Tetsu’s jibber jabber:
After a very long series of flights, we finally landed in Punta Arenas hours after dark, and uber’d to the airbnb.
We arrived at the airbnb, and while it was nice enough, with a shower, bathroom, kitchenette, it was essentially a one bedroom cabin. there was a “spare bed” in the kitchen/dining/living room, which was a thin mattress laid on top of 6 slightly different sized boxes. knowing that some tent sleeping was coming in the days ahead, the lumpy makeshift bed didn’t bother me much.
With no water to drink, I decided to find a convenience store to get some basics, and figured it’d be fun to walk the town a bit too. So after finding a supposedly open store just 1.2km away, headed out on foot. On the way, there was a nice looking hostel with the lights on. Alli would also walk by it in the morning and talking to the owner to get us booked there.
After walking mostly uphill to the convenience store, I was surprised to find it closed, and decided to call an uber. Luckily, one came quick. The driver was Gustavo, who’s day job was a firefighter. He was quite the entertainer and talked excitedly about nightclubs and other evening entertainment. He took me to a small convenience store and then back to the airbnb.
Alli woke early and headed out for a bit. She met with the hostel owner (or manager, not sure), and got us our second night there.
Our first order of business was to switch to hostel. It was much fancier, rather quaint (in the most positive sense of the word), with a tiny courtyard in back, a dining area with a couple of tables, and clean rooms upstairs.
We then decided to walk around a bit and found a market. It’s not the better known and touristy central market, but a large warehouse-like building along the coastline. Upon entering, the central area is a multi-storied opening with stairs going up three stories and sprinkled with small stores and restaurants. A miniature version of larger American malls.
At the top of the stairs to the second floor a wonderful tenor was singing opera. His voice resonating deeply as it reflected off the hard walls of this natural amphitheater of a building. His singing was so clear, so good, a couple was even dancing along.
His Instagram is jphsandovaltenor.
We futzed around here for a little longer, and I bought some owl jewelry for the wife back home.
We then decided to find a nearby laundromat, and this is where the depth of Punta Arenas friendliness and hospitality really shined through. More on that below.
At the laundromat, which turned out to be a laundry service, we met Isabella. A kind person who took to Alli quickly. First, she recommended a nearby restaurant to grab lunch. I can’t remember the name, but it was delish!
We knew we had to get a sim card for Alli and hiking poles for the three of us for Torres del Paine. Since the rental place was in Puerto Natales, and would have cost $7 a day (or $70 per person) anyway, we decided to just buy the cheapest poles we could find, giving them away later at the end of our trip.
We first found a Mountain House store (as in the freeze dried foods, had no idea there was a backpacking store associated with it, go figure). They were helpful and fast, allowing us to get in and out of the store quickly as we had other errands and sites to see.
We then walked around a little longer and found a kiosk to buy a sim card for alli, supermarket to get food. The Kiosk was near the center of town and surprisingly, super popular. Folks were lining up to buy soft cream to help with the warm day. Who’d a thought a kiosk would have such a thing.
We then went back to the laundry service to see if we got lucky on clothes being done early.
We arrived a wee bit early, but she drove up just seconds after we arrived, and we were able to pick up our laundry.
And then the unthinkable happened.
She offered to drive us to the key Punta Arenas tourist vista points (I didn’t know, but they are often referred to as miradors here. A word I’d get to use often throughout our trip).
Isabella first drove us up the hill to a vista point. Then down to coast. We walked together for a while. Then she drove us back to hostel.
Went back to room exhausted, re-packed and got a little rest. But not wanting to waste time on our vacation, fought exhaustion and went out for dinner.
First place was closed. Looked great but fully packed. Walked around some more. Found a nice second floor restaurant.
Ended up at new rest just opened 10 days earlier. Beautiful second floor restaurant. Glass table with decorated base, like an owl with nests, looked like owl nest in tree.
Also met Melanie, our server, and Gustavo, the owner
Food looked fancy. The Guacano steak was great. The bbq’d lamb was good. The other dishes, well, the restaurant is new, after all, so I imagine they will be fine tuning their menu for a little while.
Really interesting how live bands work in Punta Arenas. They go from restaurant to restaurant, playing really short sets, and each time, they place small blue envelopes on customer tables, so guests can discretely tip or not tip as they desire. One of the most often used Spanish words I learned on this trip was “tip”, or “propina”. Chile is big on tipping, similarly to the US.
We ended up chatting with the band for a bit, and got their instagram.
As Isabella mentioned that she might be at Dreams Casino (a Reno or Atlantic City style casino on the beach, very out of place in this peaceful small city) we decided to head over and checkout the top floor restobar. We hung out on the 11ty floor.
And here is where we learned about a very special beer. One that we would obsess over the entire trip, and have since combed the internet looking for ways to get it in the USA.
It’s so good, it deserves it’s own, photo. And if you get a chance, try it. We met many beer drinkers, and also folks during our time in Chile who are not beer drinkers and yet loved this beer.
If anyone finds a way to get some delivered to California, please comment below!
With a busy day behind us, and excitement for the coming trip and finally meeting up with Kyu, we went back to finally get some rest.
2 thoughts on “Nov 05 Satuday – Street Walk: Punta Arenas”
Great write up and eagerly waiting for more! I know the feeling of delaying all your plans – we’d planned to hike around Nepal in March 2020.
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Thanks, the trip was a blast. Nepal sounds awesome.