priceless

blood red blooms blushing
chilean fire bush flares
fireworks on stems

gusty blustery
patagonian winds rage
still 10 K from camp

batholith towers
light and clouds swirl all about
nature’s lava lamp

shy picturesque beasts
where are all the guanacos
postcard it is, then

enough indulgence
haikus are cute but get old
“priceless” ads work too

Backpack rain cover: $20
Gore-Tex rain shell and pants: $350
Not using either during entire Patagonia trip: priceless

el cheapo Timex watch (with alarm): $12
Petzl Tikka headlamp: $25
Predawn hike to gawk at gloriously glowing Torres del Paine
at sunup: priceless

Iodine tablets: $2
Pur brand water filter: $60
Ignoring them and drinking directly from sparkling pristine
glacial-fed streams: priceless

Blistex “herbal” chapstick: $1.50
Nivea moisturizing lotion: $6
Needing both after a lazy afternoon nap in an alpine cirque under a
blazing Patagonian sun: priceless

One liter of Chilean shampoo: $1000 Chilean pesos
One pair of Ronaldi361o-brand flip-flops: $6000 Chilean pesos
Having to replace “comfort” items left behind in another city because
while on vacation, your schedule is subject to your whimsy and
you feel like ignoring your itinerary: priceless

Bag of quick camping rice: $6 Argentine pesos
A few leftover balls of Argentine angel hair pasta: questionable value
Combining them with a few scraggly vegetables and splitting a huge
pot of camping starch-mush with one of your better friends in the world
after a long 24K hike, ignoring all the accoutrements and annoyances
of Valentine’s day back in the states: priceless (the guys out there
reading this know what I’m talking about)

1.5 Liters of Chilean Cabernet-Sauvignon: $1500 Chilean pesos
Kicking in your share of the meat cost: $2500 Chilean pesos
Learning how to grill lamb, chicken, and beef, Patagonian style from
an Argentine with gaucho roots: priceless

Somewhat upscale Chilean dinner: $20,000 Chilean pesos
Shots of cucarachas: $1800 Chilean pesos (each)
Puking it all back up after too many of said cucarachas
(and many other drinks) shared with new Chilean and American
friends: priceless
Finding out the next day that Jules puked three times: priceless x 3

One hour of internet use: $700 Chilean pesos
Typical postcard: $300 Chilean pesos
Having to buy 25 postcards and promising to mail them from
Tierra del Fuego because you bribed your friends to email you: priceless

In some emails, there is narrative. For everything else, there is
ripped off content from the advertising campaign of a huge
multi-national that has permeated our brains and is good for a cheap
laugh or two without much effort on my part.

cheers,

/Alex

1: a picture of some Chilean fire bush:
http://www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org/forums/attachment.php?s=cde5d047b7f84944e7fd36
+89b0b661d2&attachmentid=2704

2: Argentinan pasta comes in these strange balls of dried pasta that unravel
as you cook them

3: Thanks for your emails! I will respond to all of them (eventually).

4: Our 12 hour bus ride to Tierra del Fuego begins tomorrow.