.
We had a nice nine hour overnight flight and landed in Santiago at 7:30 in the morning. We proceeded with no problems through immigration and customs with the aid of Jimmy who works for the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) to aid travelers with such issues. We then transferred our luggage to LAN domestic flights and went to the USAP office to spend a little time.

Sometimes life is interesting…I told Steve that the one thing he needed to keep in his passport when in Latin America was the immigration paperwork…Guess the one thing Steve managed to lose going through customs and immigration – yep that little piece of paper All was going smoothly until Steve lost his immigration paperwork…Fortunately, Jimmy escorted Steve back to immigration and all was fixed in 20 minutes...yahoo
Like always we met interesting UASP people.  In this case we want to lunch with Todd Eanes who is the head of the culinary division for ASC, and is going down to learn how things work at Palmer. Both of us would like to take this opportunity to thank Todd for his great idea for 24 HOUR PIZZA AT McMURDO – it rocks and probably was mentioned with great warmth and appreciation with our early blogging from McMurdo. We cannot wait to go back and see what new things are coming online in McMurdo cuisine.

Well after a several hour layover in Santiago, we flew on LAN Chile to Punta Arenas via Puerto Montt. The flight to Puerto Montt took only 1.5 hours and the flight to Santiago about 2 hours. The flight rocked! We flew over the Patagonian Icefields and there was hardly a cloud in the sky which is an infrequent occurrence. For those of us how have studied the icefields it was a cool experience! I also had a nice conversation in English Spanish with an elementary school girl who was learning to speak English and her mother. I think she learned a bit of English and I a bit of Spanish!
I did not know what to expect of Punta Arenas, but I am really impressed. For being at the southern end of Patagonia and South America, it is a very neat, tidy and surprisingly sophisticated town with great hotels – my room at the Hotel Dreams had the best shower and tub I have ever had in a hotel room. I enjoyed the both.

 

street scene in PA
A street scene in PA

 

Hotel Dreams
Our Hotel in PA

 

Statue
Don't forget to rub the toe of the statue to ensure a safe and pleasant journey

By the time everyone got checked into our hotel it was about 8 pm. So Steve and I joined up with Todd and two USAP IT guys – one who had been to Punta Arenas quite a lot – to go to Lomitas for nice sandwiches and drinks.

We also went to the Shackelton Bar which is so named because this is where Sir Earnest Shacketlon apparently shot a revolver into the ceiling as he was trying to get people to help him rescue his crew from the Endeavor that were stranded on Elephant Island.

Boats in PortThe Gould in Port

 

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