Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sydney - Buenos Aires - Ushuaia

Buenos Aires was very hot and sweaty after our 13 hour sleepless flight. We wandered the streets trying to stay out of the sun and loitering in any air conditioned shops we could find. These were our largely unsuccessful attempts to stay awake and stave off jet lag. Dinner was al-fresco opposite the impressive burial district, where grand mausoleums poked their spires ever higher in a morbid race with keeping up with the Joneses. We innocently ordering steaks that could have been led to the table with a ring through their noses and climbed, whole, onto the plate.

Another 3 hour flight had us in Ushuaia - a frontier tourist town and landing place for Antarctic cruise-goers. It’s so far south that this time of year it doesn‘t get dark until 11:30 and light again at 3:30. Wandered the town and discovered that the local economy relies not on tourism, fishing or farming but on the sales of penguin memorabilia in all its forms - must…be…strong…

Met up with Ee Fu and Damian, Vicki and Richard, fellow hot rockers and hiked to the local glacier, Martial Glacier, for spectacular views of the glacier on one side and over the bay on the other.

We abandoned our hotel and last real bed for many months by heading to the campsite on New Year’s Eve. We were eagerly awaiting the truck’s arrival and the remainder of the Hot Rockers for this leg.

 We headed back to town for some last minute shopping when we ran into the truck crew and got a lift back - our first time in Ernie which will be our home for the next 7 months!

Ernie is a newer, more conventional truck than Birt. This is Ernie’s first trip with Hot Rock so we have a mechanic onboard, Simon, to iron out all the problems. From first glimpses, Simon is going to be busy over this tip. Ernie has significantly less storage space than Birt. No huge external lockers, only small lockers under the seats.

Chances are, we’ll be swimming in gear with the 12 Hot Rockers on this leg and drowning when we get up to the maximum of 25. We will find out when we make our first move out of Ushuaia in a few days time.

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