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Punta Arenas Cultural Exchange

We’ve had a busy few days since we last updated you so here we go.

Christmas Eve started with a trip south of the city to Fuertre Bulnes. This was the first settlement in the area and we found it fascinating to see how the settlers survived the harsh conditions. Montserrat also led us on a walk around the area to several viewpoints where we could look out over the Magellan Strait. On the way back we stopped at a small family owned café for some amazing empanadas.

Later on in the evening we gathered for Christmas Eve. Rob and Rich were at their house and everyone else was at Jonathan’s house. At Jonathan’s we feasted on some of the best food we’d ever seen until we were stuffed full. In Chile they celebrate Christmas at midnight on Christmas Eve so the house was full of anticipation, counting down the minutes. Eventually it came and we joyfully opened our presents. We played a few Christmas games and then hit the sack.

Christmas day was a lazy one. We had a nice chilled morning calling our loved ones and eating more food. In the afternoon we headed to Nomadesk for more Christmas celebrations. We had a huge traditional barbecue with a whole lamb spit roasted over the embers. We gave each other our secret santa gifts and had a good laugh.

On Boxing Day we went on a overnight camp to Montserrat’s scout groups campsite. We did a day hike down to the southernmost lighthouse on the American continent. On the return walk a pod of dolphins came close to the shore and played. Ellis though it was so cool that she started crying.

In the evening we relaxed around the campfire sharing stories and eating marshmallows. We also celebrated Ellis’s birthday with some cake.

The next day we did some community projecting by clearing up the campsite. The amount that people litter shocked the team but we managed to clear up a lot of it to make a difference. For lunch we had a barbecue on the beach and then headed out to sea for kayaking. After the tiring day the team headed back to their respective homes for a good night’s sleep.

Today was a other community projecting day. We headed to a local school where we cleared up their gardening patch. It was hard work but by the end there was a huge improvement. After the gardening, we went to Nomadesk where we did a presentation to scouts and parents. They asked lots of questions and it was a really good night.

We said our emotional goodbyes to the families we had been staying with and went to our hostel. We then went to a local museum about the history of Punta Arenas. The rest of the afternoon was spent shopping before we went back to our hostel and had a water fight.

Today we went to an awesome boat museum with 1:1 replicas of the ships that the first explorers used. One of the boats had a litter of kittens in it which meant that it took us about half an hour to get Ellis away from them. Rob and Dan then wrestled Jonathan on some grass. They both lost. Afterwards we went to meet another local Scout Group in the city, swapping stories and discussing the similarity (and differences) between Scouting in Chile and the UK. In the evening we went to Bar Bulnes, a restaurant which sells pizza by the meter. The 4 guys made a fatal error and ordered 2 meters of pizza between them. Needless to say, there was a lot left over for breakfast the next day. We rolled back to our hostel and prepared ourselves for a busy following day.

Today we had quite an early start at 5:30. This is because we went on a penguin tour at a local island. We also saw a whale and sea lions which got us all very excited. We had a cheeky siesta back at the hostel before heading out to prepare for dinner.

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