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I am fully cognizant of the fact that comparisons are wrong. You should never compare this to that, because either this or that will feel badly about what you’re saying, or you may later regret it, or you may be at a party and someone may disagree with you vociferously, and then drop his drink.

Look, a picture to illustrate my point (and capture reader attention):

Saltos, Volcano

I don’t care much about the vociferousness, and I’m about to make a comparison, or say something unflattering about someplace I’ve been, and you can say what you want, and even drop your drink, but there is a reason I wasn’t wowed by Milford Sound. Milford Sound is one of the “must sees” of New Zealand’s south island. You can take a four day (I think) walk on the Milford Track, you can take a bus in from Queenstown (or Te Anau). And you can spend a long day (in my case, seeing “Whale Runner” (love that movie) and something about a race car that features a person from the southern part of the south island, and seems to have taken on a cult-like following in New Zealand, though it’s an American movie.

And so, the Milford sound. I was game. I was also tired from a whole lot of bike riding, and so I slept and woke, slept and woke. And then we were on the boat, and the best part of the whole thing was that an Indian woman, fresh from her wedding, mehndi still fading on her hands, gasped and said, “penguins!” And I said, “really?” and she said, “no, dolphins.” Which is totally understandable because they’re right next to each other in the kids’ science encyclopedia, and when I saw an otter humphing across the beach one day in Maitencillo, and shouted out “nutria!” I wondered if I’d accidentally instead said “morsa!” (walrus, which it was not, but hey, pinnipeds).

And I just was so nonplussed by the Milford Sound. It might have been because there were so many people, or because we got there so easily, or because the weather spat between sleet and rain the whole time, or because I’d rather have been cycling, or it could be because I have this in my backyard:

Lakes crossing, 2

Lakes crossing

Both of these on the lakes crossing between Chile and Argentina, and which I am still arguing with the travel agency about because they want to charge me more money because I stupidly handed over my Chilean ID instead of my passport when I got to the hotel (more to follow on that…). But the lakes crossing. So much bus-boat-bus-boat-bus-boat, but so much worth it, because it finally helped me to figure out why I thought the Milford Sound was just ok, though in general I loved the pants off New Zealand, and that sounds much wronger than it was supposed to, but it’s a holiday weekend and I’m working anyway, so give me a break.

Also, look: kitty in Peulla (Chile).

gatito, lanchas, Peulla, Chile

And a rainbow welcoming us into Bariloche (Argentina).

rainbow through the trees

And since I mentioned NZ movies, now’s not a bad time to mention I wrote up a little thing on NG about “must-see” modern Chilean movies, where “must-see” is in quotes because there’s really nothing in the world you must do. Wait, that’s not true. You must live your life well. Or answer to yourself why you’re not.

And also, if you’ve noticed a kick up in my mad photog skillz, it’s not your imagination. It’s Ricardo Portugueis, and his CasaK Taller Digital de Fotografía. Credit where credit is due. He took me out of automatic and woke me up and got me to La Reina seven weeks in a row. Both astonishing accomplishments. Thanks Ricardo!