Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
25.01.2011 - 28.01.2011 20 °C
It felt good to be back in Ushuaia, the most Southerly city in the world. I headed straight back to the cute little guesthouse from before with views from my room right over the beagle channel, the end of the world. I was greeted by Diane, the rather enthusiastic but a bit on the dumb side alsation, and Javier, the guesthouse owner, a little on the crazy side. In a nice way of course.
This guy would see me walking towards guesthouse up the steep hill from the town and immediately switch the TV channel to BBC world so I would feel at home! Every morning Javier cooked breakfast for the 8 or so guests and we would sit around the kitchen table swapping travel stories and getting excited over our upcoming Antarctica adventures. I met some incredible people over breakfast from all over the world. I loved staying here. Javier would wind us up constantly about the ‘Drake passage’ the seas that we need to cross from Tierra del Fuego to get to Antarctica. I didn’t believe him when he told us that these were the roughest seas in the world and many do not make it so i looked on youtube and YIKES!!!! Video clip after video clip of tsunami style waves and broken limbs from being thrown around the boat, 2.5 days to get there and 2.5 days back OHHHHHHHHHHHH BOY!!!!! My anxiety was not helped by a visit to the shipwreck museum, sorry i mean the maritime museum. Full of memorabilia from various shipwrecks and failed voyages from around the area! Am I really just about to set sail across theses seas? Felt like a test, a barrier, a rite of passage to reach the mystical lands of the undiscovered white continent....
While I was in Ushuaia I did a few treks around the area, taking in the cool fresh air and the unique scenery. Ushuaia is very much a middle class tourist town, a mix of trekkers and excited adventure-seekers preparing for the various expeditions to Antarctica. The town is impressively surrounded by snow capped mountains, glaciers, and the calm waters of the beagle channel. The sun would not set until around 10.30pm so we would sit with Javier and a bottle of Mendozan red wine and watch the colour of the sky gradually change. Javier would also try and teach me some Argentinian Spanish and me English to him. Argentinian speak is quite a bit different from the rest of South American and Spanish Spanish so i was struggling even more than normal if you can imagine that! Our conversations turned into a hilarious Spanglish hybrid, not really making much sense to anyone who happened to be listening!
I went on a shopping expedition for seasickness drugs and hot knickers! Yes, gawd if I knew the Spanish for thermal underwear so hot knickers it was! I have never taken seasickness tablets before in my life but didn’t want to risk this trip being ruined by Drake’s rough passage. The day I was to set sail I decided to go for a trek to the top of Marshall glacier to calm my nerves. Well, I failed on this mission as misjudged how long it would take me to get back down and was nearly late. All was fine though as I finally boarded the ‘Antarctic Dream’ expedition ship with much excitement but a few butterflies in my stomach, or ‘tengo el mariposa in my estomago’ as I had tried to explain to Javier!