Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Southbound for Patagonia

From Santiago, we pressed on southwards, spending the night on the bus and arriving 14 hours later in the port city of Puerto Montt.

En route, we managed once again to almost disembark too early at the wrong city. Why don't the long-distance buses in South America ever announce the name of the places they stop at?! Thankfully, the bus conductor recognised us as The Chinese Couple Going To Puerto Montt (it's not difficult, really), refused to hand over our luggage and shooed us back up the bus. We sheepishly returned to our seats, only to find that another passenger had happily claimed them for himself. We mercilessly shooed him back to his seat and continued the journey to the correct destination.

Arriving at the bus terminal in Puerto Montt, we lugged our bags uphill along the waterfront in search of a guesthouse. We found one at the top of the knoll, right next to the police station (how much safer can you get!) and settled in for the night - in the only bedroom with a view:

Gorgeous, isn't it?

The neighbourhood

Having read Lonely Planet's dreary description of Puerto Montt ("a grinding hub of commerce and industry"), I was expecting a grey, ugly, industrial city populated with smoking factories. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find colourful hillside settlements gently leading down to gravel beaches and meeting the rainbow-hued fishing boats bobbing gaily in the fjord. A fellow guest and I agreed how important it was for guidebook writers to present cities as accurately and comprehensively as possible, and to find a balance between turning readers off a place completely and overly romanticising it (we have given up on following LP's recommendations to stop by "must-visit pretty colonial villages".)

It's nice wad! Why Lonely Planet say until like dat?

We were in Puerto Montt to board one of the Navimag ferries the following morning. Now, before anyone says "What? Yet another cruise? So nice!", we have to highlight that Navimag is not a luxury cruise line along the likes of Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruises. Its bare-bones ferries transport passengers and cargo across the Patagonian channels. Along with 150 other passengers, we boarded our ship at 2pm on 30 Oct for a 1,500km-long journey over the next 3 days to Puerto Natales.

Waiting to be released from the dock at Puerto Montt

We'll let you in on the route, life on board the ship and scenery as seen from the deck in the next 2 posts. In the meanwhile, since we're on the theme of sailing, here's one of my favourite quotes for you to mull upon through the day or before sleep overcomes you at night:

(I've a feeling that I've shared this before on one of our very early posts on our old Blogabond blog. But since I really like it - and this is our blog - I get to share it again!)
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.

- Mark Twain
And here's another good one:
Explore. Exchange. Entertain (at Marina Bay)
- Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore

Fueled by Commitment, Challenge, Adventure and Life.


Anonymous said...

urghk... we've also had enough of LP's "quaint and lovely"... "must visit" villages/guesthouses, etc...

Pretty vistas from your room! :)


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