I try my hardest to not come off as a repetitive person, but I do find it hard to let things go and as I enter my last years of college I've come to realize what some of my shortcomings are, and I'm ashamed of admitting being repetitive it's a big one. So, just in an effort to prove my point, here is another story about a trip I took.
This time I found myself traveling back home, a place I left because I wanted to learn what else what out there, but now I consider myself lucky to visit. As it is usual we packed up our fishing gear and headed out, this time my Dad was joining me. Our goal was to reach the end of the continent, then cross the Estrecho de Magallanes and then drive across Tierra del Fuego, stopping to fish along the way.
This was another side of my country, one I had not seen yet, Chile is a very special place--as I'm sure most of us feel about our homes--Chile is the long skinny one on the west coast of South America, mostly known for our Football team, our one of a kind charm (a not so charming one), and our earthquakes. Extending for 2,653 miles from north to south, the Chilean Territory encompasses a wide variety of climates and landscapes, from the driest desert in the world in El Desierto de Atacama, one of the biggest mountain ranges in the world in La Cordillera de Los Andes, to Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and even a part of Antartica. A mixture of slangs give shape to some weird unknown type of Spanish only Chileans seem to be able to master, ancient professions and techniques have flourished her; from fishermen over in the southern coasts to miners up north, and forest workers spread all over the southern lands. Although, in this new era most of this old-time artisans have seen their jobs on the line as bigger companies keep making their way into the lands and oceans. Luckily it's the fierceness of the land that keeps traditions alive and down south the "gauchos", fisherman and farmers are a testament to the quality of the old techniques. We still haven't become an industrialized country and we mainly serve as raw material exporters; we are one of the top copper extractors in the world. Life here hasn't achieved much but has managed to live a stable existence, something I would never dare criticizing.
For this trip, my old man and I got to see what is known down here as "Pampa" which covers most of Tierra del Fuego, vast fields and huge portions of land with nothing, just covered with moss and grass. This is the part of the continent where the mountain range that covers the east side of Chile begins it's descent below sea level, just to reappear over in Antartic territory. This means that winds coming from the ocean don't have anything to stop or slow them down, and they just hit everything in sight, leaving bend and fallen trees anywhere they actually manage to grow, and providing a very harsh environment for any living creature.
Weather is impossible to predict down here, the sun and clouds play games with you and the wind just seems to mock you with the chills it sends up your spine every time it finds you exposed and not ready, in addition to all this rain never quits, if it's not raining on you just have a look around and you'll see some clouds, most likely heading your direction--keep in mind it's summer right now in the southern hemisphere.
The road was plagued by shambles of old farming and cattle "Estancias", some of them abandon by now and some still working. Throughout the land broken down fences spreading across the fields, proving that as hostile as the land might be it was once conquered. It's hard to come to terms with the feelings this type of scenery evokes, the sights weren't as beautiful as one might expect; desolated, dead pastures and forests, abandon houses and barns, and even the rivers were infested with some type of fish-murdering algae.
The land in the south of Chile is mostly own by private parties, almost always belonging to Chilean politicians and as this land contains unexplored reserves of oil and gas, it is a wonder why it still hasn't being worked. Hotels and Lodges are starting to appear in random places, there is life here, it just moves slower and regardless of who's name is in the property documents, farmers, sheep, guanacos, and foxes walk around like the owners of this land, I truly feel thankful and humbled to have been here.