We are VERY happy to report we made it to Punta Arenas without anyone blowing a tire. Camille’s stuff is now in Fern, and she’s riding bitch behind Paul.
We went straight to the Zona Franca to find most things closed for siesta, but we hung out and went to the market while we waited until they opened up at 4. Jason and Simon were on tire duty, and came back with 4 new Chinese-made Nankang tires in the bus. We’re not proud of them, but it seemed to be the best option with still very expensive and limited choices.
Jason and Bode set out to have them put on and balanced while the rest of us went to the mall-like center for shopping. We had high hopes we’d find everything we ever wanted nicely displayed and very cheap. But, things aren’t much (if any) cheaper, and it’s largely a collection of the usual weird shops that sell completely unrelated items (underwear and cameras, for example).
Jason returned from the tire adventure and we set out to find a place to stay for everyone, but everything was full. It turns out that the river flooded recently and the entire south side of town is under water or mud, and those residents have taken all the rooms in the north. We ended up in the ferry parking lot next to some sort of PT boat for 2 nights of boondocking with Simon and MC, while Paul and Camille found a room outside of town.
The first night was very windy and cold, so we just heated leftovers and the 4 of us ate in Red Beard. The next day we reserved our ferry ride to Tierra del Fuego and we all tried to run errands around town. There is a penguin colony on the other side of the peninsula, but they migrated early. so, no penguins this time. Bode and I went back to the mall and went duty-free ice skating.