Justin and Silver Al

Argentina
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We Made It

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Welcome To Argentina

Mendoza.....WE MADE IT...more details coming soon, but once again we need to get going. 

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At the Border 1

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At the Border 2

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Always Love a New Sign

Sunday, March something-or-other.   It has been a mad race to the finish and I am sorry that I have not been able to fill you all in a little more.  Let me back up a little...Mendoza.  Oh Mendoza, such a lovely little city.  We arrived around 6 after our day of driving from Santiago.  We got a fairly nice room a block of the Central Plaza after cruising around a little.  we decided to catch dinner at a pasta joint on Villanueva street (A street lined for blocks with sidewalk bars and restaurants)  Eli got a half-way decent pesto and we had a good bottle of Mendoza Malbec, but my pasta left a lot to be desired...an extremely well-done plate of tagliatelle with a splash of a bland puttanesca, kicked-up-a-notch with largish pieces of fat.  The crushed red was benign and the couple of unwilted greens I was able to savage from the well picked-over salad bar were not savory enough to make up for the lack of any type of salad dressing.  This is too bad, because Argentina is loaded with great food, and I have been looking forward to getting back here to eat. 
     We made up for dinner by sharing a couple mega-sized beers and then a couple rums (con limon y heilo)  This led to the idea that we should have one drink on every block that offered drinks as we walked home.  More beers, then whiskey then more beer got thrown into the mix, and it didn't take too many blocks before we threw in the towel, caught a cab back to the room, had a little tussle and crashed out.
      The next day's drive was first past vineyard after vineyard and then past olive farms... or are they orchards...lots of olive trees and little stands selling olive oil.  The roads were, and have been, great and we have been averaging 100 mph for the past couple days...actually the past couple weeks in retrospect.  Around midday we pulled over in a rural field, right next to miles of over-the-hill sunflowers (would have been a dream photo a month ago). We tossed the frisbee around a bit in a breezeless pasture and took a nap in the sun, then it was back to the road again.

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Oliver Oil and Vino for Sale Outside Mendoza

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Taking a Break 1

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Taking a Break 2

Last night we stayed in a town called Rio Colorado, which just happened to be there when the time came.  It was a nice little town and we had a nice little dinner with a few nice little glasses of beer.  The service took a while, but everything here marches to a different beat, and we are pretty relaxed ourselves, by now, with the pace.  After dinner we walked to the square, sat outside of a bar and had a couple drinks.  The waitress brought snacks...Swiss cheese and salami slices and we talked with a bunch of younger kids about this or that.  It was a happening night on the square.  Lots of kids everywhere, revvvving their mopeds, popping wheelies, racing each other at the street lights.  There were a few really cool old pickup trucks cruising around as well.  One lime green one that shot fire out of the back when the driver stepped on the gas.  The town was overrun by kids strutting their stuff, but it felt so innocent at the same time. 

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Only a little over 2000 K to go

So this morning we found out some surprising news.  It was occurring to me that the town was awfully quiet for a Thursday...or maybe even Friday.  It felt a lot like a Sunday morning in these Latin countries.  And it was Sunday.  We were days off and in the wrong direction.  I don't know how we lost them, but with only a week left of my trip, a couple extra days are crucial.  At first I balked at our plan to make it all the way to Tierra Del Fuego, but over the course of the day and looking over the map, I reracked.  So we headed south again, this time aiming for the National Park 'Reserva Faunistica Peninsula Valdes' on the Atlantic Coast.  It was awesome once we got there, but on the drive today, a car in front of me got a tire off the road, went out of control, nearly crashed and kicked a shower of rocks up at Silver Al.  One cracked the windshield.  Bummer!  Anyway, the crack isn't spreading too quickly, but it is right in the drivers face.  Such is life.  

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Eli goes for the Stache

The Park Today Was AWESOME!  It was miles and miles of scrub brush to get out there, passing rheas (like smallish ostriches), guanacos (like little versions of llamas with big eyes but without the fluffy hair...brown and black), grey fox and maras (like a huge rabbit meets a huge guinea pig).  When we finally got to the coast the first place we stopped was full of friendly armadillos (my favorite animal).  They checked me out, I checked them out, I even picked one up and he seemed very much at peace with that...almost happy.  There we also saw tons of seals and sea lions and an orca whale trying to pick them off. 
     The next stop was all about the penguins.  Bunches of silly penguins all over the place.  Absolutely un-worried about us, just staring blankly ahead and sometimes flapping their arms ... or wings?....They were about as cool a character as they come. Penguins.  Dopey, silly, totally chill, totally laid back birds that don't fly.  They just look at you.  You can walk right up to them!
    The next stop was elephant seals...huge, lazy, sniffling and snorting lumps of blubber.  Just about then the sun started to set and we drove about an hour out of there to get to here, where we just jumped on the internet to book some plane tickets...Let me explain...We are going to drive to Tiera del Fuego tomorrow...non-stop...no matter how long it takes...should be about 1500 Kilometres mas o menos.  There we are going to take it all in...the end of Americas, and there I am going to try to find a place where I can leave Silver Al for the next 9 or 10 months (wish me luck on that one).  On Friday we fly to Buenos Aires and I will be there Fri, Sat, and Sun night.  On Monday at around 7 pm I fly out of Buenos Aires to Mexico City and then to JFK and then to Logan.  I arrive in Logan at 9pm Tues the 25th.  Then I head to Cape Cod and bust out a serious amount of Surfcomber work that I know is just piling up...Trip Over, back to the grind. 
    Once again, for now, I need to leave and drive.  We are going to stay the night in a town that is a couple hours away and it is already 10:42 pm here.  Eli is probably going berserk waiting for me outside, and I can't blame him.  I promise you all that in Tierra del Fuego I will finally have some downtime and I will catch you all up.  I will also finish up the final Peru details which need to be told...pictures of penguins and armadillos and all the great creatures.  Recordings of wailing seals.  Oh it will be wonderful to have some downtime.  I am looking forward to some downtime in B.A. as well.  That city is one of my all time favorites.  I might even re-read this info dump and correct the parts that I'm sure make no sense.  But for now, I'm hitting the road...we've got to log some serious miles in the next 36 hours!

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Penguins

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Armadillo

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Grey Fox

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Sea Lions

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Can You See the Orca Fin as He/She Hunts Seals?

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Rhea

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Maras

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Guanacos

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Flamingoes

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A Man Rarely Gets Happier Than This

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A Man Rarely Gets Happier Than This 2

WE DID IT!!                              
 
WE HAVE MADE IT TO TIERRA DEL FUEGO.  WE HAVE MADE IT TO THE END OF THE WORLD.  WE HAVE MADE IT AS FAR SOUTH AS YOU CAN POSSIBLY EVER DRIVE....ANYWHERE IN THIS WONDERFUL WORLD!

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Tierra Del Fuego

Tuesday, March 17(?)     As it turned out, we did not stop to rest after the Reserva Faunistica Peninsula Valdez.  We pointed Silver Al towards Tierra Del Fuego and jetted.  We swapped off driving through the dark and made some mean time.  More gas station foods, lots of sheep in the road and tons of rabbits watching us from the sides of the road.  One rabbit that I saw had red glowing eyes and was threatening to attack our car.   One rabbit did attack our car and we won, just barely, poor thing.  Had we had a little more time and not so many flora and fauna police inspection checkpoints, we would have certainly eaten the squished little thing (actually, for a rabbit, quite big).
      At one gas stop, as I switched from passenger to driver, they made me up a beautiful double espresso...a great break from the Red Bulls and Super Energias that we had been guzzling.  When I got back to the car, however, the car wouldn't start.  She cranked, she had juice and the starter was working fine, she just wouldn't get going.  Eli poked around the engine and I tried a few times with no luck.  It was probably 4 AM.  We waited a moment and though about what we should do, but I tried her again and she fired up.  Curious...
    The sunrise was spectacular because we were driving down the eastern coast of Argentina.  The wind was so strong you had to constantly be cranking the wheel to the right just to keep straight.  With one-against-one traffic and no shoulder to speak of, it was a little unnerving when those huge tractor trails flew by.  The whole car just shook.  The wind pressure was so strong that when you opened the window, you could not line the track up properly enough to close it again unless you came to a stop or were driving next to the very occasional hill.  The landscape, in fact, was the most drab, desolate tundra that you could imagine.  There was life...lots of grey fox, maras, rheas, sheep, cuanacos, hawks, vultures and dozens of other birds.  We saw one big wreck while Eli was driving and despite the traffic backed up for a long ways, we drove past it all up to the scene and then weaseled through.  Nobody seemed to mind.
 

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Whirl-wind of Sunrises and Sunsets 1

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Whirl-wind of Sunrises and Sunsets 2

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Whirl-wind of Sunrises and Sunsets 3

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Whirl-wind of Sunrises and Sunsets 4

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Whirl-wind of Sunrises and Sunsets 5

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Whirl-wind of Sunrises and Sunsets 6

     Tierra Del Fuego is shared by Chile and Argentina and they both wish they had it for their own.  Chile got an important shipping route out of the deal.  Argentina got the beautiful tip of South America.  To get to the tip, you need to pass through Chile again.  You stamp out of Argentina, into Chile, drive for a while, cross the Strait of Magellan by ferry and then check back into Argentina again.  They do not make things any simpler, even if there is nowhere else rally to go.  You go through all the paper work and passport work.  (Which is admittedly quite straight forward down here as opposed to other parts of the Americas). 

     The driving was great up until Chile, after which the road went straight to hell.  Chile doesn’t need to help any tourists get to the beautiful Argentinean tip of South America, which should, in their opinion, be their own.  The road was loose gravel for over a hundred K.  It was rutted from years of truck traffic and was difficult to keep our undercarriage above.  It was also squirrelly, pulling the car all over the road and SLOW GOING.  It didn't take long before the power steering started to moan...plenty of fluid...just the fluid pump beginning to fail.

     Eventually we made it to the ferry and it didn't take long for one to arrive.  The wind was sp strong it was hard to walk on the ferry.  We went up to the wheel house and huddled in with a tour group of kids on the boat, chatting them up.  Eli chatted with the ferry captain...Capitan to Capitan.  The ferry had a complex steering system that seemed quite modern.  The very personable captain admitted that he didn't really know how the thing worked, but he knew how to get us to the other side. 

   A pod of dolphins swam next to us almost the whole way.  Waves slammed the boat so hard they sprayed way up over the top of the boat and down onto the tops of the tractor trailer trucks and cars.  The ferry moved directly to where it needed to go not by steering toward the other side but by steering into the wind and up the strait.  We moved sideways all the way over and the pier on the other side was built sideways to accommodate this strange positioning.  The Capitan said it was blowing about 80 KPH, an average day.

     Back on the road, the gravel track was still of miserable quality.  We had been noticing an increase in a sound coming from the rear right tire - banging sound- and had thought for a while that a shock was starting to go, but once we hit this road something completely let go back there...I think maybe the A-frame tire mount thingy has snapped from the frame or the bolts fell out all at once.  The rear tire flies up and down in the wheel well, smacking and rattling and banging up and down with no resistance or support.  The shock and spring seem to be in tact as far as we can tell.   So far the tire has stayed on the car, though. 

     When we stopped to take a look we found another problem.  The E-brake cable was hanging down, broken.  There was also brake fluid leaking out of the left rear brake line.  We drove on trying not to use the brakes.  I was worried that we might lose them all together, but I have since heard that the front brakes are independent of the rear in the fluid reservoirs, so the front should continue to work.  The road was nasty and, worried that the tire might fall off or the brakes might let go, the end of the road suddenly seemed farther away than we had imagined.

    When we made it to the Argentinean border and finished the formalities (last border crossing of the trip besides coming home) a new noise began as we pulled out.  A clunk that accompanied the shifting.  It got worse and worse and was soon joined by a whirring sound upon acceleration.  Fortunately the road in Argentina was paved, at least.  We still had over 300 kilometres to go and Silver Al was suddenly disintegrating. 

    It got dark soon after we crossed back into Argentina and after 100 K we made it to a town that we got completely lost in.  Rough urban construction sections and speed bumps all threatened to tear our car apart at any moment.  We finally got some direction, stopped for a couple cold plastic wrapped gas station sandwiches (mine had egg in it...sick...they put eggs in or on everything here, the bastards)  and more red bulls. (We were going on 36 hours of driving with maybe a restless hour or two nap each) and we kept going.  The road got twisty and hilly, but it stayed paved all the way, and at around 11 o'clock PM, St. Patrick’s Day, we limped into Ushuaia, Argentina.

   

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The Ferry

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A Captian in the Strait of Magellan

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On the Ferry

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Dolphins Escort Us


    Being St. Patrick's Day and after such a long haul, we were not going right to bed.  I felt my Irish half swell up larger than life and the energy of my long lost homeland shot through me.  We quickly checked into a hostel dorm room.  A girl from Norway was just getting ready for bed and apologized that she was going to have to wake up at 5 AM.  We told her, we'd likely just be heading for bed then and could serve as a backup alarm.  Turned out we missed her all together.

      The Irish Pub was raging here at the end of the world.  Packed and pumping, green beer on tap, scores of other travellers.  We downed beers by the double-fist and shots of Jameson galore.  We made a million friends in 5 minutes and hopefully had a couple left by the time the night was through.  Dancing, laughing, shouting, high fives...here we are, we made it…crazy, craziness. Hours flew by, then, at some point in the night I hit the wall.  I was sitting down by myself, some sort of Irish whiskey in my hand, reflecting on the trip, starting to realize that the trip was winding down when I wished it could go on forever.  I was wondering when I would be able to do some sort of travelling like this again, I'm getting older -maybe I shouldn't run around so wildly anymore.   Just then this, to answer my questions, a group of folks that worked on an Antarctic research ship whom I had met earlier returned to the bar and picked my floundering self up, dusted me off and straightened me out.  They were all in their forties, fresh off the sea and about as wild and crazy and beautiful people you could ever meet…just naturals.  I got fired up again we had a hoot and eventually headed to a different bar.  They were a crazy bunch, just fun, a Brit, an Aussie...I can't say I remember where they were all from, but they were on land and they were living it up.  The next bar was a bit tamer, but we livened it up plenty and before I knew it the sun was rising.  Somehow I found my way to the hostel.  Eli was there asleep and our neighbours were long checked-out and gone, which was great cuz hostels make me very self conscious about the horrendous and voluminous snoring I am capable of after a night of drinking

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Empanadas

Today was spent feeling lousy and trying (and usually failing) to take care of tasks that needed to get done.

 

It is beautiful here at the end of the world.  Mountains, Oceans, Glaciers.  Feels like a mix between Switzerland and Alaska and Maybe Newfoundland...even if I've never been to Alaska or Newfoundland...I can just feel it.

 

I've got to run for now.  I'll tell you all about this place tomorrow.  It is beautiful.  I'll try to put up some photos and some recordings.

 

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Around Ushuaia

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Around Ushuaia 2

THE PLOT THICKENS.  Check this out for a laugh... Here I am at the end of the world.  I have a car that needs some serious work.  I had thought about storing it for the next 9 months and coming back, but then I met a very cool fellow who is willing to buy it.  Rasta Max loves Silver Al and was about as excited about buying her as a person could ever be.  He has already kissed the fender.  So today, I walked down to the customs office to look into the details and I walked out with a big problem.  You cannot sell a foreign used car in Argentina...period!  In fact, you cannot give away (for free) a foreign used car in Argentina.  You cannot even junk a foreign used car in Argentina.  The only thing I might be able to do is find someone who is willing to come down to customs and take responsibility for the storage of the car, sign papers, ect.  They wanted to know if I knew such a person.  I don't, but I could try to find such a person.  That is fine with them, but I should know that after this afternoon, they will be closed for some holiday until next Tuesday....the Tuesday after the Monday I should be flying back home.  So right now it is three forty-three.  Customs closes in an hour and 17 minutes.  If I don't find someone who will take the car for 9 months and sign on the line to be responsible for my return, (they can't drive it) I will probably be arrested at immigration as I try to leave the country ...that, or if I do slip out, I can never come back.
     So why am I sitting on the internet instead of running around.  I have one plan and I have put all my chips on it.  Rasta Max.  I called him up, woke him out of a dead sleep (he works the graveyard shift at the hostel we stayed at last night).  He, supposedly, is going to meet me at 4:30 to discuss my proposition.  I am willing to pay him...I don't know how much, but he needs to find a place to park her and trust that I am not going to screw him over and never come back...If I don't come back, he is in trouble with Argentina as well as myself.
     So I am either never leaving Argentina, never coming back to Argentina or coming back in the beginning of December to fix her up and drive her to a different country where I can sell her or at least ditch her.  This whole craziness brings up a lot of questions.  What, for instance, would happen if she caught on fire and burned to the street?  What happens if you total your car here...what do they do?  The risk is having to stick around longer than I would like to find out. 
 
I never liked homework and I guess you could say that I didn't do mine in this case.  I guess I always figured that, at the least, you could junk a car, especially an injured but strong car loaded with good parts.  A mechanic's dream car if it was free.  I'm not completely screwed yet, but my pants are nearing my ankles.   

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Tenedor Libre

So...now you are going to have to wait a little bit longer for the wonderful pictures that I would like to post.  The next hour should be a true adventure and I thoroughly adore adventures (especially the ones with some tangible repercussions and especially when I was just feeling like the adventures were winding down)....I'm off...let's do this thing...wish me luck!

Thursday, March (?) at 1:06 PM  Rasta Max came through for me!  He was a little nervous about taking responsibility for the car at first, but I'm going to pay him well, and we made it to the Aduanas (Customs) just as they were closing the door.   Props to Rasta Max -a really great fellow who has stuck his neck out for me big time.  So I am going to be coming back here next December ...no question about it.  If I don't, Rasta Max is in trouble, and my karma would never recover.  So, in a way, as this trip was coming to an end, it has suddenly sprouted a new life.  I've got to come down here with a suitcase of car parts and rig Silver Al together enough to get her out of the country...thousands of rough miles.  She will need to survive a very cold winter, which is just starting here.  She will be parked behind Rasta Max's cousin's house a few blocks away. It is a little bit of a steep grassy place and I will probably need to bring a come-along to get her back out.  Then I'll hopefully get her started and have a mechanic put on a bunch of new parts and we'll shoot the moon.  If she is running well (and the motor appears to still be strong and sweet) I might just drive her north again.   At least up through Brazil and back to Columbia.  So I have closure in one way and a huge adventure ahead of me in another.
      Anyway, when I finally finished the wheelings and dealings and dropped Max off to his wife and daughter, I met up with Eli at the hotel and we went out to celebrate.  We went here and there and did what you can imagine, by now, we did.  We got some empanadas and a huge, loaded, pizza-sized hamburger at a neat little local watering hole and made friends with the bar-tender.   We picked up laundry, looked into a boat trip, (which we decided against) and window shopped for duffle bags -all between cantinas and bars.  Eventually I ran out of steam.  Eli had a four hour nap earlier and was wound-up...my head was bouncing from shoulder to shoulder, exhausted.   We had been talking with a few Spanish guys at that point and Eli headed out with them, while I walked back to our hotel to crash.  I heard Eli come in last night at some point, but I don't know about his adventures.  He was still asleep when I got up to come here and get some photos up.

     We have, at this point, stayed in two hostels here and one hotel.  The first hostel was alright for sleeping, mostly because by the time we went to bed, everyone else was up and gone.  The second night, at Freestyle Hostel (where I met Max) we slept really pretty poorly.  The guy below me snored, in Eli's opinion, worse than I do, and the hostel bar, just outside the room seemed to rage all night long.  Our roommates kept barging into the room all night to grab this or that, making a racket, one kid sounded like he was snacking all night on the most crinkly bag of chips in the world.  In the morning, when the roommates got up (before us because they kept us up all night) they were just carrying on at full volume.  Other than this, the hostel was great, friendly, helpful...spot on...but after no sleep, we decided that we needed a room of our own, and we have it.  I slept great last night.  I bet Eli did too! 

    Today is a holiday here, but I will try to buy some brake fluid.  Yesterday the car began to inch forward on a steep downhill with the brakes pressed all the way in.  Not a good feeling when there is a car stopped at the bottom in front of you waiting for the light to turn green.  I was pumping at the brakes and yelling at the light aloud, 'Come on baby, turn green, turn green, turn green...come on' as Silver Al and I slowly made our way down the hill.  The light did turn green but not until I was just about sure I was going to be testing out my soon-to-expire Pan American car insurance policy.  

     Also today I might try to find a car cover and a duffel bag or even a new back pack.  A hike would be really nice...maybe we can pull that off too.  I'll try to get you all some audio clips soon!

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Mountains Around Ushuaia

Friday Before Easter. Just spending my last hours here in Ushuaia.  Yesterday, Eli and I headed to the National Park Tierra Del Fuego.  We bought some brake fluid and drove through the park to literally the furthest point that you can drive to.  Got the bumper up against the wooden fence posts that mark the very end of Argentina Route 3.  The park was great.  Tons of rabbits, beautiful woodpeckers, geese.  There were crystal clear lakes and streams, big old forests of twisted trees, lichen and moss.  We got some hikers to take a few pictures of us and cracked the bottle of champagne that we had brought down from the states.  After that, we turned around and headed back to Ushuaia.  This marked the first real backtracking we have done and the official end of the drive south.

      Back in town we had a pretty lousy dinner at a Tenedor Libre that was recommended to us by our hotel proprietor.  A tenedor libre is a sort of buffet spread in one area and a man with a fire grilling up meats in another.  The buffet was drab and the meats were dry and flavorless.  The wine (malbec) was the only thing that was quite good. 

     After dinner, Eli turned it in because he had spent the previous night out, and hurt himself pretty good.  I headed out, spent an hour or so on the internet, looking over applications for exchange students that want to work on the Cape this summer, and then walked up to the Irish pub where I spent most of St. Patty's day night.  At the pub I grabbed a stool, ordered a beer and moments later my Argentinean friend, Lukos, came walking in.  He had thought that he had seen me walk by him earlier and figured that I was heading this direction.  Lukos is a cool cat, lives in Plata Blanca and is finishing his last year of studying medicine at the university there.  He has a passion for surfing, football (soccer) and snowboarding, with a little gardening thrown in on the side.  Lukos is here on a vacation with his mother (who's work gave them this free vacation) and grandmother who, at 82 years old, can hike with the best of them. 

     Lukos and I hung out a long time, talked music and sports and politics and travel.  We drank a few beers but then switched to Fernet and cola...a very popular drink here (tastes just like Moxie).  The bar filled up and was packed within an hour of our arrival so we were grateful to have the seats that we scored.  There are a lot of other travelers here from all over...hikers, people heading to Antarctica, vacationer on the Patagonian circuit.  For Eli and I, it has been a bit of a culture shock to be around so many other travelers from away.  It is very modern here in its way.  Sophisticated compared to most of the places we have been.  American and European music cranked up hard instead of the Cumbia and Salsa we have been listening to everywhere else.  People speaking English to you even when you speak Spanish to them.  Suddenly being able to communicate clearly...I'm not quite sure I like it.  I had thought that there was not a last call here in Ushuaia, but that was only on St. Patrick's Day, I guess, because they rang the bell at 4AM.  We snuck another drink order in and talked a while with a Brit of Indian descent that now lives in the Czech Republic.  Then I figured we would stop by the Hostel Freestyle, catch up with Rasta Max and get a beer there. At the Freestyle there were a few kids up, a couple Argentineans, a Russian, and a tired looking French couple.  Max hooked us up with a couple beers (gratis) and we hung out there for an hour or so…actually I don't know how long...laughing it up with Max and chatting it up with the other kids.  And that was that...I headed back to our hotel and made it to bed just as distant light cracked the black sky.  My last night in Ushuaia for a few months!

    Now I am off to try to buy a duffel bag to empty some things from Silver Al into.  We've got a lot of CD's and bottles of pisco and rum to contend with.  We meet Rasta Max at 2 Pm to ditch the car and then we have a few hours to kill until our flight leaves.  Next time I write, I'll be in Buenos Aires!!

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The End of the Road

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National Park Tierra Del Fuego

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As Far As You Can Possible Go

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Cheers!

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Lukos and Justin

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Rasta Max and Justin

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Silver Al's Resting Place

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Silver Al's Resting Place 2

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Justin, Al and Max

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Justin, Ali and Rast Max, Saying Goodbye to Ushuaia for a Few Months

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Flying to Buenos Aires 1

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Flying to Buenos Aires 2

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Patagonia from the Sky

We have made it to Buenos Aires!

Here in BA our old friend (from our same home town) Nate Moyer has hooked us up upon arriving here. We arrived in B.A. around 11:30 and didn't get to Nate's until well after 12:00. Nate has some nice digs and nice friends and we drank some wine and then headed to a nearby bar which Nate and his clan run. They had both Jim Beam and ginger ale. For a night that Nate thought would be slow, it was quite quick. We talked, had a few Jim and Gingies, a couple Fernets and colas. Eli and Nate took on the pool table and almost took the game. They have a few different rules here. Any foul, scratch, sinking your ball in an uncalled pocket or sinking of an opponent's ball...any mistake and it becomes 'ball-in-hand'. Unlike a scratch in our game...ball-in-hand means the opponent can then put their ball ANYWHERE on the table.

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Nate Moyer

B.A. is a late-night city where bars and clubs don't really get going until 3AM. We made a night of it, not getting home until around 6AM. This morning we slept until late (after noon), and then took a stroll around Nate's neighborhood. B.A. is loaded with beautiful old buildings. Nate himself is in the process of renovating two such buildings. Nate is a professional dancer and has started a business called dance abroad. He has a few students already signed on so he is under the gun to get his places suitable to serve as a sort of hostel to accommodate them. Nate has been a great host, setting us up with a cell phone and nice rooms. Eli, who will be here for a couple weeks longer, has put an hour or two into setting up one of Nate's rooms as a pimping little Eli pad.

Right now Eli is napping in his cozy little room down the street and Nate and I have been hanging out at Nate's other place. We had a couple sandwiches and finished off the bottle of rum that we got into last night. (Ron Abuelo we brought from Ecuador) I just grabbed a shower and am feeling all freshened up while Nate and his house mate Mariano have been having a little guitar jam-down. Now it is about 10:40 PM and we are going to head out and see what is going on around here tonight. We'll just have to see!

Last night turned out to be my latest night yet. Got to sleep around 10AM or so. The folks here are tough to keep up with. (When I finally got let off the hook to sleep, they were still hanging out like it was 2 AM).  Nate's (and Nate's friend's) bar closed at 6 AM but they just got everyone out, locked the doors and we enjoyed the bar for ourselves. I hung with the staff for hours after that. A few owners of other bars trickled in and the head of the district police even got let in for a beer or two. He had to leave eventually to go beat up a couple people that they were holding for him down at the station, he told us. Charming! So today I slept most of the day and now I am up and wondering what I should do. I think Nate is done for the night. Eli is over at the other house, napping. It is my last night here in Buenos Aires and, for that matter, on this trip, so there is no question that I am going to make it count. Time will tell and it is still very early for here.

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Justin and Nate at the Parilla

Today I spent my final day of this trip hanging out with Nate and Eli.  Last night I dug up Eli and we caught a cab to the Palermo district and wandered around to a few different bars.  Being Easter night there was pretty close to nothing going on.  We still had a good time of ourselves, with a two beers for 15 pesos special at an Irish pub and a few vodka tonics at a bar with a heavy pirate theme.  (Probably should have been drinking rum, come to think of it, but the swarthy staff didnīt force us to walk any planks.)  It was a fairly reflective evening for the two of us, recall strings of events that took place over the past three months...there was a lot of love.  The only folks that were out were other tourists and the atmosphere could have been that of a bar in any city in the world. (Boring)  Somehow we managed to call it quits early (around 4 AM) and thatīs about all there is to say...I wish there were more events to recollect but we had a nice time all the same.
     Today was a beautiful day.  Nate and I had a long drawn out coffee session at an outdoor corner cafe.  Ate toast with marmalade and butter, I had a great glass of orange juice.  Eventually Eli came wandering by and joined us.  After coffee, I went to lie out up on the roof top terrace, catching a last bit of sun. 
     For lunch, Nate took us out to a great Parilla (grilled meat restaurant for which Argentina is famous)  It was a great meal with salads and different types of grilled beef, choriso sausages, blood sausages and grilled sweet breads.  I even tried the sweet breads and they went down much more smoothly than the beef heart and liver that I encountered earlier on this trip.  We drank a couple bottles of Malbec wine, had coffee and even postres (dessert), joked around...definitely there for a few hours.  After lunch we went back to Eliīs place (Nateīs other place) and chatted over a few liters of beer.  That was pretty much it, I packed up, said my goodbyes, we tried to make a recording but the batteries died on the recorder, I managed to fire up my laptop to transfer our last photos off the cameras and onto the computer.  Then I caught a cab and I am here in the airport as I write this to you all.

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Saying Goodbye to Eli and Nate

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