Wednesday, January 31, 2007

It Finally Happened

A cruise ship ran aground in Antarctica. It was just a matter of time, as bigger boats are heading down every year, although this was a regular visitor. It is one of the big ones with 300 people on board, luckily there were no injuries and they managed move safely into refuge, but???

Monday, January 29, 2007

La Verdulería: Ushuaia 2007

La Verdulería :Ushuaia 2007
Originally uploaded by agypsy.
To my great delight, just before Christmas a new shop opened opposite mi casa, and best of all it was una Verdulería - a veggie shop. Being a vegetarian you can imagine my delight in a town of Asados - the local version of our barbie, the most popular being local lamb.Every weekend the suburbs disappear under a haze of smoke and the smell of cooking meat permeates all. Next door to La Verdulería está La Carnicería or butcher shop and on the other side is the La Quesería or cheese shop - so I have it all very close, not that I have visited the Carnicería! There are also 2 supermercados within 2 blocks. Don't need a car at all.
Today is fresh produce day, so all looks beautiful. Veggies here are usually pretty tired - a little like me. But with summer here there is some great fresh fruit and veggies, so, so far I am doin' ok

Friday, January 26, 2007

Un Poco Triste

Tonight I'm a little sad! I get like this sometimes and it takes a little time to talk myself out of it. Why am I sad? well there are lots of reasons and lots have surfaced this week. I guess if I really think about it I am blessed that someone has entered my life a pressed some buttons - seriously pressed my buttons - and I have had to address some deeply hidden issues. Haven't enjoyed it but know it has resulted in a big shift. Thank you my friend!!!!!!
Think I will just take to my bed with a good book and wake up with a smile tomorrow. It looks like it's back to summer here in Ushuaia, so ya gotta smile!!!!


Why is it that only we ex-colonials, or those that established the colonies, know how to queue - let alone spell it? Although in Australia queues are getting a little lost these days ....... .
Anyway here in Ushuaia, the queue doesn't exist but the number dispenser - often very well hidden - does. It usually takes we extranjeros at least a week to realise that you have to have a number, and hear your number called, before anyone will even make eye contact with you. So lesson is, whenever you enter a shop, 1st look for the number dispenser, usually red, take your number, check it out, practice the sound of the number many times and then listen carefully for your number to be called. It is very easy to miss the call and then you have to start all over again. Failing that, locate the spike containing used numbers and keep your eye on it till you're next. Then be prepared for some service.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Back to Normal

Just when I was about to - well thinking about - untaping all the windows after 5 days of an Ushuaian heatwave, we are back to normal. This morning it's raining.
All of Ushuaia has spent the last days, one of which reached 27C , it was actually hotter than Melbourne that day, enjoying the warmth. Clothes were skimpy, ice cream shops had long queues , families were picnicking in all the open spaces and some brave souls even took to the waters of the Beagle channel to cool down. It wasn't that hot! But from one who swam in Antarctica, I guess I can't comment. The sunsets were spectacular and the evenings balmy - a perfect summer interlude.
This morning the temperature has dropped, although we expect 14C, but there is no wind, just rain which looks like it might stay for a while. Guess I will be back on the colectivo (bus) to work today. The last few days the walk each way has been helping with the post cruise extra kilos, or at least I like to think so.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Car Cleaner

Ushuaia 2007
Originally uploaded by agypsy.

Every day, my neighbour opposite drives the car onto the street and then out comes the duster and the top half of said auto gets a good clean. The only problem is that the lower half is absolutely filthy, as you can see. I have never seen him actually wash the car, so I shudder to think what the cloth does with the all the dust and dirt on the duco. It's extremely dusty here and mi casa always has lots of dust, and yes, I do clean it! Much as I hate housework.

Back to the car. Outside and inside get a quick polish up, then sometimes they go out, but often it sits outside the house for most of the day then goes back into the drive?
I have been trying to get a photo and finally managed this morning, usually he sees me with the camera and I have to take more pics of the mountains.

Qué calor!!!!

The heat wave continues and we are into day 3 and it looks like continuing. This must be the week to be in Ushuaia for summer. Today's expected top is 21C and tomorrow the forecast is for 24C. I haven't run around and untaped all the windows yet ( what do I mean all - the whole 2), but just might have to if it continues, it's a little hot in the bedroom with no cross current. The ice cream shops will be doing a roaring trade.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Summer in Ushuaia

Originally uploaded by agypsy.
Remember I said we had snow and gales from the West? That was three days ago, then in the last two days came the summer. I knew it was a mistake to tape up all the windows. Thank goodness the plasticine didn't work, and before I went to Antarctica I didn't get time to finish with the Duc Tape - plan B, and only blocked off the bedroom gales.
This weekend we have had the summer here in Ushuaia. Two days of above 20C and no wind or rain, and who knows? it might just continue for a few more days, but it is looking a little grey. At least I can still open some windows.
Let me introduce my sometime flat mate Larry, he went to Antarctica and we crossed over in the Beagle Channel. He came, I went- so because this is peak season and accommodation hard to find, he lived in my flat while I was away and for a while on my return. Yesterday we did the summer stroll along the waterfront. Now he has moved onto a flat before again heading to Antarctica. It gets some people that way!
Let's hope summer stays for a few days longer.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Life At the End of the World

La Casa Ushuaia
Originally uploaded by agypsy.
Is different! there is no doubt about that, but I guess any place that is not home is! I keep wondering why it is I was not born with the stay up late gene, as nothing gets going here before 9.00pm at the earliest. I haven't worked out why Ushuaia, la cuidad del fin del mundo, follows Spanish tradition - late out of bed, late start to everything in the mornings, siesta for 4 hours or so in the afternoon( when just about everything shuts down) and dinner at 10.00pm! In Spain, in summer, I understand it, but in Ushuaia ? Here a heat wave is 22C, as it is today, wheras 2 days ago we had snow, a roaring gale and a top of 4C for the day - and remember this is summer! How will I ever survive winter?
Anyway, the reason for this post! The roaring gale several nights ago resulted in the loss of a good deal of the corrugated iron from the roof of the flats - thank goodness I am in the middle of the building. Late afternoon the Dante, son of el dueno and lots of workmen observed the damage from over the road for a considerable time and left. For hours nothing, then just as I was thinking of settling into bed with a good book, back came all the workmen, smoking lots of cigarettes and all trooped upstairs to start work - at 9.30 pm. For the next hour or so there was a great deal of hammering, drilling, yelling and the sound of roofing being dropped into the backyard. forget the good book and sleep. The job was finished the following day with just as much disruption to the peace - impossible with the dogs but all the noise arriba was louder than they were. Will I survive this????? Who knows, it's either "perrocide" or bloody good earplugs. I don't know that I will ever be a local.

Antardida otra vez

Antarctica 2007
Originally uploaded by agypsy.
A trip very different to the last , but again an absolutely amazing experience. Once again I was blessed with smooth and tranquil crossings of the world's worst stretch of water - the Drake Pasage- except, that is, for the second night of the return journey. For 6 hours or so sleep was absolutely impossible and breakfast in the dining room a dancing and balancing act as the ship bucked and tossed in an angry sea. It was certainly an insight into the imfamous crossing, - for some 36 hours of hell, and the trips before ours experienced that hell on both crossings. I am blessed.
The weather this trip was not as kind and the choices of landings different, so it was possibly a truer picture of the highest, windiest and driest continent. We had it all, fog, snow, rain, wind and occassionally a little sun. The landings were fewer, but this time there were all the penguin chicks, where last time there were eggs, but the smell was the same! For those who have experienced a penguin rookery full of nesting birds, it is a smell that stays with you forever.
Check out the pics by clicking on the photo.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


When you say the word you have to roll the rr to give it the right sound, and I am sure it is not even a word anyway, but here in Ushuaia it just might be soon!
Those who know me know that generally I love dogs, in some cases only like them but almost always tolerate them, but here in Sth America that could change. Here everyone seems to own a dog, at least one, but so far I have seen very few people actually interacting with them in any way. Granted they must feed them sometime, but I have never managed to see it happen and I have seen very few people actually walking with, talking to or playing with dogs at all. Makes you wonder why they have them?
My neighbours have 3 rather large ones in a rather small backyard and these guys spend a good deal of their time barking excessively loudly. Then they all attack the fence to stir up the rather large dog on the other side and all bark frenetically.The amazing thing about all this is nobody but me, it seems, takes the slightest bit of notice. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that everyone here is born with a dog barking ignore gene in addition to the stay up late gene!
I did see someone in the yard with these 3 yesterday, he was replacing the part of the fence they had destroyed in their frenzied barking mode, and all the time he was there the 3 were at his side barking frenetically. He happily worked on completely ignoring them. Maybe everyone wears ear plugs all the time.
Anyway the upshot of all this is I just might be forced to commit perrocide before too much longer, or take up wearing ear plugs all the time.