Click map to see detailed route

All Photos & Many Graphics Can Be Expanded By Clicking Them

From: Tan Wee Cheng <>

Chile Chile Chile !
Mon 28-Feb-2000 23:10


The pseudo-nomad (pseudo because he´s going to work in 1 week´s time) is now in the Chilean city of Punta Arenas, strategically located on the Straits of Magellan between the South American Mainland and the island of Tierra del Fuego.  Upon arrival from Puerto Natales at noon, I went to Fort Bulnes, first built by the Chilean Government in the 19th C to lay claim on the Magellan Straits and Patagonia.  At the far end of Punta Santa Anna where the fort was built, I find myself at the southernmost point of South American Mainland and where the Atlantic meets the Pacific Ocean.  Bravo!

On Saturday, I left El Calafate in Argentina for Puerto Natales, a Chilean port on the Pacific coast. After a 5 hour journey across the Andes passes, I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time in 10 months.  I dumped my luggage and went straight to the
banks of Ultima Esperanza (meaning Last Hope Sound - they like pompous names here) which is one of the many complicated waterways on Chile´s southern coast.  Home is at the far western end of the ocean and I will be in Singapore soon.

Again, I have fallen in love - I am fairly promiscuous with my declaration of love for countries and places.  Chile, Chile, Chile - friendly people, great seafood, tasty cakes, fantastic scenery and everything at half the price in costly Argentina.

I did an one day excursion to Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most beautiful national parks in the world - snow capped mountains, wildlife, emerald rivers and lakes, etc.  Shangri-La a la Latin America.  I had contemplated a 3 day trek
but took the easy way out instead.  I made some great friends on that excursion - 4 crazy Italian ladies (who joked and laughed non-stop... like hyenas?), 2 equally mad Brazilian doctors of Korean descent (rushing back to Brazil for the Carnival) and a Chilean Antarctic scientist (Mr Penguino, as we called him).  We went to a restaurant for dinner and drank and danced till 2 am !  I returned to the hostel drunk and exhausted, and got up at 7am to catch the bus to Punta Arenas.  It´s a long time since I have gone so mad...

Anyway, I will leave Punta Arenas for Rio Gallegoes in Argentina  tomorrow.  From there I will fly to Buenos Aires on Wednesday.  On Thursday I will do a day trip to Uruguay.  May drop an email from fair Montevideo (capital of
Uruguay) then.


Wee Cheng

The town of Punta Natales was in sunshine, but purple clouds were piling up on the far side of Last Hope Sound.  The roofs of the houses were scabbly with rust and the red fire of their berries made the leaves seem black.  Most of the gardens were choked up like the pipes of a tuba.

Bruce Chatwin, In Patagonia

The Pacific coast at Ultima Esperanza Sound, Puerto Natales, Chile: Home is literary the other side of the ocean!
The Milodan Cave: Bruce Chatwin claimed it's over 400 feet's barely half that but large enough anyway...
The Milodan, or rather, the model of the prehistoric giant sloth.  Scientiests found partially preserved remains of it and Bruce Chatwin made the Cave (and himself) famous. 
A rhea outside the Torres del Paine National Park 
Ready to conquer the Park!
Guanacos!  Guanacos!  Guanacos!  I had thought I have seen a crop of them in Valdes, but here you see them everywhere!
Foxy in the Park The magical Lago Amarga and the Towers of Paine behind The beast and the beasts...
Spectacular scenery & wildlife... Mountains and lakes... And more mountains and lakes...
Waterfall & rainbow On the road Man & Mountains
The Amazing Lago Grey and the icebergs:
Don't they look like giant fibre glass models ?
Partying with a crazy group of Chileans, Korean-Brazilians, Italians - and of course, me the Singaporean. See my reddish face - I was drunk and very, very high... dancing mad...with the ladies from La Bella Italia... Crazy all... we are in Latin America... passion and fun overwhelms us!