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Published: January 12th 2013
Like a bat out of hell I was supposed to be gone when the morning came, but alas, I slept through my alarm and woke up three hours late. Not a great start to my Antarctic adventure, but then, this is why I booked an extra day to get down there - phew!
Yes, my last night at the hostel in Santiago was a little later than expected. A great BBQ of chorizo sausages and very tasty chicken naturally went hand in hand with monton de cervezas (Google translate tells me this means "lot's of beers", which is largely accurate), and with some rum to finish things off there was really little chance of paying heed to my alarm; I awoke to find it clutched in my hand under my pillow. Thankfully the airline was most understanding and rescheduled my flight so all was not lost. This did mean an overnight stop in Buenos Aires airport however, where I didn't dare to go to sleep for fear of missing another flight, and this lack of sleep, coupled with not enough water intake and self-induced paranoia about said flight, plus the continuing hangover and sheer heat of the place, left me
feeling slightly more disgusting than the time I farted too hard in my sleep and woke up stuck to the bed sheets (sorry Mum)... not cool.
All was forgotten in an instant landing in Ushuaia, the Southern most city in the world. It is an awesome place, with mountains on most sides and the Beagle Channel right on the doorstep. Our ship is in the harbour, red and white and almost ready to take us to The Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula. I can't quite believe I am here and am getting on it tomorrow. Nor can I quite believe I have booked one night sleeping in a tent on Antarctica - oh yes!
Prior to leaving Santiago I did a 17km hike up to a small lagoon and inland glacier (the glacier, to be honest, was not impressive, but still worth the chafing of boxers on upper thighs in the heat), and today in Ushuaia I went on a narrow gauge steam train that used the same tracks as were once used to ferry prisoners from the prison here to cut trees for various building projects. Not a bad place to be put to work,
as the trees are within what is now a national park and it is pretty stunning scenery. It is also cold here, like a ski resort kind of cold, but it is actually quite welcome after so much recent hot weather - but no doubt I shall be longing for the heat after this trip...
Although the boat does have internet access, I shall not be partaking, so I should be able to update you all in about three weeks - I get back to civilisation on the 30th, provided there are no Titanic inspired moments onboard... As in icebergs, not as in painting some English lady like one of my French girls and being a tit at the front of the boat when it is clearly cold enough to freeze your jewels into walnuts and a cocktail stick.
I bid you auf wiedersehen for now, which is weird as I'm not in Germany.
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