Almost packed Its us and a few more people with 50 lbs luggage and ski gear who will be traveling south.
Today is THE day. The ship that will carry us across the Drake passage and that will serve as our base camp for the next 12 days is docked in the harbor right next to container ships. Bags are packed and we have checked out of the hotel. In 12 days, when we once again will check in to this same hotel ,we will be different. We will have been across the infamous Drake passage twice and will have spent 6 days in Antarctica. Superstition stops me from anticipating. I am grateful for the moment and acutely aware that once I step onboard this ship I am literally along for the ride - no pause button, no rewind. Until this moment we have about 5 hours to roam in town. So we roam.
We walk along the shore. It's a mix of neglected and industrial waterfront with an idyllic backdrop. We find horses and dogs hanging out on the beach and then discover the neighborhood sewage pipe entering the ocean - no swimming here.
Never mind your lungs
We walk along the shore in the opposite direction, toward the airport. Here we find a dead rat and lots of trash on the shore amidst copious amounts of mussels and seaweed. Along the main road back into Ushuaia we discover an outdoor gym - or rather exercise playground next to a kids playground and the fenced in dying tree that looks like a white Pine. We decide that this is the Botanical garden of the area. All three places are fenced in on traffic islands surrounded by the main roads leading in and out of Ushuaia.
This Pine tree will not escape
Well guarded road to the end of the world.
The giddiness increases as we gather in the hotel across the pier to board a bus that will take us across the street to another bus that will take us to the pier that is about three bus lengths away from the bus. I decide that this must be an intentional part of a ritual that highlights how far away Antarctica really is. You really really really have to want to go there. It takes perseverance to get to the place that doesn't even make it onto most world maps.