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7 El Turco in Patagonia

Posted by Engin Kaban on July 6, 2010

7 El Turco in Patagonia

Chile #2: Puerto Natales

Day 86 (March 20th)

I’ve missed to talk in my mother tongue and have nice chats. One, three, five, and eventually we seven Turkish people get together in this far part of the world. We’ve somehow been blown down here to Patagonia. Noone knows what we are doing in here.

I’m in Puerto Natales in Chile. The importance of this town is due to the Torres del Paine National Park close to here. This national park attracts like a magnet nature lovers from all around the world. It is known as one of the best trekking paths in the world. This region plays an important role in the tourism of Chile, therefore everything is incredibly expensive.

I come to Puerto Natales from Punta Arenas on a Saturday. Here I meet the couple Eda and Tansu ( on their South America trip, their close friend Efe ( who joined them on the South America part of his round-the-world trip with all whom I have been in contact for a while through our backpackers group Sırtçantalılar (

As they came few days earlier, they are now well-known here in this town, especially by the butcher, which I will mention in detail later. We also meet Cem, who had written me by seeing my post on an e-mail group, who has been working as a guide here for several years. We become even more in the following hours.

As a nature-lover, I was actually planning to do camping and trekking in the national park, that takes from 5 to 10 days. Together with other Turks and some guys from Couchsurfing we join an informative seminar that repeats every day, where you can get technical information about the routes and the area. In the end, I decide I can not do it with my equipment. First of all, my summer tent and travel sleeping bag are not appropriate for the hard conditions here. Although I have camped with this equipment in other parts of Patagonia, it is obvious that I should not force the limits anymore here. Of course I do have more things missing. In fact, it is possible to rent anything and everything in this town, though with high prices. At this point, I am in a dilemma. One option is to rent equipment, form a team with fellow travelers here and start an adventure in this amazing nature. The other option is to rent a car with Eda-Tansu-Efe whom I met just an hour ago but can easily say they are great people, and go around in the national park in comfort and have fun. So, I choose comfort and fun.

In the beginning I was planning to rent a tent, and now I find myself going into the “Rent A Car” offices. We are four Turkish people forcing the limits of “how to enjoy this amazing place with maximum comfort and minimum expenses”. After going through all the offices and getting to know the prices, and of course bargaining, we rent a Nissan 4X4 at a cheap price which we even could not understand how we made it. It is even cheaper than a  regular non-4X4 car. As 5-door one was expensive for us, we take the small 3-door one. Actually we were going to rent for 2 days but with my special skills of motivation (yes here I declare, it was me!) we rent the car for 3 days.

Our next stop is the supermarket. As we normally carry everything in our backpacks, we take care of every single gram for weight optimization; but this time as we have a car, we buy anything we want that fulls a supermarket cart to its top. With our 6 litres of wine, nuts, 48 sandwiches and a lot of snacks, we are in the mood of a pleasure trip more than being sportive. For the moment I am not even mentioning the potatoes or the meat for the evening.

While being very loud in the supermarket, a lady approaches us and say in Turkish “hey, you speak Turkish???”. So, we are one more now. Gülcan is also one of these crazy Turks traveling around South America for several months ( We invite her to the bar that we’ll be going at night.

We reach our car with all the stuff we buy. Efe opens the trunk and we place everything and close it. And then we’ll get on the car, but we can’t. The key does not open the door. We try again but no. This is not our car!!! We feel scared and start laughing at the same time. We have all our stuff which costed more than 90USD, and our wine & barbecue dreams inside. We put all the food and drinks in someone else’s car and lock it back. Unbelievable. It is the same car as ours but a different colour, so no one realizes the difference in colour with all the excitement. And the key opens the trunk somehow, but we are afraid to force it again.

We run back to the man from whom we rented the car. To our luck, it is his car. He opens the trunk for us, so we have everything back. He warns us to be more careful next time, as he is a little bit worried now. He is right. We are still in the centre of town; we still will go over the mountains with this car…

I go for the barbeque to the the hostel where they are staying. Now, the owner of the hostel also belongs to the “Turkish mafia” as he calls us. All together we have our barbeque in the backyard. Of course with wine, salad and baked potatoes. We keep on saying “life is good for us” and drink away in the chilly Patagonian night. As I go in the kitchen and find wineglasses for everybody so that we do not have to drink from water glasses, they start calling me “French mösyö Engin”. Wine has to be drank from thin wineglass. For me, pleasure comes first.

Efe and Tansu are simply crazy for meat in Chile and Argentina. They are now good friends with the attendants of the butcher as they buy meat there every day. I realize there is a guestbook in the entrance of the butcher, as if this is not the butcher but museum of modern arts. Indeed, we realize the last person who wrote was around a year ago. But of course we the Turks write our impressions about the meat in Patagonia in the guestbook. I still remember how the attendants of the butcher look at us while we were laughing aloud.

We continue our chats with the Turkish mafia later in the nightlife of the town. It actually consists of just 2-3 bars. In this town, people have either have been trekking and camping for the last 10 days and just came back so are exhausted, or will be heading to the mountains the following day in the morning so they sleep early. It seems that it is only us in this town who do not care about anything but having fun. We celebrate the birthday of Cem, who lives here. Later on as Serkan and Gülcan also join us, we are seven. 7 El Turco in Patagonia.

We leave the bar at 2:30. We’ll wake up at 5:30 in the morning and hit the road at 6, if we do not have hangover. Wait for us Torres del Paine. Turks are coming…

Engin Kaban

May 29th 2010 – Buenos Aires


3 Responses to “7 El Turco in Patagonia”

  1. il Piergi said

    Great post, mösyö! Ha ha ha!

    [It took me a while to do mösyö = monsieur, though]

    Are you in Bolivia now? I am happily enjoying the beach of the Colombian Caribbean coast, with my harén of 4 ladies . . . 😉

    Life is so good!
    Güzele bakmak sevaptır!

    • Heyy man,

      Thanks for comments. Yes currently in La Paz, heading to Peru soon.
      I’ll come to Colombia in a few months, leave some ladies for me 🙂

      Hayat sana güzel valla Piergi 🙂

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