A couple of days in Ushuaia then 4 flights home.
16.12.2012 - 20.12.2012
16th December – Day in Ushuaia
My smurf hat from La Paz is now entertaining guests in Ushuaia.
Slept in and then packed my bike into a too-small cardboard box. We’d been provided them by the bike club, but they were tiny. I had to dismantle everything on my bike – both wheels off, forks, handlebars and of course the saddle and pedals. It only fit with me creating a new ‘lid’. I did manage to also squeeze a few light bulky items, such as down jacket and sleeping bag, into in a couple of spaces I found. I have been ruthless with chucking stuff out as I need to get my 57kg arrival weight down below 46kg (2 x23kg allowance) and that doesn’t allow for gift purchases. Everything fit into my backpack and it weighs 13 kg and the bike box is 27 meaning I’ve got it down to 40KG. How did I do that? I said I was ruthless!
That done, a few of us went out for lunch in town. This is my seafood paella.
This is the view of Ushuaia from Hotel Ushuaia up on the hill. It's an easy walk down to town, but very steep, so with my dodgy knee right now, a taxi back is a better option.
What’s with all this rubbish? I know it’s Sunday, but piles of uncollected garbage bags is not a good look for a tourist town, especially when the dogs get into it.
Tonight the usual suspects went out again and I had a salmon with Arctic crab in a cream sauce. Tasty, but too rich.
17th December – Second of two days in Ushuaia.
Today Roffie, Scott and I went on a boat cruise up the Beagle Channel.
Last nights pouring rain fell as snow just a few metres higher and the mountains around Ushuaia were covered in fresh snow. Very beautiful.
Read this sign closely, particularly the second paragraph. Very funny if you're not an Argy. Down here, it's best not to mention you're a Pom.
Or this sign?
Looking back towards Ushuaia. The snowline is far below the treeline.
The trip took us along the international border between Chile and Argentina, with Argentina to our north and Chile to the south. It was raining on the Chilean mountains, but not on the Argy ones.
We visited a seal colony.
The main goal of our journey was a colony of Magellanic Penguins. They were energetic and comical and fun to watch. Curious, they wandered right up to us as if to say, ‘Who are you?’
Again we got lucky as although it was overcast, it didn’t rain all day. It still made for a very dramatic sky and mountains.
I found out why there were piles of rubbish all over town. The main street was blockaded this afternoon by trucks whose drivers were lending their support for the garbos who were striking for better pay. They had piles of pallets burning and an asado cooking.
Tonight the final few of the usual suspects still left in town went out for an assado/BBQ dinner. Pork, beef, chorizo and morcilla (black pudding) all graced my plate. I’ll miss the Argentinian asados. It’s the best food they do.
Icecream for dessert.
Can you believe this is about 10pm? If it's not overcast it never really gets completely dark at night.
Getting back to the hotel by taxi was made tricky by multiple roadblocks by the striking workers, but we got there.
18th December – Beginning my journey home.
I Skyped Erin for the last time and we worked out I would be home in 48 hours. Not a short journey!
Not knowing what was happening with the striking workers, I went extra early to the airport in case they’d blocked the road and I had to walk the last bit. They appeared to have ended it as even the main street was now clear of trucks and bonfires. My good-bye to Ushuaia was soured by a taxi driver trying to rip me off by charging more for my bike box. (Yet if I'd filled his cab with 4 passengers, that's no extra charge.) He knocked my hat off and waved his fist at me and threatened to punch me if I didn’t pay his made up additional fare. I paid the right amount and got out. He then threw my bags out. Why do taxis the world over attract unsavoury characters? I noticed that the cabs in Ushuaia all have a sign next to the meter that states, in Spanish and English, that the displayed fare is in pesos not dollars, a difference of 5 times. It tells me that they’d been telling tourists to pay in dollars and ripping them off.
My flight this afternoon is to Buenos Aires, then I have an overnight stop before leaving for Santiago early tomorrow. Then it’s to Sydney and on to Perth. I leave Ushuaia lunchtime on Tuesday and get home at 9:30pm on Thursday. 25 hours of flying over 2.5 days.
The BA Sohotel hotel and room is beautiful. With all the offered facilities and location, it’s a shame I’m not here longer to enjoy it.
There are a few of us in BA, so the 4 ‘usual suspects’, being Michelle, Tamsin, Adrian and I met up for drinks and dinner. We were joined by two crew members Richard and Jaap. Drinks were had first in our hotel lobby restaurant and then we went out and found somewhere for dinner. We didn’t place our order until after 10:30, but that’s nothing strange for the Argys. I had an excellent steak as my final meal in Argentina, so it ended well.
We had an excellent last night out together, but, maybe I shouldn’t have stayed up so late as I’m in a cab to the airport at 6am tomorrow.
BA to Santiago, Santiago to Sydney and then Sydney to home in Perth.
Here's me at Sydney airport.