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teething: march 12 – 20

They’re called the Teeth of Navarino. Better they should be called the Fangs. Vicious, merciless, and sharp, these rocks bite. El Circuito de Los Dientes de Navarino is the southernmost trek in the world, a five-days-plus mission into the exposed interior of the island that sits south of Ushuaia, between the water of the Beagle […]

secrets i’ve been keeping

Have you ever read the Stephen King novel, Cujo? I haven’t, but I know it’s about a dog. And as it’s a novel by Stephen King, I imagine that the dog turns into a monster, or is a monster in disguise, or is some sort of portal by which monsters are able to enter our […]

Puerto Williams

This is it – this is as far south as civilization gets until that big, white, cold continent. Puerto Williams is situated on the northern shore of Isla Navarino, across the Beagle Channel from Ushuaia, Argentina. Home to 2,200 inhabitants, it’s bigger than McMurdo Station in Antarctica, with more stray dogs and less to do. […]

on the rocks

The streets were slippery in the rain. My battered red sneakers slapped against the gray concrete in a steady rhythm, and I twisted my wet hair back behind my ears for the tenth time. Dawn was red this morning. The trees of the park outside the hostel’s front door blocked most of the sky, but […]

rollin’…rollin’…rollin’ on a river

I went a little bit photo-crazy on the Navimag cruise. I couldn’t help myself – everywhere, everywhere, islands like floating mountains, cliffs sparkling with countless ribbons of water, blinding white and blue glaciers hanging from black peaks, rainbows, dolphins, sunsets…my friends laughed at me because I would bolt my lunch and dinner and then race […]

food in a hole on an island (in the universe)

There are few occasions in life when you can actually sense the universe turning around you, interrupting its normal, chaotic, forward flow to sit you gently in place and to organize the elements of time and space around you like the tumbling pins of a combination lock. I was on Isla Tengla, near Puerto Montt, […]

green dreams of new zealand

When Angus and I finally arrived in Pucón (two and a half hours late), Chris, the kiwi uncle, was there to pick us up. “No worries, mate,” he said as he lugged our bags to the back of his pickup and drove us the half hour out of town to his deer ranch. Dagmar, his […]

don’t forget to tip your bag-boy

I had never in my life started a slow-clap. The first time would have to be on a bus in the middle of Chile.

You’ve seen this phenomenon in movies. There’s some powerful, unconventional, emotional performance. The audience is quiet, stunned, uncertain of how to respond, until one person stirs, putting his hands together once…twice…and […]

hot hot hot!

¡Buenos dias de Santiago de Chile!

Arrived at 9:30 this morning after two uneventful flights, met Angus, my partner in poor-Spanish, at the airport, and was whisked away amid a flurry of “hola – buenas dias – ¡vamos!” to the house of Raul and Raquel (friends of friends of friends…).

I’ve been here less than […]