“Hate the weather? wait five minutes” works in Colorado, but in Ushuaia, it’s on overdrive.
Barely off the proverbial boat, it rains, snows, and sunshines, all in the span of ten minutes, and we go from wearing fleeces, beanies, gloves, wind-breakers to wishing we were in tees.
At least Ushuaia is predictable in its unpredictability.
Now, our last day at the end of the world, we re-walk the steep town steps, leaving the main streets by the dock dwarfed by cruise ship vessel and tourists alike, Antarctica-hunters in town for the afternoon, set loose to swarm the overpriced tourist shops and purchase expedition packages, to the side streets that lounge ramshackle neighborhoods and stray-dog posses and garden oasis and the final climb to Andino.
This is a place with streets named Darwin and Patagonia and Magellen and not just for bells and whistles. For me, knowing this is a place where Darwin set foot, convinced the local people were a missing link of sorts to his evolutionary quest, sends tingles down my spine.
It’s impressive being here, not so much for the town’s inherent beauty–because, truth be told, it has pretty pockets with its blue bonnets and red bonnets but it is most definitely not a classic beauty–but more so for what it personifies, the spirit of the adventurer. Whether that pertains to those attracted to its duty free living, a means of keeping this sparsely supplied city moving and shaking, or to visitors like us curious to see what the most austral city in the world really looks like, drawn by the appeal of the extreme, just barely out of reach of the final frontier.
Seriously, Antarctica stretches only 1000 kilometers from here, truly nothing distance-wise when you’ve already covered most of the globe. Its call is ever-present, a low hum of a sea journey, just for a measly $5,000.
Not this time, I fear, but perhaps another, departing from Puerto Williams instead, for we hear the Chilean navy is a hair better equipped for rescues, so better to depart Chilean side than Argentinian side for a journey to the bottom of the globe, and, while we’re at it, sail through the islands on the Navmag and chill with some seriously rough and tumble sailor dudes.