Here are two forgotten diary entries from the start of our trip to South America. Forgotten because we couldn’t find the diary at the time so Laura wrote them on some scraps of paper which got mislaid.
This is a description of our New Year’s Eve:
Last night was pretty wild. We started with wine on the plane, followed by a beer in the airport, and then unrolled our mats on the airport floor and promptly fell asleep. Not the holiday for boozy late nights.
We caught an early flight to Comodora Rivadavia – a forgotten town on the east coast of Patagonia from where we caught a bus to Los Antigos on the Chilean border. Tim lost his hat so spent the day skulking in the shadows – hair gives ma a significant advantage.
We’re both rather exhausted and looking forward to the peace we hope we’ll find as we head into the region. It certainly looked quiet from the plane with endless miles of scrub land. The latter part of our walk will be over similar terrain and I’ve been viewing it with some trepidation – leaving the mountains to spend several days walking across featureless wastes will be hard. At least it will be an insight into ‘real’ Patagonia.
And this is after a night spent at a local guy’s house:
Last night we camped in a yard outside a Chilean housekeeper’s house on the Carretera Austral. He was very generous, allowing us to use his kitchen and bathroom and donating a lettuce to our dinner.
Situations like this make me uncomfortable.
Of course it was wonderful to eat dinner at a table, rather than crunched on the floor, and it was interesting to talk to him – albeit in very pidgin Spanish. My discomfort stems from the gratefulness, not knowing what is expected of us and not knowing how to act.
Should we use our own toilet roll? Would he mind us using the stove for breakfast porridge?
Maybe it’s an English concern with manners and social niceties. In this case the lady who dropped us off had suggested paying him and this made our stay far easier. Reducing something to a financial transaction makes it more comfortable with each parting knowing what is expected.
What a sad state of affairs where the exchange of cash is preferred to simple generosity.