Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ushuaia, Argentina 31 Jan-3 Feb 2012

Ushuaia is commonly known as the southernmost city of the world, and the entry point to Antarctica. It is also the most expensive place to visit as well. It took us 10.5 hours to arrive from Punta Arenas. The cold fresh air welcomes us as we stepped out of the bus. Isn’t it summer now? Quickly we found our hostel. It was warm and comfortable inside, I’ve decided to stay in to eat cup noodle for dinner. All the hostel were fully booked tonight, lucky for us, I’ve made a reservation, later I found out that a cruise is leaving to Antarctica the next day, that’s why all the hostels are full. Last minute spots are available at US$4550 for a quad shared 10 days cruise. I wasn’t keen and it was not in my plan as this amount of money will cut my trip short for 3 months. Maybe as all the other senior people in town, I will do it when I am 60. It will be my next target to achieve. :-)

Next morning we went to sort out our ticket out of Ushuaia, there are only 2 options to get to El Calafate, by flight which cost US$223 (2 hours) or by bus which cost US$120 (20 hours) I chose the cheapest option, Inge and Marga chose to fly. We also went to the Tourist information center to get our stamp of “The Southernmost City of The World” on our passport. Thought my passport is running out of pages, I still managed to squeeze it in. :-) Yeah, now I have collected a stamp from “Mitad Del Mundo” which means Middle of the World. I wonder is there one for The Northernmost City of The World? Where is it?

Glacier Martial

Once this is done, we went to Glacier Martial just at the backyard of the city. We took a cab to the Ski lift station at 385m, from there we trek up to the glacier at 1000m. It was a breeze after all the trekking in Torres del Paine. The weather was nice with passing cloud, it was snowing lightly up there, I was so happy screaming around! :-D In local dialect we call it “Suang Gu” literally means a tortoise from the mountain who has never seen anything. We only reached the ending point of the glacier as we had no proper equipment to climb further, we had a great view of Ushuaia and Port Williams across the Beagle Strait. It was an amazing moment to feel the ice on the glacier, something that has been growing for thousands of years and to drink from the glacier, nothing can be more pure then glacier water.

Port Williams

The wind here like anywhere else in Pantagonia can really blow you away. As I walked across the crossway to the Navy base, I almost got blow away. :-) From the Navy base, I had a great view of the city with the backdrop of the glacier and mountains behind it. It was truly beautiful. I was glad I made it here to the end of the world. It was an emotional moment.

On the last night here, Giovanni arrived from Punta Arenas, it was my turn to cook a meal. I promised to make a Chinese Malaysian meal, first I wanted to make curry but I couldn’t find coconut milk or curry powder or neither ginger. At the end, I made my mom’s specialty-meat balls. It was my first time making it by myself, but it wasn’t bad at all. When Inge and Marga fight for the last meat ball on the plate, it reminds me of how my brothers and I used to fight for the last one on the table as well. :-) Over this 8.5 months trip, I have cooked more than I have done it back home. Maybe when I get back I will like cooking more but you never know, food is so cheap in Asia.

So here we are again saying good bye for another time. I left with the 5am bus, where else Inge and Marga will catch a 12pm flight and Giovanni will stay for 2 more nights in Ushuaia before heading to Puerto Eden. 

Yakush Hostel– AP90 for a 6 beds dorm with breakfast and wifi

Bus from Ushuaia to El Calafate – AP503
Taxi to Glacier Martial – AP30 shared by 3


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