Thursday February 12, 2015 (Argentina, Patagonia, South America)
Alright, so we think we're far enough down the path that we can confirm this: we're going to Antarctica!
Initially, we weren't even planning on coming to Ushuaia on our trip. We were already supposed to have turned around and headed up north to start into Bolivia enroute to Peru and Machu Picchu. But as we were headed south we kept hearing "well, you're so close to Ushuaia, you should check it out!". Which then became: "well, if you're in Ushuaia you should really look into last minute Antarctica deals!". We didn't want to get our hopes up too much, but it looks pretty sealed up at this point that we'll be headed out on a boat for a 22 day journey starting on February 20th. Until then, we're just holding tight in Ushuaia to wait for our departure. Sorry in advance for a bunch of boring updates until then, but we're sure you'll understand. Hopefully the pictures we'll have upon our return from Antarctica will more than make up for it!
We've switched hostels again to what we believe is the cheapest in town. Great people here (tons of motorcyclists!). We're trying to determine how to keep ourselves occupied before the departure. Sandra has learned that the local theatre is showing "50 Shades of Grey" in English with Spanish subtitles. And Jupiter Ascending. I'm not too keen on either of them, but darned if we probably don't watch both in the intervening week before we leave. We've also heard there's a public pool we can get access to after submitting ourselves to a short physical. You know, just checking out those toes for Athlete's Foot and checking out those armpits for… other fungal infections? Anyway, once you're cleared you should be good to swim for about 25 pesos per month. Good news!
Our new mission is also trying to source some waterproof gear for the trip south. Although a parka and waterproof boots are included, we're expected to provide our own waterproof pants and mittens. And Ushuaia is quite an expensive city, so this is a problem we have yet to solve. Our semi-plan is to try to buy the items from people returning from Antarctica, but we'll see how that goes.
We did manage to find some nice Merino wool socks today (two pairs each!) from a local combat/tactical gear supply store. Most of the outdoor stores were selling crappy socks for the equivalent of $30-40 CAD, but we got these beauties for $15!
We walked to the mall today in hopes of finding a cheaper outdoorsy store than on the main strip. No dice. Prices were the same. But we did have our first taste of Freddo ice cream – an Argentinian chain. Man, do they ever make some great ice cream here! Swiss chocolate, banana split, and Chocolate Freddo completed our 1/4 kg trio of flavours. So tasty.
The wind speeds were pretty incredible on the walk over. We tried to capture the whitecaps on the channel. It was difficult to walk without stumbling, and my legs felt like they'd received a complimentary massage from my flailing pant legs.
Ushuaia is a neat city because we're discovering so many trips end here. I mean, wouldn't you plan a trip that ended at the end of the world? Just tonight we've met two Swiss motorcyclists completing a 21-month trip around the world. They're all done. And tomorrow, we have a cyclist arriving (no motor!) who's completing his journey from Minnesota to Alaska to here. It's funny the way you meet people finishing their journeys while you're just beginning. And we've just met our first couple on a year-long trip who started after us. Scary to think we've already been gone over a month. Another motorcyclist in our hostel here is on his fourth consecutive year of travel. Not sure we could do that, but it's pretty amazing!
We'll try to take some interesting shots around town and hopefully get some time put into editing all of the video footage we've captured thus far. Goodness knows it won't be easy to edit in 6 metre swells in the Drake Passage. Wish us luck!