I have landed!

I’ve made it to the U.S. and am cooling my heels in the Miami airport before flying to Chicago in an hour. It was a long trip: 3½ hours from Punta Arenas to Santiago, a five-hour wait, an 8½-hour flight from Santiago to Miami, three hours between planes, and, after the next 3½ hour flight to Chicago, I’ll be home (that doesn’t include about 1.5 hours to get from O’Hare to my crib via public transport).

Two things ameliorated the journey. The first was a couple of movies on the Santiago-Miami flight, including Tarantino’s newest, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” with an all-star cast including Brad Pitt and Leonardo Dicaprio. I quite liked that one, and especially appreciated the melange of songs on the soundtrack. Plus it was a long movie, good for a long flight.

I also watched “The Aftermath”, a 2019 film about a British Army officer and his wife stationed in Hamburg right after the end of WWII. The plot was quite contrived, and had a mawkish ending, but it also starred Keira Knightley, and I’ll see any movie she’s in, (My favorites are “Atonement” and “Never Let Me Go”.)

The other mitigating factor was my Global Entry pass, which I got last year. It includes TSA PreCheck but also an almost instant entry when you’re coming into the US from abroad. While dozens of citizens and Chileans waited in a crowded customs line, I put my pass in the kiosk, had my fingerprints scanned and a picture taken (all by the machine), and got through customs and passport check in about four minutes. If you travel both domestically and internationally, I recommend this highly.

So I am back, and will be sad for a while, having been thrust abruptly from Penguin Land into Starbucks Land. But I’m immensely glad that I went to the Antarctic and the Falkland Islands, as it was one of the top three trips I’ve ever had. Movies and some extra pictures following our landing in Punta Arenas will follow in the next couple of weeks, and I haven’t spent much time documenting the food on our trip, either, though I took lots of pictures.

In the meantime, here are photos of the six species of penguins I saw. (My life list for penguins includes seven, with the addition of the Galápagos penguin.)  If you’ve been on this journey with me, you should be able to name them all. And, now that I’m on the Miami airport internet, I present the photos in full resolution.


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted November 30, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    The trip seems too short – perhaps there are longer trips? It was delightful to read the periodic reports.

    Glad to learn the Tarantino gets a thumbs up.

    • merilee
      Posted November 30, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Great flick!

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 30, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Great pictures. Has to be a long tiring trip back but just one more flight to go. We have all learned a great deal about penguins.

  3. charitablemafioso
    Posted November 30, 2019 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Welcome back, PCC(E)! I have enjoyed your posts and photos, and look forward to seeing more.

  4. Diana MacPherson
    Posted November 30, 2019 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Welcome back to the North America continent.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted November 30, 2019 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      But as Heraclitus wrote,”You could not step twice into the same river.”


      (More accurate quote reference appreciated)

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted November 30, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        I’m no expert in the field, but I think there’s just one extant work of Heraclitus’s own writing (On Nature), and that the notion of the “Heraclitean flux” was attributed to him by Plato.

        • Posted December 2, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

          No (complete) work of Heraclitus survives. “On Nature” was a common retroactive name given to various authors (particularly presocratics).

  5. rickflick
    Posted November 30, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Welcome back. Looking forward to motion pictures.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted November 30, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Penguin Tarantino

      • rickflick
        Posted November 30, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink


  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 30, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Welcome back.

    I saw Once Upon a Time in Hollywood the weekend it was released. It’s a bravura exercise of the filmmaking arts, and had excellent performances by the leads, but I didn’t think the script was particularly strong by Tarantino standards. And, even by Tarantino standards, although the first four-fifths the film is relatively violence-free (aside from a couple of fistfights), the violence at the end was completely gratuitous, right down to the reappearance in the final reel of (spoiler alert) “Chekov’s flamethrower.”

    • merilee
      Posted November 30, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      I thought the flamethrower part was hilarious, gratuitous or not. Chekov’s flamethrower 😂

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 30, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        That would be consistent with Tarantino – hilarious violence. Also gratuitous.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted November 30, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        There’s always been an unreality and macabre humor to the violence in Tarantino films. (If we wanted to over-intellectualize this a bit, we might call it a form of Brechtian distancing effect.) The quintessential instantiation would be the accidental shooting of Marvin in the backseat of the car in Pulp Fiction.

        But for me, at least, the violence in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, condensed as it is in the penultimate sequence, was different — cartoonishly gratuitous.

        But then, maybe my mind will change upon subsequent viewings, as has been known to happen with movies. 🙂

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted November 30, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

          The accidental shooting of Marvin was hilarious and I’ve been told by a friend that thinks it was horrifying that something is wrong with me. I remind her that Marvin had ratted out all his room mates who were purposely shot in the face.

          • ThyroidPlanet
            Posted November 30, 2019 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

            “I’ve been told by a friend that thinks it was horrifying that something is wrong with me.”

            To be fair, it looks real – being on a screen, with real people, with fake blood, and fake guns, and…. they understand the actor is still alive, right?

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted November 30, 2019 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

              Yes. But they still think something is wrong with me for laughing at Vincent being pissed off at picking up little pieces of skull or saying “I just shot Marvin in the face”.

          • merilee
            Posted November 30, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

            I loved Harvey Keitel (?) coming over with the cleaning products🤓

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted November 30, 2019 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

              Yeah and the clothing change “they look like dorks”. My friend insists “what would you do if that happened to me?” Ummmmm. Be horrified. Because it’s not a movie. And you’re not Marvin.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted November 30, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

            You tell that friend of yours that saying that kinda shit turns you into a mushroom-cloud laying muthafuckah, muthafuckah. Turns you into The Guns of Navarone. 🙂

            • merilee
              Posted November 30, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink


            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted November 30, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

              Haha. Sadly “the video has been removed by the user” but your sentiment and presentation is still good.

            • merilee
              Posted November 30, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

              I just remembered that I first saw PF in a theater 25 years ago on a first date! The guy and I went out a few times afterwards but the relationship did not founder because of the movie. We both found it hilarious.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted November 30, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

                I saw it in the theatre with a friend and neither of us had any idea what it was about but I thought it was so funny aside from parts of the rape. I see Pulp Fiction as one of those movies where you recognize your dark side.

        • merilee
          Posted November 30, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

          Not sure how else T could’ve ended the movie??

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted November 30, 2019 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      I got about halfway through and kinda lost interest. More and more I either feel like I know exactly what’s going to happen in the rest of a film – or I don’t know, but nothing in the film has made me sufficiently invested to care anyway.

      I don’t think he’s done anything truly riveting since Pulp Fiction. When you make films that are as lightweight as his films are, then they really have to have serious momentum to make up for the shallowness. And his films have gotten so bloody long by now, each one pointlessly longer than the last it seems, that they all sag quite a bit. Which means they lack the punch of his first few films.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted November 30, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        I think Tarantino’s third directorial effort, Jackie Brown, was a good, tight, worthy effort, too. In addition to that film (in which Tarantino’s more unruly instincts were cabined by the Elmore Leonard novel from which it was adapted), Tarantino has written three great films — two that he directed, Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, plus True Romance. (He also contributed to the scripts for Natural Born Killers and From Dusk Till Dawn).

        Since then, the movies he’s made himself have contained magnificent sequences and wonderful performances, but none has held together as a whole the way his earlier films did. His movie-making has become self-indulgent and undisciplined.

        My theory (which is my own, and which I’ve set out in this space before) is that Tarantino’s scripts have suffered since he stopped working with his former writing partner, Roger Avary (who’s an accomplished filmmaker in his own right, see Killing Zoe and Rules of Attraction). He’s McCartney without Lennon.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted November 30, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

          Sounds plausible. I loved True Romance too. I was reminded of the noodle-eating scene while watching Barry…


          • Ken Kukec
            Posted November 30, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, I love the “Drexel” cameo by Gary Oldman in True Romance.

            Among my other favorite scenes is the one between Patricia Arquette as “Alabama” and a near-unknown James Gandolfini as a low-level mobster (and sort of ur-Tony Soprano). It is by turns a screwball comedy, a suspense flick, a hitman memoir, a revenge flick, and a horror movie — all in less than eight-and-a-half minutes of screen time.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted December 1, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

              The amount of violence against Patricia Arquette’s character would be difficult to get away with today, regardless of the fact that she gets her own back.

              Tarantino’s got a very fucked up attitude to women; a lot of his love of seeing women getting the shit kicked out of them is masked by his canny use of strong female leads, and the inevitable, exculpatory moment where the woman gets her own back…but that seam in his films is unavoidable.

              I miss James Gandolfini though that’s for sure. A titan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dj6E7Z1dNv8 (with special mention to Edie Falco for being equally astonishing in that scene).

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted December 2, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

                Marsellus Wallace might say that that attitude’s not just limited to women. 🙂

  7. Andrew
    Posted November 30, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Welcome back! We are glad to have you home safe.

  8. Posted November 30, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Named them all. I’m a penguin expert now! The chinstrap is definitely the weirdest looking.

  9. Marilyn
    Posted November 30, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I can’t thank you enough for your daily posts about your trip. I have saved them all so I can revisit them whenever I want. You are a beacon of light and learning in a media world full of bs. Thanks again.

  10. Posted November 30, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I will join in and welcome you back! I may have added an Antarctic cruise to my bucket list because of your journey. Thank you!

  11. mike cracraft
    Posted November 30, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I know I won’t soon forget all of your wonderful posts. Thanks so much for sharing.

  12. Jenny Haniver
    Posted November 30, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Welcome back! Your Antarctic journey is over but as long as you’ll be posting photos and videos, ours isn’t.

  13. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted November 30, 2019 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I love Atonement, it’s one of those films that reliably makes me well up. I also had a college girlfriend who looked uncannily like Keira Knightley, so it adds a certain extra melancholia to it all.

    Welcome back anyway.

  14. Mark R.
    Posted November 30, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Welcome back to the dysfunctional US of A and its absurd leader. It was probably a stress reliever being away from the political insanity for a month.

    I knew all the penguins, but when I saw the Adélie photo I thought, the porno penguin. It just popped in my head.

  15. Jon Gallant
    Posted November 30, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Along with many other WEIT followers, I send PCC(e) very best wishes and a thousand thanks for taking us all along on his fantastic trip to Antarctica.

    In the movie department, let me put in two cents, the result taking my disabled son Aaron to the movies every Sunday for decades. The products of Quentin T., with their amalgam of length, shallowness, and gratuitous violence, are absolutely OUT. Non-gratuitous violence, as in the work of Ang Lee or Zhang Yimou, is IN. Aaron also
    liked the new Lion King so well we went to it twice, although I thought the lion who played Scar didn’t do villainy quite as well as Jeremy Irons did in the old cartoon version.

  16. Posted November 30, 2019 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Another “Welcome Home!” from me and glad you’ve arrived safely. Many thanks for sharing your penguin journey which I also enjoyed. I think even the brown female penguin is lovely. They all are. And, I’m so glad you were able to take this adventurous trip of a lifetime. Motivates me to plan my next trip.

    • Posted November 30, 2019 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      The “brown female” is a chick of indeterminate sex; one can’t ever sex individuals just by a picture like this, and of course they’re not sexually dimorphic.

  17. Posted November 30, 2019 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Welcome back, and thanks for all the wonderful reports.

    When I see the third penguin picture, I can’t help thinking of The Skating Minister, by Henry Raeburn 🙂

  18. James Walker
    Posted December 1, 2019 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    Welcome home! I got Global Entry (USA) and Nexus (Canada) a few years ago and it’s made my travel much smoother.

  19. Posted December 1, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I know that flat feeling after returning from the other world of Antarctica. (Was it a dream?) I went on the Discovery, thanks to a son Zodiac-driver and son in law ornothologist, and the experience of a lifetime was watching about 500 killer whales churning the waters all around the ship on a mass whale hunt. Your super photos have brought the glory back into my mind. Thank you.

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