I met this guy. In October. Why else would someone go to the end of the world? It is beautiful here. That would be the other reason. He invited me to come. He had to see how I would react to being here. So I came. I also wanted to see another part of Argentina. This is after all my new adopted country.
I left Buenos Aires, a sweltering Turkish Bath, to go to the opposite. Ushuaia is in the Antarctica. Although I don’t like cold weather, it would be a welcome relief from the horrible summer of Buenos Aires. This year has been one of the worst on record.
The best way to get to Ushuaia is on Aerolineas Argentina. One of the world’s worst airlines. I would like to be proud of them, but it is impossible. Every time I fly them it is a disaster. What can you say about an airline that loses a million dollars a day? That is closed on Sundays? That doesn’t open until 9:30 am? Not much.
My trip started with a 4.5 hour delay by my favorite airline. They kept telling us we would be boarding “en 10 minutos.” The Argentine version of the Mexican minute. Only worse. My friend kept calling me. He had taken most of the day off to be with me and here I was running 4 hours late.
When I finally got to Ushuaia he was happy to see me. The day was sunny which is not usual for Ushuaia. Mostly it is cloudy and overcast. He took me on a short tour of the downtown – all 2 blocks and the port. Then we had lunch.
I was lucky, for the short time we were together I was treated to a private tour of the island. It is a magnificent place. In many ways it reminds me of Marin and Sonoma counties rolled into one. Along with the climate I felt at home in a very strange way. All the aches in my body were gone. I could breathe. The air is clean, pure, and fresh.
My friend however, I think, was in shock to see this city girl in his own Ushuaia. My comments about how much it reminded me of California went over like a lead balloon. He found them threatening. The admiring looks I got in Buenos Aires made him proud. Here they made him nervous.
In 60 hours he had us living together, married, and divorced. I got so tired of hearing about how I was going to dump him, I finally did. On Sunday morning I demanded he take me to a hotel in the city. I would rather be on my own than to hear about the demise of a relationship that had barely gotten started. Imagine, in Buenos Aires, the men always dump the women, here I got to dump the man! Weird. Not that I was so happy about it, it was just crazy.
My brother Gustavo describes Ushuaia as place with nothing to do except casinos and whore houses. He says it is a good place to visit once a year if you have a lover there. Well, I don’t know about the whore houses, there are casinos, but I really wasn’t interested in them. As for the last, well, I might be inclined to agree with him. I wanted to see the things I had not seen.
I went to the port to check out the tours. Here it is Sunday, and most of the kiosks were closed. I talked to the ones that were opened. I walked back up to the city and went to the tourist information center and talked to them. They gave me some maps and more information.
In the afternoon I decided that I wanted to take the boat tour that would take me around the island. It was the one that was the most extensive, plus we could get out and walk.
Actually it was not around the island per se. It goes out to the light house. This light house is the farthest south. If I understood correctly it is no longer used. We went to where the sea lions were, and the birds. It was spectacular. I can honestly say the views were mind blowing.
Normally I hate boats and boat rides, but this one was wonderful. I loved every minute of it. Our group was also very good. We were a mix of ages, Argentines, Americans, German, and French. Our tour guide was from Buenos Aires and very good. I forgave her for saying Villa Malcom was a traditional milonga.
I was the only person who was there alone. This of course attracts attention. I met some really nice Argentine women traveling together and some American girls who were coming to Buenos Aires to study. I spent some time drinking mate with the Captain and his sailor.
At one point we docked at an island and walked around. Our guide explained the flora which was exquisite. The views were amazing. You could see the straits, the cordillera de los Andes. The air was crystal clear and you could see for miles. From here we came back to port.
I spent the rest of Sunday walking around, taking pictures and talking to people. There really is not all that much to do. People are nice. I talked to the young man at my hotel desk. I asked his opinion about some of the tourist stuff. He was the best because he gave me an honest opinion. I ruled out most of the things to do.
Today Monday I wanted to go to see the penguins. There was no space. I have to do that in the morning tomorrow before I leave. So today I decided to go to the museums. How do you spell boring? You only need to do 1 museum and that is the Presidio. All the other museums have the same information. The best part was taking streets that I had not walked before to get there, and the strange looks from people as I walked. My sweater coat is patches of many different colors. Not exactly something you see everyday.
After a bunch of museums that all seemed to have the same thing I decided to take a break and just hang out. So here I am. Blogging. Tomorrow is my last day here. I will go to the penguins. I am taking a land tour that will allow me an hour to walk around and hang out with them.
I have tons of pictures. I can’t wait to take pictures of the penguins. They are going to be the highlight of my trip.