Punta Arenas 2
Up Puerto Williams Chile

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8 February 2006

Hello again from Punta Arenas Chile,

Looking at a world globe as a child I wondered how people could walk upside-down like flies on the underside of the world. That misconception lasted long enough for my parents to see a good deal of humor in exploring all of the fanciful possibilities. When I finally saw the joke I perpetuated the ruse with my little brother who at that time never questioned my word on anything. Now of course, I know that South is neither up nor down. That fact is strikingly emphasized by a flat Mercator projection world map I saw hanging in an Ushuaia bookstore window: north on the bottom, south on the top. Ask any school child which way is "right" and you will immediately see how cultural traditions fix our concepts of right and real. How many other "obvious" facts fall into the category of social consensus? We each believe whatever our adult care givers taught us to believe during childhood and they in their turn believed what they had been taught, all the way up the long chain of ancestors to when humans first began using symbols to perpetuate cultural values and ideas. Hmm... I seem to have wandered off into the wilderness again. Now back to the blazed trail... 

Returning to Punta Arenas from Puerto Natales I paused briefly to evaluate transportation options to Ushuaia. To my dismay all buses east are fully booked for the next several days. Guide books warned this might be the situation during January and February when the majority of visitors come to this part of the world. However, there are airline flights in two days for Ushuaia and one tomorrow for Puerto Williams. Various unreliable sources have hinted at the possibility of finding a private vessel heading south from Puerto Williams, so I'm flying there in the morning on a small regional airline. The hour long Aerovias DAP Patagonia flight leaves at 10:00. You may not be able to find Puerto Williams on the maps as it is a military town with a population under 2000! As the world's southernmost year round inhabited community, it is situated directly across the Beagle Channel from Ushuaia Argentina. If I can't make an Antarctic connection in Puerto Williams, several references say last minute bookings out of Ushuaia are possible, but without solid evidence have no idea if that is true either.  


Fred L Bellomy








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Reference photo: author
 August 2002

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