My first week at on Isla Tenglo has been a bit of roller coaster, with one big up and then one big down. Perhaps I was a little over zealous and wore myself out, as I tend to do.
I arrived on Friday, December 15, which happened to be the night of the yacht club’s Staff Holiday Party. Excited, I dropped my bags off on Christian’s sailboat and immediately started helping with the setup, moving sofas and chairs, setting the tables, and testing the cold beer.
After a couple of hours, though, I realized how tired I was, having traveled over 24 hours without sleeping. I used my better judgment and bowed out of the party before it started (and before those fresh mussels and empanadas were ready for sampling). I picked up my bags, took the water taxi over to Isla Tenglo, and let myself into Casa Roja. It was only 7pm, but I had no problem falling asleep!
Saturday was a quiet day. The rain came and went, then came again. It reminded me how quickly the weather can change here in Patagonia. It actually hailed for a bit in the morning, and then within 20 minutes, the sun was shining and the front deck was dry! Amazing.
I took the day to unpack and get re-acquainted with the area. I took the water taxi over to the mainland and bought some basic supplies from the little store next to the yacht club. On my way home, I was lucky that friends Veronica and Bernard were on their way to the island with a lot of leftovers from the party. I helped them with their boxes and bags, in exchange for a free ride over to the island. We made it just before the rain set in.
Sunday morning, relaxing in the living room at Casa Roja with a cup of tea, I was greeted by Christian’s son, Tomas, who had made the bus trip down from Santiago. He would be staying here a few weeks with me. Fantastic! It would be great to have company.
The weather cooperated Sunday, with bright sunny skies. Tomas and I immediately got to work. Things grow quickly here in Patagonia and the spacious yard of Casa Roja needed some attention.
I mowed the massive lawn, while Tomas built a handrail along the pathway leading up to the house. We hoped the handrail would help prop-up the beautiful Calla Lilies that once lined the path, but that now lay ON the path due to damage from recent frost and/or hail. But no luck.
We ended up making the decision to prune back the long stretch of flowery plants. We saved a handful of the flowers, and made arrangements for a few of the rooms in the house.
I continued with some other pruning around the yard while Tomas started prepping for dinner. We were hosting an election dinner tonight! Yes, it was Chile’s presidential election.
Tomas did all the work on dinner, preparing a feast of small dishes – mussels, salmon, meatballs, salad. My most important contribution was defrosting the homemade pisco sour mix, and serving the frothy, icy drinks around the room. In typical fashion, since I rarely do the cooking, I managed the clean-up and dish-washing process.
The election itself was quite interesting – especially how the votes were counted manually and read aloud, one by one, all 6 million of them. The phone call between candidates was televised, and the concession/victory speeches were made side-by-side; both different than in the US elections.
As if the election wasn’t exciting enough, toward the end of the evening the wind picked up a bit and then… crash! A tree branch broke, fell on a power line! The power line snapped and fell to the ground. We still had power and no one was hurt, thankfully. Nothing could be done now, this late in the evening. But we called the power company and the next day a team came out to fix it.
Over the next couple of days, we tackled a few more projects around the house. I was focused on removing the ivy from the wall of Casa Roja. It took me a day and a half, with some precarious balancing and creative use of tools, but I did it. That ivy is tough! We will have to sand and repaint the wall, but Christian said that’s ok – he’d rather do that than have the ivy provide a potential nesting place for rats and spiders. (I didn’t see any rats but I certainly came face to face with a few spiders!)
Tomas was constantly busy too, but my favorite accomplishment was his making/baking two fantastic loaves of bread! Gracias Tomas!
Those first days were fantastic. It was great to be back here on Isla Tenglo working outside. The weather was beautiful! Not winter this time! (See my entries from 2015. Cold.)
Then, just when I felt we were really on a roll, on Tuesday evening I started feeling a little ill. I went to bed early hoping it would pass, but Wednesday morning I woke up and hit the wall. My nose was stuffy and I felt horrible.
I stayed in bed the next 3 days, surviving on hot tea with lemon and honey, canned peaches and peas, and pasta with olive oil and oregano - and sleeping 18 hours a day. Christian and Lali brought me some medicine that helped, too.
It’s now Saturday morning and I think I’m on the road to recovery. I'm feeling much better. I went outside today for the first time in 3 days. We had to haul our garbage off the island. If that doesn't cure me, I don't know what will! :-) Hey, that's island life.
Stay tuned for next week... I'm scheduled to help deliver a yacht down the coast!
Happy holidays everyone!