30 Days Later

As the trip comes to end I’d thought I would take just a second to answer the question I’m sure is burning in everyone’s mind:  “How did you guys get along and are you still speaking to each other?”  The answer is great and yes!!

Although, we did live in each others pockets for 30 days straight, so each of us had our “moments.” Here are some very important things I learned about Gabriel over the trip…

* The more relaxing a situation is, the more stressed out he becomes.  It’s very important to keep Gabriel as busy as possible.  With too much free time he is likely to a) whine and b) start World War III on Facebook.  Do you think they make travel sized, portable hamster wheels that I can buy on Amazon for our future travels?

* He should not be allowed any caffeine after 2 pm or he will be up all night, again, starting world war III on Facebook.

* He gets more excited about Kinder eggs than my 4 year old nephew.  Actually, I think this is pretty great.  Anyone that doesn’t love Kinder eggs is no one I want to be friends with, and it’s probably a deal breaker when it comes to a relationship for me.

Overall, the trip was a blast, and most definitely an opportunity of a lifetime 😉

Gabriel’s Comment: Whine?! Pfah! More like calmly reflecting on the distinct lack of physical and/or mental stimulation available in a gruff, reasonable, and manly sort of way. And then taking steps to correct said lack via jovial and sometimes intellectually thought-provoking chats with friends. While eating a Kinder egg. 😉

Julia’s Response: Sure sweetie.

This Wine Tastes Like Grapes

Truth be told, neither Julia nor I drink much. Or at all, really (at least at this stage in our lives, hehe).

But Chilean wine country beckoned, like nubile sirens to sailors adrift at sea, and who were we to ignore the sultry undertones of its full-bodied call?

It all started innocently enough, lured into a scenic vineyard via horse and carriage…

Down into the secret dungeons, to glimpse its treasured stores…

And back up into the light, where refined olfactory titillation awaited…

And thus we began…

And cheers!

Oh, the myriad of smells and tastes: the fruity aromas of strawberry, of cassis. The smoky undertones with hints of tobacco or eucalyptus, and shades of vanilla. The overt spiciness of peppers. Do I know what I’m talking about? Absolutely not. And even less so as time went on, as we moved from one vineyard, to the next, to the next, to the next, sampling multiple glasses of their finest wines at each stop.

After the first vineyard, I was feeling pretty good.

By the 4th one, I had difficulty keeping the earth still and staggered inside (actually, both of us entirely missed noticing a legitimate 5.8 earthquake, blending in as it did with our general state of walking imbalance).

By the end of the day, could we tell tannins from tartness or body from bouquet? Maybe, maybe not. But we had irrepressible fun along the way!

Here’s to you, Chile!

Sexy Narcolepsy

As an unrelated follow up to the video Gabriel posted of me looking super cool, I’ve decided to present to you my montage of Gabriel at his best.

He has this amazing ability to fall asleep within seconds no matter where he is.  Although, it seems movement will increase the likelihood he will pass out.  Boats, planes, cars, buses, or trains will pretty much guarantee a sleeping Gabriel.

Gabriel’s Comment: Nonono, I was totally paying attention to what you were saying and completely agree that Edward is cooler than Jacob. Just resting my eyes a bit, is all. 😉

Julia’s Response: Edward would pay more attention to me!! Especially since vampires don’t sleep, you know, which is really cool because…

Gabriel: Zzzzzz….

Julia and the Bug

In Peulla, Chile, Julia claims a bug was following her. I don’t know…


Julia’s Comment:  This is total crap.  First of all, it wasn’t one bug, there were thousands of them.  HUGE prehistoric horseflies!!!!  Gabriel got stung on the eye.  Children were crying behind us.  It was a terrifying 15 minute walk.

Gabriel’s Comment: Terrifying indeed. At one point Julia yelled out and when the couple in front of us turned around, she flashed them her boobs.

Julia’s Comment:  One of them flew down my shirt!!!!!! And what about the mini fit you threw because one of them landed on your nose and dangled its legs inside your nostrils?!?

Gabriels Comment: That one was legitimately evil!

Party in My Mouth

After 4 days and 3 nights aboard a ferry with no chocolate available, I stumbled upon the most amazing dessert the world has even seen.  A chocolate, Nutella, and cookies n cream milkshake.  It was a party in mouth 🙂

Then, about 4 hours later, I came back for round two: Nutella hot chocolate!!  Sweet Jesus.

The Opportunity of a Lifetime

OK, maybe I oversold it a bit when in my enthusiasm I pitched Julia the 3-day Patagonian ferry from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt, Chile as “the opportunity of a lifetime.” True, it’s not every day one finds the need to travel from the deep south of Patagonia to its deep middle via ship meandering Patagonian fjords, but still.

Actually, the point was almost moot, since we nearly missed the ferry. When their confirmation email said “6am departure,” what they really meant was “boarding ends at 8pm the night before and the ship departs at 4am.” What?! We were lucky to even find this out, and showed up well past 10pm, probably the last passengers to board the ferry, shuffled aboard between big rigs and assorted cargo.

NAVIMAG's Evangelistas ferry, docked at Puerto Natales, Chile

Far from a cruise ship in passenger comfort or luxury (but not in price), we comforted ourselves with the knowledge that, while it may be spartan, we would be regaled with a Patagonian water journey filled with sights of incredible awe and wonder. Until we woke up to this:

Not to be deterred by a minor setback, we figured we’d go above deck to get a better view. After 15 seconds or so, I noticed that I had lost Julia, who had fled to avoid to bitterly chill south polar winds:

And then the smell hit us. Before I explain, I should mention that I was woken up by mooing in the cabin next door (sounded like the person was 6 inches from me–actually, they were, plus a thin partition). Anyway, I thought I’d heard mooing during the night, but when I heard the woman next door mooing away, I hesitated to come to any theories or conclusions as to why. To each his own.

Until the smell. As we walked above deck, it hit us. Hard. Gagging and following my nose, I walked into the direction from which it emanated, and looked down to this:

This still didn’t explain my neighbor’s vigorous mooing, but it certainly explained the smell. Cattle trucks. Many of them. Or, to put it another way: sustainable manure-generating bins. Blech!

All seemed lost.

And then!

An iceberg field, fresh off a glacier (can you spot the rainbow?):

And an invitation to visit the bridge of the ship:

Darned cool. That, plus the meals were surprisingly tasty. And so at this point I thought all was good, that all would continue to be well. Such a silly notion.

Around noon on the second day the ferry entered what is called–and I kid you not–the Gulf of Pain. Fully exposed to the swells of the Pacific, the ferry moved to open ocean.

Now, I’m not going to exaggerate the swells here. They honestly didn’t look like much. But 18 hours of rocking sea motion caused even Julia, who’s previously spent 3 months on a sailboat, to retire to the cabin in full seasickness.

Everyone was green. Dinner, except for some folks with mutant bodies, was a nonevent. Laying in our small cots, rocking back and forth, and bemoaning our cruel fate.

Which ended just in time for breakfast, thank God. And a derelict ship, creepily home to thousands of birds:

And then, a day of beautiful sunshine and plentiful views of scenic Patagonian landscapes, with poetic sunsets dragging on deep into the evening:

The opportunity of a lifetime? But of course! 🙂

Julia’s Comments: Yes, it is true, Gabriel did tell me this ferry would be an opportunity of a lifetime.  To forget about the cost (which was as much as a 5 star luxury cruise ship per day) because traveling up the fjords of Chile would be breathtakingly spectacular.  So I thought, Ohh my gosh!!! Ok!!!

After the first 24 hours of staring at this:

And doing this:

And this:

I thought it was important to reaffirm to  Gabriel just how amazing this opportunity of a lifetime was (every few hours).  Out on deck, where there was zero visibility and it was 25 degrees, opportunity of a lifetime!  Laying in the bunk beds of our 5ft by 8 ft cabin, I’d knock on the ceiling of my bunk to get his attention, opportunity of a lifetime!!!   Here’s his expression after I mentioned it once:

Mostly I was concerned for the cows though.  They had no room to move and had a whole boat of people cursing them for the overwhelming stench they cast on deck.  Can cows get seasick????  I was pretty torn up about it, but Gabriel promised me they were taking them to a beautiful, endless pasture in the Chilean country side to roam freely for the rest of their lives.  That made me feel better. 

Overall, was it worth it?  Most definitely.  You know why?  Because on the last night, there was BINGO!!!! The game where you almost win every single time.  But seriously, I did almost win, every time. So did Gabriel:

It was just like a ferry tale.

A Whiff of Romance

Here in Puerto Varas, Chile there are several outdoor adventure stores around.  Gabriel and I enjoy stopping into every single one we see.  Mostly because we are in Patagonia and it makes us feel hard core and deserving of being in these stores.

The other day when we were in a store, I pointed out to Gabriel a pair of pants I had seen at an REI before leaving and wanted to get them for this trip, but they didn’t have my size. I liked them because they had the option to pull a little elastic string at the cuff and cinch them around my ankles. That way if I were walking on wet ground my pants wouldn’t get wet. I ended up buying a similar pair and making my own elastic system at the bottom.  When I pointed this out to Gabriel in the store, comparing the stores version versus my MacGyvered version, he was thoroughly impressed at my abilities (also that I even knew who MacGyver was).  Actually, he’s been impressed with my MacGyvering skills in general on this trip, but my pants really seemed to blow him out of the water!

He looked at me, eyes wide, and said “Ohh my god, I can’t believe you made that, you are so cool!  Will you go out with me?” Then he grabbed me around the waist and gazed romantically into my eyes.  We were having a moment.  I’m an intensely romantic person at heart and truly love every time Gabriel and I get caught up in each other (whether or not it’s in public and we are making everyone around us want to vomit).

He looked deep into my eyes, tenderly tucked a piece of my flyaway hair behind my ear, kissed me on my cheek, and then whispered in my ear “I just farted, we should move.”

What a Romeo…