We are falling like flies

Esconsed well and truely in Patagonia after a fairly long mini-bus trip into the Torres del Paine National Park and our hotel, Las Torres Patagonia. I think I can rest easy, with each passing hour, the spectre of a Chilean armoured police tank trundling over the hills, lessens. The Hotel Las Torres is part of a complex, which is remarkably similar to the various forms of accommodation in the Uluru National Park. There is the five star hotel, then some hostel accommodation, as well as camping sites. It is also similar because of its remoteness that it relies entirely on provisions being trucked in weekly, if not more frequently. There is a complement of almost 500 staff members half of whom are on 12 days leave in the local town and the other half are on site with full board and lodgings.

Power is provided by a mixture of electricity, diesel generated and LPG gas which it was explained to us is heavily subsidised by the government. It seems that Australia is the only country which does not subsidise its rich reserves of this product.

Now, on a different topic, let me firstly state categorically that I am extremely fond of most Americans. They are universally somewhat naive, whilst not humourless, lacking the insight into irony, at least the unique Australian variety. Those I meet on the my travels suffer a moderate degree of heath anxiety, self medicate to an alarming degree, tend to vote Democrat and are in general philosophical about the American way of life, although they also universally, on average have 5 types of guns in their households. I have yet to meet an American who does not own at least one firearm. I lie as John tonight reassured me he does not have any weapons in his home!

I am the only Australian in the group, the rest are either American or our Spanish tour guides. The woman seated opposite me, as soon as we leave Ushuaia produces a large resealable plastic container of drugs! Not the illicit sort typical in South America, but an eye watering pharmacopoeia of cough linctus, analgesics, antihistamines, multivitamins and several aerosol formulations, presumably for asthma. Throughout the bus trip sips of linctus and yellow gelatine capsules were consumed regularly.

Then a few hours into the bus trip, hurtling along a very good concrete highway , albeit rather frighteningly narrow without any shoulders, another of our group has an attack of some sort. Rushes to front of bus, gasping for air. We stop to allow her to walk around outside in the cold crisp air. She is in her late 20s I would guess. “Is she medicated?” asks a fellow American traveller? My initial concerns abate and having gone through a differential diagnose of Pulmonary Embolism, asthma or travel sickness, I settle on hyperventilation and perhaps a panic attack.

Then yesterday the morning of our great day of hiking, one of the group tests positive to COVID, banished to his room and a holiday cut short, whilst his wife, who remained healthy and negative is moved to a separate room, who later that afternoon ventures out for a walk around the hotel, only to trip, fall forward onto her face, knock out a front tooth and probably fractured her nose!

The lodge and views on a crisp early morning

“Is he or she medicated?” Is a relatively common question nowadays! To me it has religious connotations of confirmation in the church. If you reach adulthood and haven’t been “confirmed” then you will not go to heaven! The analogy is, I guess if you are not medicated, then you won’t be healthy! Now I know those of you will say that I am cynical, knowing my background, and I admit, there is an element of this. I am also quick to acknowledge that many in society need life-saving drugs and medicines for significant disease and illness.

The Lone Ranger

Seeing me on a horse is short of a miracle, my last experience was as a teenager when staying on our cousins pastoral property “Uambi” outside of Deniliquin. They were all accomplished horse riders even as children. We, the urban cousins obviously not. So we all set out on a gentle horse ride along the reaches of the creek and billabong. My nag reluctantly sauntered along, decidedly frustrated to be ignominiously mounted by a terrified novice. He dawdled so much that our cousins frequently had to ride back and give him a gentle nudge along. But as soon as we turned 180 degrees, to head for home, he bolted! It wasn’t a canter, it wasn’t a trot, it was a Man From Snowy River gallop. It was all I could do to hang for dear life until he stopped dead at the homestead gate, so rapidly that it was a miracle I was not pitched head first over the front of the horse!

2 thoughts on “We are falling like flies

  1. And another thing, it’s a lack of christening that precludes entry to heaven, not a lack of confirmation. I can’t believe you being such a devout Christian would confuse the two. Remedial catechism classes required.


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