The City at the Bottom of the World


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South America » Argentina » Tierra del Fuego » Ushuaia
December 18th 2013
Published: December 18th 2013
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Hola todo el mundo! Del fin del mundo!

A blog by Dave...

Where am I? You may ask...

I´m in Ushuaia... The world´s most southerly city. At latitude 54S, it´s almost as far south as our home in Churchill is north! It´s the start of summer down here, there's almost no end of daylight and the weather is pleasant (although it changes by the minute).

It was a fair bit of flying to get down here, and when I arrived after 40 some hours of being awake I should´ve been ready to sleep... However, I was wired! I did not sleep well that first night... I don´t know why... It was bright and sunny outside at 22:00 hrs and I didn´t feel tired in the least bit. It was really strange, my eyes were experiencing rapid movements as if I was in full REM sleep, and I had some strange halucination-like memories and visions...

I was in Ushuaia in March 2003 for very different reasons and I have a few faded memories of the place... Some of these old memories emerged extremely vividly from the depths of my unconcious mind and they seemed to be a type of halucination... I cannot explain it! They weren´t memories they were something else? It was as if I had somehow accessed a part of my brain that normally cannot be accessed! It was like having Aspergers for a few minutes! Did I see and experience life like someone with synesthesia? When I was at the airport I could hear conversations in French. I could not understand these but I could hear everyword perfectly. I could see the pages of my guide book (even though it was in my bag)... I could see the pages so clearly, that I could remember the taxi company´s phone number, the exact address of my hostel including the postal code! I could recite entire passages from the guide book. All the information was on a holographic screen in front of me... I could taste a brand of beer, and I could read the label on it and see the expiry date... It sounds totally crazy but I could feel the emotions of the people around me, and I could feel the textures and emotions of all the inanimate objects I could see... There were more things going on in my head but they are really tricky to even explain yet alone write about... There was a funny flashback though... I was hearing conversations that I´d had over a decade ago.. Word for word... We were playing the Spanish version of Monopoly (me and some other travellers at the hostel at the time), I did not know the Spanish word for "dice" so I asked for "los cubos del numeros". We all laughed as they passed me the "number cubes"... My nickname for the next few days was "Cubos"... Fun times... This memory came with every detail including the names of the people, their ages, nationality, facial expressions and what colour clothes they were wearing... I could describe in detail every aspect of all of my surroundings... It was amazing yet terrifying...

I have a better understanding about how hypnotism may work and how soothsaying may be an ability we all have.

Anyway, my mind has settled and all is good... But those few minutes at Ushuaia airport were truly phenomenal. It may have seemed longer, but my mind was doing that likely for only a minute or so...Wow... What is the true capability of our minds.?

...ABOUT USHUAIA...

The town has grown considerably in the past 11 years and things are a lot more commercialized, and nobody has heard of a fellow named "Cubos". Things are a lot pricier too! Eleven years ago was the year that the Argentinian peso devalued and collapsed. I remember doing the conversions in my head and laughing at how ridiculously cheap everything was... Not now though... You do the conversion then cry! Well it´s not that bad, but I spend in a day what used to last me a week.

On my first full day here at this incredible part of the planet, I hiked in the fabulous Tierra del Fuego National Park, it was gorgeous and stunningly beautiful. I hiked for about 15 km, a lot of those clicks were with a New Zealand couple I met on the trail... It was great to be amongst the trees and in the mountains. Over the next few days the three of us explored a fair chuck of the immediate area around southern Tierra del Fuego - it was stunning!

...MATÉ...

The Argentinos love drinking yerba maté (a type of tea). It is drank from a small wooden cup through a straw called a bombilla. It is a social drink and the cup is passed around for all to drink from. I have been drinking it in the mornings and it is a very flavoursome way to begin the day! When I travelled in Argentina all those moons ago I had my yerba and thermos at close hand... This reminds me of a funny story on a completely different continent..

...FUNNY YERBA MATE STORY...

In late 2003 I sat in a city park in Capetown, South Africa drinking yerba maté... A completely foreign concept on the African continent... A guy (seemingly intoxicated) staggered towards me and asked if he could try some. “Sure”, I said...

He grabbed the cup, shoved the bombilla up his nose, then inhaled and snorted the boiling tea up his nose!! Yes!

There was a very awkward silence.

I’ll give him credit though - he stood there in silence for a few seconds as tears built in his eyes. He just said "thanks my friend"... I am sure he was not expecting that - neither was !

I bet it hurt...

Lots!

...DOWN BY THE WATERFRONT...

I was standing out by the waterfront looking towards the last of the mighty Andean peaks. "This is the end of the world" I thought... The unbroken chain of towering peaks that started in northern Canada and the U.S. state of Alaska come to an abrupt halt as they are consumed by the much feared Southern Ocean...

However, Ushuaia may market itself as Fin Del Mundo (End of the World) but these mighty Andean peaks re-emerge from the depths of the world´s stormiest ocean. They continue to impress the few who make the 600 mile trip to the the world´s most remote continent...

The Antarctic. A mighty ice continent at the real bottom of the world...

I will be leaving Ushuaia today and heading in that direction... But there´ll be a couple of stops en-route...

Stay tuned...

Hasta la proxima...

Meanwhile in Canada... What´s up Theresa? Is it cold there?

D.


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The pass near UshuaiaThe pass near Ushuaia
The pass near Ushuaia

Ushuaia is the only town in Argentina on the 'other side' of the Andes.


18th December 2013

Hello Dave, Great to hear from you. It sounds like quite the adventure you are having both physically and cerebrally! Lay off the yerba mate! :) Looking forward to your next installment....I am in Burlington for the holidays and the main activity here seems to be shoveling snow! Talk to you soon. HM
19th December 2013

We're looking forward to your Antarctica blogs...
if you find any TB spammers there, and there is a lot of spam originating there, tell them to stop spamming our site! They will likely speak Turkish. Anyway, Linda is trying to talk me into driving north as far as we can...Inuvik in the far north of Northwest Territories...north of Dawson. Have you ever made that trip, and if so what advice do you have to offer?
19th December 2013

Hello Dave, Wow that was some experience you had in the airport. When I first started reading it I thought deja vu but I agree some part of your brain was accessed. I'll have Jim read this. He'll appreciate the S.Africa yerba mate story. Good luck and hope you meet up with Theresa safe. Sherry and family

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