War and Peace In Ushuaia, Argentina

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January 28th 2008
Published: January 29th 2008
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It’s been a confusing month for me. The simplest and most direct questions on immigration forms trigger an identity crisis of sorts. For example, on a recent flight back to the United States for Christmas I couldn’t decipher if I was returning to the U.S. after some time spent in Chile OR if I was visiting the U.S. on vacation from Chile. It turned out to be the latter. As insignificant as this information seems it can get you in a lot of trouble if you cannot remember where you live!

Identity crisis aside, one week ago I removed the U.S. dollars from my wallet and replaced them once again with Chilean and Argentinian Pesos, grabbed my U.S. passport and Chilean Identity Card and made my way to the airport to tackle yet another confusing immigration form. I was having a Jason Bourne moment but without the danger of being followed and killed... oh and all of my ID cards have the same name... and I did not have to visit a safety deposit box to do the pickup... well, it felt like a Jason Bourne moment at the time.

Six hours later I landed here in Ushuaia, Argentina, where the motto “El Fin de Mundo” (World's End) is shared by at least two other towns in Chile and Argentina. Since Ushuaia is the loudest with their claims to being the southernmost inhabited city, meaning they had the most bumper stickers, t-shirts, and other touristy stuff printed with the logo, it must be so. But I did not arrive here in Ushuaia simply to stock up on t-shirts. I am actually doing my best at distracting myself for a few more days until I leave on a boat for a 10-day trip around the Antarctic Peninsula. Believe it or not, Antarctica is now accessible to backpackers like me by means of "last minute" discount fares. Still quite pricey, but if you have the time and are comfortable with some degree of uncertainty for a period of a few days, you can arrive in Ushuaia and try your luck obtaining one of these spots.

With that goal in mind I arrived here on the 20th of January. The next day I was able to book my trip to leave on the 31st. And what does one do in Ushuaia while anxiously waiting to depart for Antarctica? Well, in anticipation of this long wait I carried along with me a few classic novels. I began, and finished, an abridged version of War and Peace. Quite a lengthy and trusty companion was Tolstoy for carrying me through the majority of my wait. I have also spent a lot of time watching ships come in and out of the port, took a trip to the museum to read about the history of the former prison and expeditions to Antarctica, and have been trying to stretch my legs as much as possible with trips to Tierra de Fuego National Park and the local Martial Glacier. All simply great and beautiful distractions.

Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


Parque Nacional Tierra del FuegoParque Nacional Tierra del Fuego
Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego

View of Chilean Patagonia from Argentinian Patagonia

Typical flowers of this region
View from the top of ski hillView from the top of ski hill
View from the top of ski hill

This was just the beginning of this hike. I only continued because of the promise that it would be flat later on.
Trek to the Martial GlacierTrek to the Martial Glacier
Trek to the Martial Glacier

I opted for the trek in place of the chairlift.

29th January 2008

So good to hear from you again
Sara - I am so excited you wrote on your blog again. I hadn't seen an update from you in some time so I was hoping everything was okay. Do you have any plans to come back to Colorado? How much longer will you be traveling?
29th January 2008

I'm glad we finally heard from you
Sarah, We were so worried about you when we hadn't heard from you in awhile. I am very envious of you. I went to Punta Arenas many years ago. Are you close to that town? It was not much of a town at that time. We left town and just a little ways out of town we came across a huge walrus on the side of the road. He let us know is no uncertain terms that we were not welcome anywhere near him. But I sure did get some great pics of him. So, are you close to Punta Arenas? I loved Tierra del Fuego. It was beautiful. Have a wonderful time. Esther
30th January 2008

Hi from WI
Hi Sara, I just showed Grandpa your pictures on the computer. We now have high speed internet at the farm!!!! We both enjoyed your blog as usual. I wish that we could be in short sleeves here. It is 25 degrees below 0 wind chill. Shermie is cuddled up in his cat cave. He said to say hello. Enjoy your trip to Antartica. Remember to wear your "special clothes" when you visit the penquins. Love you XOXO from both of us. BABY DUCKS.
30th January 2008

What is wrong with this picture?
Wow... what an adventure you are having! While I am traveling next week to Naples (should I mention that they are in the middle of a contentious and smelly garbage workers' strike?), you are traveling the the end of the World! What is wrong with this picture? Wanna trade? It was good seeing you at NCMS, although it was way too short and I was too busy to spend the time with you I would have liked.
30th January 2008

Cousin Sara!!
Has it been an entire year since we have had a travel blog from you? I hope this is the start of many more to come. I love reading these.....such a far cry from dirty diapers, runny noses, and playing Hi-Ho-Cherry-O ;-) Love being a Mom......but it is SO fun to escape and hear about your exciting life. Sorry we missed you over the holidays. Miss you!!
31st January 2008

Love the Blog
Sara, As usual, your blog is so interesting to read, and the pictures are beautiful. I only wish my flowers were in blossom! Another cold day in Wisconsin. School was cancelled yesterday. Take care and we will see you in a couple of months. Love you! Nancy
31st January 2008

Hey there lady, I am so glad you are having a great time and identity crisis aside, you look great!!!! Don't know if you got my last email, but we are expecting again-end of April a little whoops would explain the quickness. We are enjoying the new house we built and I am wishing you were here to share in this lovely weather-we sure are good at shoveling:) (got lots of practice at the downing house). I miss you and love you lots. Keep trecking, it seems to be your calling.
3rd February 2008

To the peninsula
SARA! it's great to be on your mailing list... These snapshots keep me going through the minus 20°F weather in North Pole, while we wait for spring. It almost goes without saying that I'm jealous of your travels and adventures. Do keep sending updates! Married life is great. Christine says hi! as does our parotlet, Gatsby. --David
4th February 2008

Good for you...
I was wondering what you were up to! Once again, what beautiful pictures! I continue to view South America through your eyes. Thank you. Have a great time on your trip to Antartica. That just sounds crazy to even say. Take care of yourself and take lots of pix. Love, Cari
10th February 2008

Hi Sara...by now you've returned from Antarctica...to where I do not know. Your travels are so inspiring, your pictures are breathtaking, and your blog a joy to read. Am doing a little travel writing myself, but haven't had any GREAT ADVENTURES as of yet. In the meantime, I'll just live vicariously through you...Take gentle care of yourself...
21st February 2008

From Africa to Argentina
Hey Sara - While you were in Antarctica, I was in Africa having my picture taken at the southern-most tip of Africa at the Cape of Good Hope! I looked across the ocean toward Antarctica - I should have waved at you! Keep me on your list - your pictures are beautiful and I love to hear and see your adventures. Stay safe.
29th February 2008

To the ends of the world?
Sara- it is hard to believe that many people share the vast experiences you have had- perhaps, someday, you will share them in formal writing! What people miss by not travelling is not only the beauty of our little planet, but the exhiliration and sense of life as it was meant to be. Your pixs are beautiful. It is hard not to want to book a ticket..... Hope to see you when you return. Ulmaa and Alex head to Mongolia in late May(another great place to be). Peace.

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