The time has come, once again, for Los Tres Amigos to embark on yet another adventure, and begin the next sub-chapter in our Patagonian adventure. However, this time I’m told we’re not actually roaming the lands of Patagonia, but in fact we are making our way into Tierra Del Fuego, the Land of Fire and the bottom of the world as we know it. I’m building it up for a reason, as I can already tell it’s going to be one hell of an expedition, with wild camping, serious exploration, and absolutely no washing at all. Unfortunately for the dramaticism of the story, today hasn’t quite fitted in with those characteristics, as the beginning of our mission has actually taken us up in the world, so much so that I am currently sat writing this in near luxury surroundings whilst feeling very out of place and in bewildering comfort, but more on that later.
The adventure began at our hostel, at the reasonable time of 8 o’clock, but the first mission I was required to tackle was to fit everything I could possibly need for the week in two small bags in a desperate attempt to avoid bringing my humongous monster of a rucksack. Buzzed up on adrenaline from our impending expedition and the strict time limit to be at the Bluegreen office that we needed to meet, I stuffed as many pants, socks, charges and zip lock bags as I could, and caught up with the well prepared people in the group in time for the mornings preparation. This turned out to be a horrifically long process, as despite our excitement to bury ourselves in the wilderness of Tierra Del Fuego, we were tempted into bringing every piece of camping equipment available to man or women, which combined with our bags and Lian’s suitcase to create one hell of a pile of ‘stuff’ capable of making any camping trip a matter of luxury and comfort. There were no complaints from me as Pachi brought out the ‘portable’ gas stove with four ringers and a huge gas canister, as well as a sheet with powers of roofing and a massive Thermos with the ability to accommodate several cups of tea and rounds of mate. On the less of a plus side, we were now responsible for half of Bluegreen’s resources, and we also had to pack it all into Panchi’s sacred truck, known as Slayer. I gave it my best shot, but this jigsaw puzzle required the mastery of Panchi, and then his extreme skills of knot tying, in order to secure our life source for the journey ahead. With this done, coffee drunk, and goodbyes said, we lept into the truck and began our adventure.
Predictably, we only reached the edge of Natales when we first required a stop in order to fill up the truck and our stomachs with fuel, so we grabbed some road empanadas and some essential petrol and attempted to leave the town for the second time. It was a case of second time lucky, and after a few hours down the road, we had made it to the bigger city of Punta Arenas and the bigger supermarkets that came with it. The first of two shops we ventured into could be compared to a shitter version of M&S, in which we failed to acquire a great deal, as most of the shop was taken over by varying selections of pants and socks. Alternatively, the second supermarket sold a lot more of what we needed, specifically in the food and drink department, and so it would probably resemble something of a decent sized Tesco or Sainsbury’s, However, despite the very normal and insignificant volume of the stores, due to our very long stay in the beautifully small and non consumeristic town of Natales, the shops appeared to us as gigantic and very scary megastores that engulfed half the world’s population and their necessary resources. This made shopping for what we needed very difficult, as it was almost impossible to stay focussed enough to decide what type of apples we wanted, what colour of pasta we desired, and what brand and flavour of tea we fancied for the next week. I also struggled to control the massive sized trolley that we required, which ,when compared to my impressive and impeccable record in the driving department, really demonstrates quite how out of practice at consumerism we were. Nevertheless, soon we had two trolleys full of ‘stuff’ worth 350 pounds, which revealed the next big challenge of the day which was to add all of our buys to the already full rear of the truck. This mission would have been ok if we were hidden away in the comfort of time and space, however as we had decided to take on this task in the middle of the supermarket’s car park, we forced upon ourselves a feeling of urgency, stress and frustration, as we packed the coolers and limited boxes we had with as much stuff as humanly possible, and brainstormed as many smart ways to reduce volume as we could. This resulted in many drastic ideas such as putting all the crisps into one bin bag, and put all of the cereal into one bin bag, but instead we just ditched as much cardboard as we could and soon we were done and on the way to the hotel.
As we approached a huge modern looking building that towered above its neighbours, and Lian mentioned that this was where we were staying for the night, we began to feel a sense of insecurity and realised we may be slightly out of place, something that was soon confirmed when we’re checking in at reception surrounded by shiny marble, numerous members of staff wearing clean clothing, and a casino with lots of bright lights and two bouncers. At this point me and El were fairly lost for words and pretty lost in general, however Benj took full advantage of the service and handed one of the concierge his banana peel to put in the bin. Once a credit card had been swapped hands, and the vegetable skin was in the bin, we were directed to the lift that would elevate us to our rooms. This was when our bewilderment reached its peak, as upon opening the door to our triple room, a bathroom of all bathrooms appeared in front of my eyes, complete with a huge tub, an all-angle power shower, and huge glass windows between it and the rest of the room with electric blinds to give you some privacy. It was incredible. The room wasn’t too bad either, with a flat screen tv, incredible views over the city, and pristine white duvets that created the perfect cocoon. It couldn’t have been more different to the simple bunk beds of Erratic Rock or the old fashioned decor of Lucho’s cabin, but I don’t think any of us really felt at home in the posh room, and I certainly missed being shaken to sleep by