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Pole to Pole

Day 134: Santiago to Punta Arenas

Santiago, Chile 
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The city of Santiago - a romantic view.
Michael Palin - Pole to PoleI take a last look at the destination board. It's 27 November.

The first, moderately disconcerting, thing about the flight is that the plane is a Boeing 707, a perfectly fine aircraft, but not in service on any airline I've travelled with for a while.

As we take off, a Walt Disney cartoon plays on the cabin video.

It's a short hop to the city of Concepcion, but already the landscape is changing. The hills are steep and pitted, the narrow valleys running down to the sea are green and forested. The cabin announcement as we taxi to the terminal advises us to remain on board. 'Our staying at this airport will be approximately twenty minutes.'

Seven and a half hours later we are still at Concepcion. We have played cards, read books, drunk beers and coffees and have even been bussed into a city-centre hotel for a gloomy set lunch. Patti and Fraser have managed some time for shopping, or retail therapy as they call it. I've met a scientist who is off to do coastal research in the Antarctic. He has stood on the South Pole. It had been 50 below . . . 'and your breath just gets swept away. It's so short anyway. You're at 10,000 feet'.

It had never occurred to me that besides being bleak and inhospitable and pitch dark half the year, the South Pole was as high as an Alpine peak.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 134
  • Country/sea: Chile
  • Place: Santiago
  • Book page no: 299

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