The end of the world

Who knew? The greatest challenge I've faced thus far is the Spanish-optimized keyboards. None of the punctuation marks, except the period and comma, are where I expect them be. Let me tell you, these will be some HTML-sparse posts because I can't deal with the frustration of having to crank out brackets. So if all sorts of weird symbols show up in my post, it's because I still can't figure out which of these strange things is the apostrophe.
Spent a day in Santiago--an interesting mix of the modern and the traditional. Now I'm here in Punta Arenas in Patagonia--the end of the world, they call it, and indeed, it's the furthest South I've ever been. Here, the sun rises in the Southeast and sets in the Southwest. Strange. It's cool here, a dry, crisp Autumn air. Reminds me of football weather from my childhood days in Chicago. Refreshing, and it clears your head. The landscape is somewhat windswept and desolate, a very beautiful, stark mixture of hills and ocean.
Visited a museum yesterday dedicated to the indigenous peoples of Patagonia. Similar story to every other country I've visited this year. Europeans came, bringing disease and weapons. Here, the natives were sent to missions where many died. I think there's one pure native still alive now--the rest have been assimilated into the local population. The citizens of Punta Arenas don't actually consider themselves citizens of Chile. They call themselves Magellanas, after Hernando Magellan, who came through here in the 1500's and ended up dying in the Philippines.
The pace of life is very relaxed. In fact, I'm waiting for a museum to open up. Posted opening time? 10:00 am. When will it open? Anyone's guess. My limited Spanish skills haven't been too much of an impediment yet, though having a guide with me at times has helped.
Alan and I were chatting while I was waiting at LAX. He and Sharon are moving to the Upper East Side of Manhattan in June where Alan will be studying at Cornell. He must be happy to leave St. Louis after so many years there, right? He admitted to a surprising reluctance, an inertia of sorts, a feeling he equated to hostage, or Stockhom, syndrome. It's an apt metaphor for lots of what I felt just before I left Seattle for South America. We come to embrace the familiarity of our prisons--the known enemy more comforting than the unknown, I suppose. Now that I'm here, wandering the streets at night, it's all good. But how often I fall prey to hostage syndrome, clinging to dependent relationship in work, life, etc.
Here's to breaking free of our captors. Off I head to Puerto Natales.