Saturday, December 24, 2005
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Monday, December 19, 2005
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Imagine: Complete silence, peace, beauty, colour formed within thousands of years of ice, patterns and formations that take a form and change within minutes. It is impossible for me to find the words to describe the beauty of the trip between the iceburgs and to convey the feeling that they give, but a few pictures might help.
Monday, November 28, 2005
My family here in Ushuaia, La Ciudad Del Fin Del Mundo.
Marie, who cooks delicious bread for breakfast, changes the towels almost before you are out of the shower and changes the bed either while you are in the shower or eating too much bread at breakfast! Amanda, the beautiful hostess of Finis Terrae, the Bed & Breakfast, principal of Finis Terrae the spanish school www.spanishpatagonia.com , my teacher and friend, fluent in Italian and French and believe it or not a grandmother! Ana, my other Spanish teacher and friend, who cracks the whip in class and speaks far more English than she will admit to in class and finally Exequiel, the VERY hard working host of Finis Terrae who never stops. I have finally learned to pronounce his name, but when he throws 3 sentences at me in rapid Spanish, with some English in there as well - I stand there with my mouth open and he just shakes his head. Exequiel is fanatical about customer service and as hosts he and Amanda are wonderful, I have always felt at home in their home and with all the people coming and going I don't know how they keep going, but they do and always with a smile.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Anyway enough of that - had some hand washing to do, and there just isn´t a sink big enough in the B&B - so what else would you use? Found a plug to the small handbasin - very small, in fact only large enough for very small smalls or small hands; discovered it fitted the bidet and there you go - handwashing done in next to no time. I did have to kneel on the floor, but other than that slight discomfort all worked very well. Warm water flowed, had to adjust the taps so the fountain didn´t work and all was washed and rinsed with ease. The washing is now hanging around the room hopefully drying to squash into the case to head further south next week.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
My home here in Ushuaia, Finis Terrae, Spanish School and B&B, an absoultely delightful place just minutes from the centre of Ushuaia. Have at look at www.finisterraeushuaia.com.ar It is operated by a wonderful couple, Exequiel ( I still have trouble with the pronunciation) and Amanda and nothing is too much trouble for them, they are perfect hosts. Amanda is my Spanish teacher,( one of them, I actually have two,) and runs the school here. You can check it out at http://www.spanishpatagonia.com Amanda and Anna are pushing me hard in my Spanish - just what I need and I find my comprehension and conversation improve by the day, but I must admit there are times when I wonder why I am doing this. My class is from 4.00 to 8.00 in the afternoons and yesterday included a visit to a museum and coffee in the centre.
Ushuaia is a beautiful city and has more than doubled it´s size and population in the last 10 years. There is a concerted effort to attract tourists and the city gears itself more all the time for the tourist trade. The houses are beautiful and there is construction everywhere with new houses pushing the city out all the time. Although there are many poorer suburbs and certainly smaller houses, I am told that there usually is plenty of money and that it is the way that the owners choose to live. But more on that later.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
The city is not large, particularly compared to many in South America, but is charming, colourful and so very friendly. It is certainly geared up for the tourists and although there are many it is not as overwhelmingly touristy as Iguazu was.
The city is situated along the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by snow capped mountains with glaciers glistening in the sunshine and with the exception of the day I arrived - it was blowing a gale- the water has been so calm that the mountains and houses are reflected in the waters.
Many of the buildings are very old and have been preserved beautifully often very colourfully and generally the city is very clean. This week there have been workers everwhere planting out the spring flowers so it becomes more colourful by the day.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Friday, November 11, 2005
We travelled out to the National Park on the first bus, as the town is full of tourists and everything very busy and I am not into crowçds. As so much was closed, we decided to do the river adventure and didn´t regret it for one moment, what a buzz!. The trip begins with a guided drive through the rainforest in the open back of a large 4 wheel drive truck, a journey of about 1/2 hour, then it´s onto the boats and the fast flowing, and very full river. One suspects just how wet one might get when you see the driver and assistant head to toe in very sturdy wet weather gear. The passengers are supplied with a large waterproof bag in which to store cameras and anything they wish to keep dry, then it´s off up river , over the rapids to the falls. After a short stop in relatively calm water for a brief photo session the driver warns all to ¨protect the cameras¨ and then heads straight into the base of the falls. Very spectacular driving took us in and out of the lower area of several of the falls, with lots of sharp turns, just to add more water to the scene. Needless to say a lot of water flows over the occupants of the boats. The water is also very full of topsoil at present after the rains - so right down to the underwear everything turned a rather rusty brown. I felt really at home, it was just like my Central Australian washing. The driver obviously loved his job and took little convincing to take a few more runs into the deluge. Catherine and I were invited to stand in the back beside the driver, so our ride was fantastic. I had a throw away underwater camera, so we have some great shots to go with it.
Thank goodness we had been forwarned and had a change of clothes, so after a quick change on the river bank it was off to view the falls from above. A wonderful, and exhausting day.
Friday, November 04, 2005
At the moment I am in the process of trying to fit it all into the suitcase - I need the warm, warm gear for the Antartic and Ushuaia and the summer gear for Buenos Aires and the north of the country - and as many of you know I have problems with expanding luggage and whoever it is who insists on packing the rocks into my case every time I stop. At present it looks good but by Monday????
Thursday, November 03, 2005
After more than a year of house sitting, yes a year, hard to believe, but it was election day last year that I arrived in Sydney to begin and a week ago on Sunday that I arrived back from Sydney. In that year I spent almost 7 1/2 months in Sydney, 2 months in Melbourne and a month in Nelson New Zealand - all house sitting and it seems to be becoming clear that that is the direction my life is taking. Not that I mind I have throughly enjoyed it, with only a few minor inconveniences - Tiger the cat bowled by a car the night before Lynne & Chris arrived home (at 16 he is still going strong), the large tree branch that came down across the backyard, the fence and the neighbouring drive two days before I was due to leave. The fun thing about that one was that it was a block of 7 units and all the cars were parked on the wrong side of the mess and at 7.00am no-one was impressed. And the minor inconvenience of the BMW in Nelson having a computer glitch that took out the central locking and the electric windows, but thank goodness the air con still functioned so we could breathe.
I had lots of visitors during my house sits, Brian,Lothar and Cas in Sydney, Lynne and Chris in Melbourne and my sister Pam in New Zealand and met lots of new friends and found Spanish classes all along the way.
My poor Gypsy wagon has been a little neglected during that time, other than brief journeys to Sydney and Bendigo, where it is now safely tucked up for the next couple of months with Cas. Thoughts are circulating and I am seriously considering letting her move on to her next adventure with a new owner. We have had a great time together, but I think it is time for both to move on. More on that one later.