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Tierra del Fuego to Torres del Paine, Return from The End of The World – ooAmericaS 5

Creative writing and travel writing from Tierra del Fuego to Torres del Paine via Punta Arenas, and via the Magellan Straits, at the tip of Patagonia, Chile and Argentina. Part 5 of ooAmericaS, Journey through South America.


From Ushuaia to Puerto Natales, via Punta Arenas, Argentina and Chile

Dec 17


Patagonia the pampa, the flatly undulating plains

Its soft golden brush tilted into the prevailing southwesterly winds

Its mulatto sheep, its grey sheep, its brown-ish grey sheep, wooled and docile

Its lakes and rivers and irrigation pipes, its oil drills too

Its free-ranging horses, and its herded horses, raised for race and gender

Its ferry boats, and its Patagonia dolphins,

Little Willies jumping over the water handsomely

Its vast, proud, emptiness, and its glazing sun

Its waters cold but not frozen, not in summer anyhow

Its flying birds of all flocks, sitting on rocks and watching the clouds turn purple

Its clouds and skies, its unforgettable horizons

Its roads built by Man for travel and now uninterrupted, unassuming, parts of beauteous Nature

Its graves and dead and fences to keep the livery in

Its strayed cows sometimes, or sheep, Its shacked roofs and farmhouses

Its great Estancias, red-roofed and blue-roofed

Its love of Jesus and, hopefully, above all else, Love

It’s the end of the world

As we know it, and only as such



The bus made us rise early at dawn

With full light out, four o’clock, after a few hours of sleep

The kind nightkeeper asks :Quieres cereales?”

To which I replied with fervor “Si por favor”

She prepared the sandwiches – ham and cheese and tomato, and butter,

I packed our bags

The nightkeeper hurried to remove the chairs from the tables,

And boil some water for the coffee, and bring eggs and jam and dulce de leche

We hurried to make them

The dining room was quiet – it being usually so full of different lives and their stories

We bade farewell the innkeeper, his inn, and his guests


The morning cool but not unduly cold, a quick shot at the sign of the world’s end

The rubber footing of the tripod lost itself forever in the Earth’s gravel

(but this will be remembered only for its symbolism, not for ay matter of gravity)

The bus was waiting already, a room full of people (a shuttle bus)

Local practice had some waiting for the last half hour,

But we were not late and so we all left together

The roads not icy, wet, the grey skies unremitting

Ushuaia left us a last taste of oily outskirts

Cisterns and warehouses, automotive shops, containers, tractors, gutted trucks and such increments of industrial townships


Then the road opened, new and and still wet

The young driver sped, pressing the gas lightly in the turns, and our fellow passengers slept

I saw a lake, and low-lying mountains, and felled wood

Much felled wood

Then gave way to sleep too

Rio Gallegos or Grande welcomed us still in that state

Invalidated to draw outside the gas station


Poor city yet forgotten by the busy traveller

A bowling alley, cleaning staff mopping the dark alleyways

Outside in the courtyard two giant bowling pins,  gutted them too

Two big, well-fed dogs tore apart the trash

Digging through unseemly , tearing them apart ravenously


A few Israelis, fresh off their military service a Korean couple looking Japanese

An American who speaks perfect languages

Take the same route we do


A new bus, a bigger one this time

(Still  far from the luxuries and 160-degree reclining chairs oft touted)

An albeit comfortable bus, and let’s leave it at that

Tired, pictures of the unscrolling landscape

The border comes soon

We still have four of the six sandwiches

Ham and cheese are not allowed

But the border patrollers are smiley and jovial, it’s a straightforward process

I ask if I can take a picture inside

They smile as they say no


But we are not done yet, customs is to come

Wolf down the sandwiches

She, her smaller body and appetite, made sick, leaves the second bread loaf

We are not in the clear

Scared for a bag of dried grapes

Risking prison and fines, losing hair over 100 grams of dried grapes



Immediately, as by design, llamas are in sight

Still scared for the grapes

There, we are now in the clear



O Chile!

Llamas, head high and proud, barons of the Oriental land

More sheep, wool by the ton, happy families

No wonder the importance of the shepherd in our cultures

As keeper – nay, protector – of these wonderful creatures


The sun is beaming

Blue skies as we haven’t seen in days, deep, life-giving blue


A very rough road awakes us again

Dust seeping the vents, its smell distinct and magical too

Everything here is

I dream looking at the unchanging plains

Their vast expanses of emptiness

Their fulfilled promise

Their forgetfulness of everything

Their tolerance for Us passing through them

(And thank the bus for its modern suspensions)


Finally, long, short hours after, giving in to the seeping heat…

To then discover a ferry departing

Thus we must wait

Step into the refreshing maritime air

Full of the smell of salt and seaweed and Nature and Life like no other sea in the world


Magic, Magellanic Straits water


Coarse, and smooth, and beckoning to the adventurous


A man waits on the beach alone, checking his cell phone

Picking his nose


Some street art, and of fine quality, in this remote outpost

A line of cars and trucks and buses waits for the ferry to return

It does, and we board

So do the trucks and cars and buses, behind us, with great care and maneuvering by the foremen, in tight formation on deck


We find a most comfortable seating area (I admit, ashamedly, to my surprise)

I leave her to sit tight by the window, plan on seeking the lapses of time on deck

But no sooner have I set up

An aged, sunny man – what a man, a Samaritan I should say – pulls me over

“Look, look.” He says, calmly, full of grace


I squint and see, skipping playfully in the cold, grey-green waters,

Two, three, four, even more

“Patagonia dolphins” says the wise man, leaving me to wonder


I run to the lower floor, run through the aisles

“Look, look


I tug her, rush her, ruin the moment

ashamed and sorry


Magic, Magellanic Straits water


Fervent and undulating, the wild’s tightly wound embrace


Brown cows, milk cows,

More crosses and graves, more plains adored, adorned in their simplest. Most sumptuous apparel


More sleep


Control Carbineros

Another village, an abandoned escuela and cafeteria

No living souls in sight

But the endless rows of grazing sheep


Much felled wood, scorched or logged

Some construction materials, some discarded car bodies

Small streams winding through the grassy plains

Lavender shrubs grow dark violet, an old bridge


Sun finally lowered onto the last quadrants of the horizon

The skies a little bit pinker

An orange, soothing, cold and warm flow

And, as conjured with synchronous willfulness,

To the northeast, the first glimpse of Torres del Paine,

Of its shimmering, sharp peaks, of the glint of its snow-capped summits


We move flawlessly in this space, greeted by the same, all different, encroached trees hung onto the barbed fences, birds sit idly still, not even pecking at the ground or water, same huts seeming all but occupied, same outstretched road delivering us to our common Origins

Same same

To the Doors of Birth of Re-Birth, of Life Anew


On and on, on Ruta del Fin del Mundo

Bienvenida a Prinviza Ultima Esperanza


NB: Praise to the Spanish of ore for their remarkable lyricism in their choice of names, who knows if this may have helped them endure the terrible pain and violence they inflicted upon enlightened populations (think SS listening to the great classic compositions in concentration camps)

NB2: The sunset never ends, summer in the end of the world


For more from Tierra del Fuego, Punta Arenas, Patagonia, Chile and Argentina, see the photos from Punta Arenas, read the travel tips for Torres del Paine or view all the travel stories, videos, photos and writing from Chile on Rolling Coconut’s Travel section.

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Hi, I’m ooa revo. I like to create using different media including Film, Photos, Writing, Animation, Videos, Drawings, Painting, Poetry, newer media such as XR/AR/VR/360, and more! Many stories and work on OOAworld are inspired by world travels, as well as a Movie / Documentary asking people I met along the road: "What's your philosophy in life?" Follow the adventure on OOAworld and social media or by signing up to email updates!