Thursday, December 18, 2008

Keeping myself busy...

Keeping myself busy...Above...a before and after. The after includes my dried flowers and home-made candle.

I've taken to stealing roses, just one or two at a time, as a late-in-life criminal venture. With a rose bush every 20 feet, on every street in Futa, and some bushes taller than houses poking out over rickety fences, I find myself walking up or down a street in my big old corduroy jacket with a thick pair of garden scissors in the pocket. And by the time I end up back at our little cabin, I have another stash of stolen roses to hang and dry. Sometimes I detour from my m.o., and clip pieces of lavender, and when the summer wanes, flowering mint and catnip. I tie them up with pieces of horsehair and hand them above the wood stove and just let them slowly dried and grow slightly brittle. I went on such a criminal enterprise today after spying a yard full of magenta and white rose bushes. My conscience got me this time, and I knocked on the door of the little yellow, wooden house. The man of the house was fine with me having some roses, but not with letting me free to cut them, so he grabbed a kitchen knife and walked across the yard with me to clip some prolific bunches. White, deep red, and a fuchsia color. Back home, my criminal urges not satisfied, I snuck into the back yard and cut copious amounts of anise, oregano and lemon balm from an abandoned garden, tying them up and hanging them on nails under the steps.

Of the things I've gathered to dry, the lilacs surprised me the most...they held together and lost not a bud or flower, and kept their lavender and white colors. Real lavender dries to a lovely grey-green, while the hop vine and catnip tend to curly and grow too bitter.

Nono and Ismael were working in town on their new addition to their house which is already rented for season. As they were clearing out the backyard and old shed, Ismael hauled out an old wooden box they decided to use for firewood. I spied it and told Nono, Cuanto Vale? She tilted her head back and laughed. I said no really, I could make something from it, a bench, or coffee table. She waved it at me and I loaded the chicken-shit, ash-encrusted thing into the bed of the truck and brought it home. Greg has known me for eighteen+ years, and after stopping for dead birds, cow skulls, horse hair and rocks along side roads in three countries, he didn't flinch when I asked him to help me carry the rickety mess to the backyard where I promised I would transform it into "something".

I pounded it apart, brushed off the big chunks, sat with a hatchet head and bent nails and started to put the box bench back together. Chickens pecked around in the mash of ash and new grass, and the clouds rolled in. I dragged the thing under the little back porch and made supper, all the time thinking about what the jumble of old boards would become.

The next day, I went to the hardware store and bought one sheet of sandpaper and a can of clear varnish. After a half-hour of digging through bags and boxes, I located a bag of upholstery tacks, and a pair of kitchen scissors to cut up my pounded copper sheets. Dishes rested in the sink, and clothes re-dried on the clothesline as I walked around and around my blank slate of a box bench. Off came the bottom planks, revealing legs. I sanded. Then I carved and gouged Mapuche symbols into the front and top. the adrenaline is running high! I grabbed my aged copper panel, and clipped some strips and squares, and began to attach them to the bench with upholstery tacks. Then in a frenzy I found my child's tray of water color paints and mixed up a little tray of blue-green, and began to wash it into the carved Mapuche symbols. Dot up the excess and step back. Perfect. Out comes the varnish and in a manic flash, I let the old porous wood soak up a half a pint. While it's drying, I dig my skeins of horsehair out from under the couch and tape the ends, comb it out, and start braiding it for handles on the ends of the table.

Now, a day later, still without the handles, it is essentially done. I rubbed it with a little aromatic wax I made from old candles and lavender oil and a little floor wax mixed in. I LIKE IT. Looks to me like something off an old pirate ship from the 1700's. I set some dried flowers in a jar, and a homemade candle in an old stove top part on top of it, and it's perfect!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Here we go again....

Yesterday, Sunday, December 14, 2008, 4:30 pm. After a wonderful weekend at our house in Azul (on-going project) Greg and I scraped off varnish drippings from our faces and arms, cleaned paint brushes and traipsed up the long path to the main road. As we drove towards Futa, back to our little rental cabin, we noticed a haze which grew steadily thicker, and by the time we reached the Espolon, the surrounding mountains were completely invisible. Since there was no reasonable expectation for a hazy day, my suspicions were that Chaiten blew again. Coming into Futa, the ash cloud held high above the town, some particles filtering down, and the swirling ground ash all of it combined to make the situation almost unbearable. The town was settled in a hot, ominous haze and the water truck continued to make mad dashes spraying the streets.

Not again. Egads, this has been just about enough.

The afternoon in town was tormenting, with temperatures in the high-80's and no way to leave windows or doors open to a breeze. Little sand piles sit in window corners where there are the usual Patagonian construction gaps. A vegetable truck from Puerto Montt criss-crossed the streets announcing their offerings and I dashed out with a t-shirt tied around my face to buy tomatoes, cherries and peaches. As dark fell, the sky clouded and dampness fell, finally I could open the windows. And as if the ash seeded the clouds, sometime during the night a very light rain fell and quashed the swirling ash.

Checking several volcanism blogs I found that Chaiten erupted a huge plum around 1:00 pm on Sunday, sending a cloud of ash southeast towards Argentina. This puts us once again in the path. Disheartening.

So, we've decided to wrap up a few loose ends (which may dangle loosely for many months to come) such as the electric hook-up to the house, and make a final check of our online Christmas present purchases, and head south again. This time however, we plan to float about with the blue ice in Laguna San Rafael. We also plan this put a small mattress in the back of the truck, a tarp, a more complete set of camp cookware, and just land wherever we land, so as to avoid paying 30,000 pesos a night ($60) for what turns out to be a $10 a night youth hostel. It's a lovely trip once you get past the part of driving on a death-wish road, and eating dust the whole way. We intend to just keep going south, maybe Puerto Natales? We want to see the ice fields and maybe find a big hardware store, buy some more materials for finishing the house. Lordy, I'm wondering if -when - we slap the last bit of paint and varnish on - it will be time to look for an Assisted Living Facility. As it is, trudging up and down to the house from the road with a wheelbarrow full of paint and varnish is making me weary. (OK, watching Greg do that is making me weary!)

A Look Back to Seven Months Ago

"One-One Thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand, four-one thousand," no, that's not right. That's for lightening. Try again. "Put masking tape on the windows, or board them up, move patio furniture inside. No, that's night right either, that would be a hurricane. Let's see, "Move to an interior room of the house, a bathroom perhaps, best a cellar or basement though." No, that is for a tornado. Alright, how about, "Seek high ground!" Sunami. Nothing seemed just right. No matter where I searched my middle-aged, girl-scout brain, I could not for the life of me, find a file labeled, "What to do in case of a volcanic eruption!" And so it goes...

May 1st, 2008. Futaleu, Region X, Chile.

It is a beautiful big, blue-sky day here in Futa, the surrounding mountains are lacy with snow, and almost nothing is open today...May Day. The internet is closed so we will have to wait until tomorrow to see when we can meet the electrician and pay him a deposit for running electric down to our almost finished house. I find one little home-front store open and buy some smoked ribs and beer. It is amazing to see the rose bushes continuing to push out fresh buds. Each street is dotted with a bush of them every 20 feet or so, red, yellow, pink, white. It has been cold, and we've had a bit of frost already.

Back at our little rental cabin, down by Lago Espejo, Greg is reading about the 2008 Presidential Campaign on the internet, and Max is curled beside him, content in his psycho little dreams. After dinner, I decide to get all the dishes and things washed up (for a change) and we settle in to watch some documentary online. I promise myself that tomorrow I will upload the photos from the big town fiesta celebrating Futa's 79th anniversary and celebrating the Carabineros 60th anniversary. A wonderful parade under a painfully blue sky, cueca dancing, music, honors, and then a sweet, lazy picnic for all the towns inhabitants down by Rio Espolon. I'll do that tomorrow. We stay up way too late, and I fall asleep on the couch with Max curled behind my legs.

Around midnight the cabin "jumps". It doesn't shake, or sway. It felt like some jolly giant picked it up a few inches and dropped it. Veterans of earthquake countries such as Costa Rica and Panama, we said, "Hmm...earthquake," and went back to sleep. Around 2:30 am, on May 2, Mother Earth jumped a couple more times, a little harder now. And that was it, everything was quiet except some rowdy dogs and screeching roosters. I get on the computer, look up earthquakes on the USGS site and find nothing. I go to and post about this odd happening, and finally sometime in the early morning hours, I fell back to sleep.

May 2, 2008.

I wake up, and it must be early because it's not yet light out, dawn maybe, the sky is slightly glowing. I get up, and peek out the window, and to my delight, it has snowed! The truck, the ground, the roof of our landlord's little house, everything is covered in a silvery dusting of snow. I am so excited for my first snow in my new land, I pull on my rubber boots, and put my jacket on over my pajamas, grab my camera and run outside. I start taking pictures immediately, but something doesn't feel right. It's not that cold. I reach out and trace my finger on the branch of a little cherry tree. Gritty. Odd. Just then, Bosque, the landlord opens his side door, and in his rapid-fire, high-pitched Spanish chatters something to me, the only thing I catch it "volcan"! He grabs my jacket sleeve and pulls me into his house shakes his finger at me, pointing to a make-shift towel mask covering his face. I see his TV in the other room of his house, upon which is a newscast showing the Chaiten Volcano has erupted. And it is 11:00 am. Volcano? Chaiten has a volcano? Huh? Thus began an odd vignette that still does not seem real.

I come back in the cabin and wake Greg. "YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED!" I scream at him as he leans up on one elbow looking at me with a confused and sleepy stare. He's not sure if I might be referring to something I've just done such as helped a neighbor butcher a sheep, caught a strange, wild animal, or set the kitchen on fire. He can never be sure.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Behind the Scenes of a Trip South

The Inside Scoop

Our trip south began as 1.) an escape from the swirling ash in Futa, 2.) just a "get away" to see some more of Patagonia, and 3.) an alternative to waiting weeks, if not years for the local hardware store to order and stock needed items and materials for finishing the house.

We thought of leaving on a Tuesday morning and began to pack the afternoon before. Then, considering the long Patagonia days, we took off around 6:30 p.m. with great hopes and expectations of beautiful scenery. Down from Futa and west towards the quiet little pueblo of Villa Santa Lucia, one of my favorite "sleeper" towns. A major crossroad with not much else right now, I said to Greg (for the umpteenth time), "This town is just waiting to happen! They have everything going for them."

"There's nothing here! Are you crazy?" he said.

"No, look. It's a nice, flat valley land with the rise of Andes mountains all around. A nice river for rafting, kayaking and floating and fishing. Close to Lago Yelcho, some of the best fishing in the world. A big, well built battalion of older military barracks with the infrastructure to support it being turned into lodges, hostels, tourist facilities."

"You're nuts. It's a crappy place. Nothing here.

I KNOW THERE IS NOTHING THERE right now, I said...What I meant is that is has everything right there if they wanted to promote it. Rafting...

He cuts me off, "They DON'T HAVE RAFTING THERE!" His voice is rising, his face is red. I'm thinking, ok, should I let this go? After all I didn't say they HAD rafting, I said they could promote and build a rafting business.

"I didn't say," I start...


My mouth thins into a narrow hard line on my face as we hurdle down the Carretera Austral towards La Junta spewing a large cloud of dust. It gets dark. I am mute, by choice, and with great intention. I'll give him the old silent treatment! Most men like that, but Greg hates it. It gets dark, the air is cool.

"So, do you think we should look for a hardware store in La Junta?"

No response on my part.

"I mean, it's kind of a small town. Maybe Aysen? What do you think?"

Nothing. Silence.

The one-sided conversation continues as the night comes fully on and the stars are electric. Greg grows weary and he pulls over somewhere in the middle of nowhere, a full half-hour from La Junta where we know there is nothing in between an over-priced hostel to an outrageously priced Bed and Breakfast. The motor cools and clicks. We pull the seat levers and recline back. I am still fuming, so I reach around and grab my old, wool Army blanket, a pillow and angrily exit the truck. The ground is dry and the grass is thick, perfect for a road-side snooze. Greg steps out of the truck and tries to convince me I can't sleep on the ground and I assure him I am much better sleeping outside the truck, than inside. He gives up and I pop open a Cristal and light a cigarette and watch Venus and Jupiter and the moon rotate across the night sky.

Sometime in the early morning, before the sky lights up, I wake to hear a cow bellowing and suddenly realize that in Patagonia, where cows regularly roam free along the roads, this might not be a very wise place to lie prostrate in an old, dark green blanket. I roll over up under the side of the truck and ignore the dew that has settled on my pillow. I'LL SHOW HIM! I'll sleep on the side of the road and risk death by cow hoof to show him! Ha!

The sky lights around 6 a.m., and without coffee I am in an even fouler mood. Throwing my damp bedding in the back seat, I slide in and he starts the truck towards La Junta. Chit Chat, Chit Chat from him. Silence from me. I will not fold so easily. In La Junta, the gas station is still closed and we waste an eighth of tank of gas navigating the dirt-clod streets looking for a place to get coffee and breakfast. This makes me even happier. Especially when Greg decides since I won't speak, he will find a place for coffee and breakfast. So, we periodically stop while he asks (he thinks he asks) some poor unsuspecting fellow, "CAFE!? PAN!?" Looks of shock and non-recognition fall over faces as he continues to stop and shout, "CAFE! PAN?". I let him wave his arms and shout louder and then finally I break. But you know, one must not break with consoling, or conciliatory words. It must be sharp, and harsh.

"If we were back in Florida," I quietly and firmly say,"and a Hispanic person stopped in a car and shouted "COFFEE!? BREAD!?" waving his hands at you, what do you think that might look like?" I continue. "An IDIOT??? Perhaps????"

In a small voice he says, "no, I would know what he meant."

Really? Oh good grief. So we succumb to a coffee and food panic and go to the over-priced Bed and Breakfast where we pay $14 US for coffee, bread, jam and cheese. By 9 am, the gas station is open and we fuel up and head on south. Conversation is sparse, but as the day warms up, so do I and I haven't the heart to continue my bitchiness. He's freakin lucky. I am the map girl and navigator. But I choose my responses to his questions, and comments carefully the rest of the way, and shut my mouth when I know he's totally wrong about his observations. Shut up. Not worth the aggravation.

We hit Puyuhuaipi around 11 a.m. and are equally challenged to find a coffee place or restaurant, so we park down by the waterfront and eat some old rolls and cheese and sip on some juice and warm beer. The road south is closed until 2 pm, and we will stop back at the fire station and give a ride to two young ladies from Israel who are going to Queulet to see the Colgante Glacier. Around 1 pm, we drive around and find the Anoikenk Restaurant and Cabanas open and have coffee, chat with Veronica the owner, learn a little about Puyuhuaipi and vow to stop on our way back up through.

The rest of the trip, as most turn out, comprises me clutching the passengers dash in white-knuckel fear as we hurtle over gravel, one-lane roads with cows and sheep and giant road construction vehicles, eating dust the whole way while I try in vain to slow down the truck by stomping the floor on the right side of the vehicle. "CHILL OUT, VICK! I know how to drive," he says as we round a blind curve, the back tires skittering gleefully across the road towards a sheer drop off. My teeth itch... that's how on edge I am.

It is amazing we stay together sometimes with our distinctly different ideas, travel and driving styles. I see no reason to drive fast. He sees no reason he should drive slow. I see no reason to be cheap, and he wants cheap, but with all the amenities of a 4-star hotel.

"It costs WHAT?!?!?!?!?!" Well, we could sleep down the road in a place with a small bed and outdoor toilet for 5,000 pesos... "FORGET IT!" Well, this place with a bathroom and good bed and TV is 30,000 pesos..."We can't keep spending money like this," he says and I throw up my hands and say, "You p(r)ick."

We made it to Puerto Cisnes, to Aisen, to Coihaique, along some of the most spectacular routes, lined with rivers that would hurt your eyes if you didn't know what to expect. Detoured over washed out bridges, and watched workers planting dynamite. Through tunnels and alongside rivers lined with purple flowers and ancient forests.

And we made it back. Back to Futa. With the rose bushes every twenty feet on every street. Hard at work, cleaning up ash, trimming bushes, a Colonos Fiesta in Espolon for the local huasos. It is hot, and there are blue skies in Futa, and the water trucks spray to keep down the remaining ash, and street work continues. Tipsy huasos roam down the street on sweaty horses with no shirt or shoes, and campesino music drifts from little wooden houses as families gather for the beginning of the Christmas season and Greg and I are sweet again.

Ah....the Adventure of it all.

South to Puerto Cisnes

Nearing the southern end of Queulat (National Park) the road forks at a place called Piedra del Gato where you may either continue south taking the slight left curve towards Manihuales and onward towards Puerto Aisen. Manihuales has a few stores and gas station, and I will get to that leg of the trip later. We took the right fork westward to Puerto Cisnes, another small port town backed up by mountains. It was, as always, a lovely drive if it were not for the dry conditions, periodic road work and constant dust kicked up by vehicles.

Closer to Cisnes, the narrow road hugs the coast and winds around a point then into the little town of approximately 500 people. The harbour is larger and deeper than Puyuhuaipi but has the same type of brightly colored wooden boats drifting on anchors. Several comfortable hotels dot the waterfront and the town has a large school, an internet cafe and only a couple of restaurants. Small commercial fishing ventures and new construction appear to be the local employment.

From Puerto Cisnes, Isla Magdalena sits just across the Puyuhuaipi Canal. A National Park since 1983, the entire park consists of 157,600+ hecatares of virgin island forest and fauna including a small wild cat called locally Guina. On the Pacific side you are likely to encounter Penguins and a multitude of Patagonian birds and ducks. The only way to explore the island and it's beaches is by boat or kayak. At the time we visited we were told there were no interior facilities or park officials. Fishing is an option outside of the Park boundaries.

One interesting find...a substantial number of dogs with one blue eye, and one brown eye. I counted four of the friendly critters on my morning walk along the harbour.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Road Trip to Puyuhuaipi

Puyuhuapi and area

Taking the Carretera Austral south from Villa Santa Lucia (coming from either Futaleufu or Chaiten, the graded gravel road might try your patience but, be patient. In La Junta, it is wise to top off the fuel tank before venturing south. Almost immediately the landscape both drops and climbs into the deep forest at the north end of Parque Nacionale Queulat and the road hugs Rio Risopatron, a long, narrow lake. Coigue, Cipres, Araucaria, Manio and Lenga trees shade the morning and afternoon. Rosas Mosqetas (prolific wild roses) loom out into the road beating for space with the Nalca Pengue (those giant-leafed, rhubard-like plants) while snow-capped Andes mountains pour out waterfalls, even in the driest part of the year.
Continuing south towards Puyuhuapi there are no shortages of hiking paths; Lake Rosselot National Reserve Mountain Path, and Sendero Las Pumas to name just two.

The town of Puyuhuapi sits at the end of a long, straight road dipping down to a fjiord. The picturesque tiny town is just now experiencing it's third and fourth generations and if you go to the two-pump Copec gas station, you will be buying gas from direct decendent of one of the town founders: Claus Hopperdietzel's father and uncle came in the early 1930's from the German town of Rossbach, now called Hranice. Many of the old-style houses with barn-shaped roofs remain, and an effort has been made to reintroduce that style in new buildings. Brightly painted wooden boats sway on their anchors in the shallow harbour, outfitted with small gas stoves and provisions for the commercial fisherman. Ask around for directions to the old carpet factory which was closed to the public at the time we visited, but expects to reopen soon. The wonderful hand woven textiles and rich rugs are a style combining German and Chilote skills and patterns. Plans to house a museum there are also in the works.

For a small town, Puyuhuapi has a surpising number of restaurants, Bed and Breakfast lodgings, and small hotels, cabanas and at least one hostel and a camping area. There are several small grocery stores and panadaria. The streets are lined with Rhododendro, Azelea, Chaura and Hortensia bushes. Hummingbirds enjoy the magellanic fuschia the locals call Chilco. It is an easy, quiet and shy town. The kind of place where you might take your lunch and a bottle of wine or cold beer and have lunch by the bay, watching the tide come in. One of the best sources of information on the entire area is *Aonikenk Restaurant and Cabanas located on Hamburgo 16 just off the main square. Veronica Gallardo, the owner has an extensive background in hospitality and a vast knowledge of the area. She books tours, or offers excellent maps and advice for do-it-yourselfers.

Heading out of town, you hug the fjiord around a point passing (if you must) a thermal hot spring and restaurant with a panoramic view. A bit further you will see a salmon farming operation before entering into the heart of Parque National Quelat. Twenty-two kilometers outside of Puyuhuapi, watch for the sign, "Ventisquero Colgante", one of the most spectacular land-locked glaciers in Chile. There is a small fee to enter this part of the park, and you can camp there as well. It is a short drive or hike back to the ranger station. The glacier is what they call a "hanging" glacier, wedged between the peaks of two mountains, brilliant blue and cascading a magnificant waterfall into a lagoon. Well marked trails lead to the lagoon, but even non-hikers are able to enjoy the glacier from the ranger station.

From here, head south or not. Next stop could be a side trip to the small port town of Puerto Cisnes, or further to Aysen and Coihaique. But don't rush, there is so much to do and see in the Puyuhuaipi area that it would be a shame to be in a hurry.

NOTE: The road from La Junta to, and through Puyuhuaipi is under construction and closed from 10:00 am until 2:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. At all times it is wise to drive cautiously, some parts are barely one lane wide; you share the road with cows, sheep, and other drivers.

*Aonikenk is the name of an indigenous nomadic people of southern Patagonia, also known as Tewelche. As a people and culture, they are extinct. Information on Aonikenk was obtained from

Sources, information and websites:

Camara de Turismo y Comercio A.G. Puyuhuaipi

Cuenca de Palena

Aonikenk Restaurant and Cabanas
(56) (67) 325 208

Termas del Ventisquero
Luis Calderon
(56) (67) 325 228

Monday, December 1, 2008

A New Movie - Futalandia.

A New Movie...I'll pitch the screen play...

Picture this! Survivor meets Nights in Rodanthy meets Grapes of Wrath. Kick in a little bit of of 28 Days and you have Futalandia! The short pitch is, we have an exploding volcano, freezing, isolated nights, pickup trucks with no tire chains trying to navigate two feet of snow on gravel roads, the woman is pushing a pickup truck while it slides back - almost over her, a diet of beans and suspect smoked pork ribs. Crawling out of a small wooden cabin to dig a hole in the harsh dim light of a Patagonia winter to take a crap...ground frozen, toilet paper rolls down and over a ledge...Spring six pack of cerveza, chilling in the sparkling river, then gone, tumbling over rocks into a raging cascade, gone. Licking volcanic ash from your teeth when you wake up in the morning from a night of snoring under 20 pounds of blankets. Fingers shaking with hypothermic tremors in an attempt to start a fire with wet, ash-encrusted wood.

Then....THEN! The glorious four weeks of summer arrive and it's 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the river is cold and lined with wild roses and fuchsia. A woman, soon to turn fifty, and having not seen herself in a mirror in years, still imagines herself twenty year old. She sits on her front porch, down along a path that leads to a rushing river. The still, snow-encrusted Andes rise up all around. She lays a notepad on her knees and fishes a felt pen out of the lint-lined pocket of her torn, stained chinos, and writes:

"Sit for awhile in a Patagonia forest, along a river or a stream and as you grow quiet ...There! Something will catch your eye - a movement. But you turn, and there is nothing but the quiet forest. No stirring breeze at all, but the shadows move. The river is humming a G-chord now, but by sundown it will have erupted into harmonies.

"Around the house," she continues to write and sip from her mug, "the morning sun warms the bottles of bar and chain oil and they expand and burp. The fresh sawed lumber bakes in the sun, lazing down in a break between the canopy of cohaique trees. It's too early but I have a coffee cup of wine anyway. I sit here and think of all our adventures in foreign places. Picking up and starting over for the sheer adventure of a new culture. Here...I find I've bitten off more than I can chew.

"And just as we were ready to say "Uncle!", a wise man I don't know told me, "Take Smaller Bites." Ahhhh....Patagonia.

"And so, I'll try. Definitely. Because in leaving Patagonia, I'd leave my soul behind. We thought of returning to Panama. The Devil you know is safer than the Devil you Don't Know! Then...this anonymous person on the internet wrote and essentially said to me, "It's not the Devil - it's just a different animal."

"And so, I need to learn this animal, Patagonia. Learn it's ways and idiosynchracies. Because really, if I made a "plus" and "minus" list, the plus list would be long. And the minus list would only say, "It's Hard."

There are so many things in between this and the end of the film. And THAT is what is so exciting. All the stuff in between. But let me just clue you into the end. It is not a spoiler....

Just before the last celluloid frames of the filmstrip flap over the reel, (thwap, thwap, thwap) and it is placed back in a metal can and laid upon a shelf forever...the woman, not looking too much older than her fifty years long ago, sits on a porch swing with a handsome, equally elderly man. They are both slightly senile and fragile. Dusk slides into night.

Up through the Cohaique trees, the bright stars of the Patagonia night shine and the river is singing. The old woman turns, just slightly towards the old man, raises her long lovely hand toward his gentle old face, and slaps him.

"What the Hell were you thinking, moving us here?!"