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Patagonian

    I am thinking of traveling to Patagonia in the next year.  Just to visit.  Many are lured down there it seems, more that one would think.
Trelew, Argentina seems centrally located, "close to everything", but when you look away from the map to a chart of raw miles the illusion disappears. The word rural is replaced by the word remote. I find it interesting that this area has been settled by the Welsh.
    Although I am hoping not to die for at least another thirty years or so, I have often thought that we, the soon to be elderly, should consider going south of the border in our twilight years. There we might enjoy ourselves without getting sucked into nursing homes, or an endless series of hospital visits that can be impoverishing, but useless, gestures to prolong life. If the brakes should happen to fail during a bus trip over the mountains, or we should happen to wander into the wrong side of town-- well, think of the interesting color and drama that would be added to our last moments!
    I am challenged when it comes to Latin American studies.  Not much Spanish, nor much immersion in the cultures or literatures. I admit that I do not yet feel comfortable with these cultures, feeling that they exist in unsafe, violent places, perhaps laughably so, since big American cities do not frighten me at all. Still, renting a movie like Salvador will do for me if no horror movies are available.
    Ala Under the Volcano, or the Old Gringo, seem to me good as any ways to go. I have been saving these adventures for last.  Alberto Manguel quotes Borges as saying "any place is good enough to die in."  I suppose that is very true. But I may be part elephant.
    Patagonia will likely be my "elephant graveyard."  In my mind it is not so much a physical place, as it is a confrontation with the fact that we are, must be, will be, ultimately alone.  That is antisocial yes, but death, in one way, is the ultimate antisocial act.  It might be seen as cruel to friends, relatives, loved ones to absent oneself prematurely, but it is also cruel to prolong their suffering. So I would prefer to be able to walk out into the vast Patagonian landscape, while I still can walk, and then, to use the miraculous device of John Crowley, just go deeper within.

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