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Stacked like cord wood going on forever lay the bodies of those less wealthy.

 

Today was an important day for me here in Chile.
It was time for the complementary tour we had arranged for
the group Rae and I are hosting here on the Seabourn Sojourn.
We arrived in Punta
Arenas early in the morning so were able to start our
4 hour tour earlier than the 9AM scheduled time.
It started with a stop at the downtown square, which is the
same square where the ships shuttle drops people off who wish to see the city
on their own without taking an excursion.
It was a positive enough experience but not one we could not
have had on our own, so I was becoming somewhat concerned.
There were lots of shopping stalls surrounding the square
and a significant number of purchases were made it seemed.
The guide explained the significance of the stature in the
centre of the square dedicated to the explorer, Magellan, upon whose waters we
have been sailing.
Many rushed to touch the foot of one of the statues that
adorns the column, to ‘bring the person good luck’.
It must have worked because the tour started to take on an
enjoyable life of its own.
We then took in a museum which was interesting, done in the
style of Manitoba’s Man and Nature Museum.
Some of the species were the same as ours but so many like the Condor
definitely are not found in the places we live or visit in Canada.
The real eye opening experience began with our visit to the major cemetery of the area.
While families who could afford it had huge mausoleums the ordinary people are stacked like cord wood in row upon row of coffin laden shelving that goes several levels high in the air.
It is an unusual site for us yet a common reality for the people of the area.
Then we drove to the hill overlooking the city of Punta Arenas for a quick
photo opportunity.
It had become a much improved tour, but once again on this
incredible journey of ours, the best was yet to come.
We bused to a nearby farm owned by a John Dick whose family emigrated
from Scotland
before the turn of the 20th century.
While the family owns huge
tracts of land and hundreds of sheep away from the city, this is a once upon a
time farm that has been converted into a delightful tourist attraction.
We were greeted with a glass of wine and some Empanadas,
which we have all acquired a genuine taste for.
Then a guitar strumming troubadour started to entertain us
with some of the best songs from the various part of Chile.
He clearly loved entertaining and really got into the spirit
of our group and would likely still be singing for us had we not had to move on
to the next phase of the ‘farm’.
Walking past horses, sheep, Llamas and other animals we
entered ‘the shed’, a barn by our standards…and it was clear by the odor that
animals seem to be the same the world over.
After explaining the sheep shearing process, a experienced
shearer slowed down the process so we could see for ourselves the talent it
takes to do this job for hours upon hours every day.
The farm is also home to other horses in the style of
refurbished automobiles going back to 1918 as well as an Evinrude boat motor
that was one of the earliest made.
Then to the private museum which was as much about the
history of the family as it was about Chile, but woven into a tremendous
presentation by John Dick who is articulate, obviously intelligent, and
passionate about the life he and his life lead.
Tonight we will dine together as a group again. They are all
such great company. And on the nights when we are not to exhausted to stay up,
at the bar the “Canadians’ clearly are the life of the boat.
These are some genuinely humorous people and we are having
loads of laughs.
Tomorrow is a sea day and I look forward to the rest,
exercise, and enjoying the amenities of this ship where everything is included
from Booze to specialty coffees et al.
Please consider joining my Wife Rae and I as we host another
cruise on another Seabourn ship next January.
On January 20 of 2014 we will sail from Hong Kong to Singapore via Thailand
and Vietnam.
I was surprised to learn some time ago that in a vote of
tourist boards Vietnam
was voted to be the safest of all Asian countries. Considering its past history
with the United States,
that might sound surprising. Yet it is Americans who are visiting the country
in greater and greater numbers each passing year.

 

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