The Plains Of Patagonia



República Argentina

May 10, 2012

My Dear Readers,

No one other than Charles Darwin had his own thoughts about Patagonia:

“I see that the plains of Patagonia pass frequently before my eyes; nevertheless everybody says that they are the poorest and least useful.  Why is it then that these arid deserts have remained imprinted in my mind?”<--break->

I have no idea if Darwin ever answered his own question.

Beagle Channel


Tierra del Fuego


May 14, 2012

Dear Friends,

After I posted my first letter and photos from Ushuaia, I received these two comments:

“Why do you spend more than one day in Ushuaia?”  Wrote one friend.

“This is a place I don’t need to visit, thank you.”   Wrote another friend.

Everyone is entitled to her opinion and reaction.   Perhaps my new photos will have a positive effect?

Ushuaia: Tierra del Fuego


Tierra del Fuego




Dear Friends,

Here’s the short version of my latest story from Argentina:

I met Susanna on my flight to Ushuaia.

At the airport, I suggested she ride with me and Javier to the guest house.  She agreed.

Javier, the owner, made her a good offer for a room.

Susanna and I were travel buddies for four days.

Glacier Perito Moreno

Glacier Perito Moreno

El Calafate



May 16, 2012

My Dear Family and Friends,

From my perch on a boulder in the middle of this glorious outdoor refrigerator-icebox, I tread along the rocky shoreline of the frigid water nearby.  I stare at the thick plateau of advancing ice.  I gaze at the black and white mountains beyond.  Under three layers of clothing, I sit here alone.   Once again, alone…. 

….Thanks to Diego Linares….

Colorful Salta

Dear Friends,

Years ago, at the Aventura Mall near Miami, a retail store manager greeted me in Spanish, “Hola. ¿Cómo está señor?”  “Why do you assume I speak Spanish?” I asked her.  She responded, “You look like un Colombiano!”

In 2003, in Hanoi, when I traveled with Sushma and Paawan from Mumbai, they admitted to me later that at first they guessed I was from India.

Last December, when I was in Cairo, the hotel staff addressed me in Arabic.

Recently, in a retail shop in Miami, once again, the sales lady spoke to me in Spanish.   This is just the latest example of a common occurrence.

What’s going on?  Do I present “international” facial features? Some “trans-national” coloring? A “global” carriage? Posture? Bearing?

What’s in my blood?

Jewish Salta



May 21, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

The plaque on the wall reads “Estudio Contable, Ema Jaffi de Kohan, Contadora Publica National.

 After almost two weeks in the “deep freeze” of Patagonia, I wander about this lovely city with its spring-like weather (actually, right now it’s late fall). This city of about 500,000 is known as “Salta la Linda” – Salta the Beautiful.

I find the Cathedral, the Church of Saint Francis, and the Monastery.  Orange trees line the residential streets. I photograph the preserved colonial homes and offices with their ornaments and pastel walls.  I stroll through the Plaza of the Ninth of July where the kids are enjoying the mild temperatures. And by accident, I find that brass plaque affixed to the wall of a narrow street. 

I normally think of the surname Jaffe as a possible Jewish name.  But, Kohan? A stong possibility!