Southernmost city in the world............check

Trip Start Dec 21, 2009
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Trip End Jul 17, 2010


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Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Saturday, March 27, 2010

We packed and left Parque National Torres del Paine to start heading towards Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Ushuaia's claim to fame is that it’s the southernmost city in the world, and that’s really about it. If you want to head to Antarctica on a boat, then this is the city to do it in, other than that there’s nothing particularly special about the city. The weather was rainy and you know it’s cold when the weather forecast is for a low of 4 and a high of 6. We headed out on a day tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park and it was so cold that my memories of what we actually saw are scattered at best. There was a beaver dam and some spots where the indigenous people of the area lived some time ago. Apparently they covered themselves in seal fat in the winter. I only remember that last fact because my arse was so frozen that if someone offered me dead seal fat to wear, I would have paid them for the pleasure.

The next day was spent driving and crossing the border yet again, from Argentina to Chile and back again to Argentina. Believe it or not, the only way to get to Ushuaia (an Argentinean city) overland is to go through Chile. We crossed the border so many times that we lost count how many times we had to fill in paperwork for each side. The Chileans have a very annoying rule about plant material so every time we go from Argentina to Chile, we have to make sure that all fresh fruit and vegies are consumed or binned. That night we made camp next to a collapsed volcano which was pretty special. One of the cool things with being on an overland truck is that we can set up camp wherever we want and sometimes, we luck out and find the odd collapsed volcano to camp next to. Sometimes it’s a dead sheep’s carcass that we didn’t know was there. (True story. A few days after the collapsed volcano, we made camp next to a dead sheep’s carcass because we set up camp in the dark and found a little surprise next to our tent the next morning)

The next couple of days were spent heading north with nothing much to write about except truck problems. We’d stop every once in a while to fix a recour or highrange/lowrange something. The morale of the truck was still good. If our leaders weren’t too stressed, then neither were we. I think psychologically turning the corner at Ushuaia and heading north lightened the mood of the truck significantly. Every kilometre north had to be closer to the equator right? Surely it would be a matter of time until the sun actually came out and provided warmth instead of just light. I’m sure I read it in some book somewhere.

Geek Peek: I remember my first blog entry I promised that I would provide peeks into some of the stuff we brought with us for this trip. It’s been quite a while since I did one and this time I wanted to concentrate on the digital watch that I brought along for this trip. It’s been a superstar for us as we’ve criss crossed the continent. The boys at my old work will know it as the unforgiving time master of our legendary stair sprints in North Sydney (the Stairway to Hell), always keeping the painful 4 minute intervals.

It’s been with me for a long time and I wanted to bring along a watch that I was OK handing over in a mugging. It’s scratched up to buggery but it’s got analog and digital displays, stopwatch, dual time (so I always know what time it is in Australia), 6 alarms (one with a snooze function when we’re feeling like a lie in) and a countdown function. It’s got a nice backlight function so we can use it at night or when we’re diving. What can I say, it's digital, it's geeky. Only thing geekier is if I had one of those calculator watches. Glad to say I have a travel calculator in my camera bag thanks. Tragic.

Thus concludes what I would call one of our most bland blog updates. In our next blog update, we head to Bariloche, Argentina’s chocolate capital and cycle 37kms in an effort to earn ourselves some fat credits for Easter chocolate.
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