22:00 - Not really sure what to say about today...we met at 9am to go to the supermarket and get some food for lunch and snacks for our 3 nights in Torres del Paine. Of course Toby hadn't checked and as it was Sunday the supermarket was still closed, so we trotted back and moved our departure by a half hour and tried again at 10. We all got some food and went back to load the minibus. The minibus was a little too tight for such a large group. The luggage just about fitted in the trailer and the back of the van, but all the shopping filled the space in between the seats. Not ideal when you are coming in and out the van. Moaning aside, off we went towards Torres del Paine with our guide Isabel a welcome addition. She's originally from Poland but fell in love with the surroundings and has been working around Patagonia for the past 5 years. We stopped at the Cueva del Milodon, where they found remains of a primordial sloth. When we were about 10 minutes from the entrance of the park, the axel of the trailer broke and the wheel fell off. There was no way e could get the people and the luggage all in the van so after much deliberation, Toby decided to leave our newly acquired guide Isabel to guard the trailer with the luggage and we would go to the entrance where a telephone was available and call for someone to come and pick up the luggage and take it to the lodge (with the guide). Unfortunately, about 10 minutes down the road, we punctured a tyre. Manuel, the driver, just calmly set about changing it. We then went on our way wondering what else could possibly happen! Luckily other then a few photo stops on the way, there were no further mishaps and we got to our lodge at around 6pm and our luggage followed soon after. We will be sleeping in dormitories for 3 nights. The rooms are tiny and each one has 3 bunk beds: 6 people in a room that I doubt is much bigger than 9 foot by 9! No electricity either other than the lights which go off at 11pm and come back on at 5am.
We had just time for a quick aperitif with the mango sour i had bought in Puerto Varas (we had to be inventive with cups as we had none: I cut in two a small water bottle and if you put the top on the open side you can make two perfectly good drinking vessels out of them :-) ) and then we had dinner at the only place available: the lodge. It was plain but ok. A soup and some stodgy turkey meat. After a briefing by Isabel about tomorrow's walk we all went on our way to either bed/shower etc. Sunitta has decided that the real scope of her visit here is the boat trip on lake Grey (until yesterday she didn't know it existed but today she's saying to anyone who'll listen that she came here just for that). The trip itself is not expensive (about 80 dollars), but the transport as there is none within the park, will cost her 250 dollars to get to the docks where it departs and back. As we are on the Sunitta subject, a few of today's highlights have been: her sprinting to the van abandoning her luggage so that she could occupy a front seat on the minibus and Lisa finally telling her whats for. She is overly spoilt and it's apparent to everyone. And the group, even the more elderly, are starting to react to her behaviour (and not always nicely).
Well, tomorrow is another day and Isabel seems nice and knowledgeable. Hopefully the weather should hold for our 14km walk. We get to see the horns (a mountain formation).