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New blog! Ushuaia!


November 17th, 2008

Ok – so I’ve started another blog. Not like I don’t already have ten billion on the go, but this one’s gonna be a keeper! I swear! It took me a long time to get the wordpress stuff working, and thanks to some handy internet resources and the help of Josh, everything is in order. WordPress sure seems like a bitch at first, but after a long time fiddling with it things get easier.

I’m starting this new blog at about the “halfway” point on the trip Josh and I are currently embarked on. The original plan being to drive from Victoria, Canada to Ushuaia, Argentina and back up.. in 6-8 months. It’s been over a year now, and we only recently reached Ushuaia. We ended up spending something like 4-5 months just bumming around Quito, seriously doing NOTHING. Oh well, at least I can say I’ve lived in a super dangerous city and never once got mugged while living there! From then on we moseyed (and I do mean moseyed) our way down through Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. Last week we finally reached Ushuaia after a dramatic all night driving session. Well, I imagine it was dramatic. I was asleep.

For those of you not aware, Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world, located at the very bottom of Argentina. To get there (overland from Argetina) you have to cross into Chile briefly and endure a long bumpy windy stretch of road with NOTHING on it, take a sketchy ferry across a random break in land, and then re-enter Argentina. It’s annoying. I am actually running really low on passport space, and entering/re-entering Chile twice for no good reason (with 4 extra passport stamps because of it) is incredibly aggravating. Not to mention, when entering Chile your vehicle is subject to a search for “contraband” (aka veggies, meats, etc.) Normally “S.A.G.” (the folk that search your car) are pretty cool, but Josh and I had a very unfortunate incident with them crossing from Mendoza where we literally had to remove EVERYTHING from the car, and they ended up taking a very miscellaneous selection of goods. So, we were not so pumped about having our car ripped apart to enter Chile for an hour when we have no choice anyways. Luckily S.A.G. is currently sort of half on strike and I took the initiative to mention possible “contraband” (which was actually veggies I bought IN Chile, and had taken all the way with me up until that point) so when she came to search the car, she only asked about aforementioned veggies, and even though I had no proof that the veggies were actually Chilean, she just shrugged and was like “whatever”, and I totally got to take them with me.

Anyways, moving on from boring stories about S.A.G… Josh and I arrived in Ushuaia at about 6a.m. after Josh pulled a random all-nighter to arrive there, and it was not anti-climatic in anyway. Ushuaia is a gorgeous town, that somehow pulls off a nice beautiful/mountain/tourist town feel despite the fact it’s a major port in a small city. The only people out when we arrived were some drunken port-folk (or sailors, perhaps?) from the night before, wandering home. Still pretty, though! We stayed a few days at some very friendly and welcoming camping before deciding it was way too effing cold to camp in our car any longer, and continued on the road back north after going to a sweet penguin island.

On the way back north, we had not one, but TWO unfortunate events involving our tires. In the Salaar de Uyuni in Bolivia we totally lost our spare tire after it brutally exploded. We ended up leaving the rim of the spare tire behind in the MOST DESOLATE PLACE EVER. Why we did this, we don’t really know. Since Bolivia we’ve been meaning to get a new spare tire, and even a whole new set of tires for the truck, but it seems to be one of those things we only end up remembering on our way out of town when it’s sort of too late and we’re too lazy to turn back to go tire shopping anyways. Regardless, we should not be driving without a spare tire. When we were about 20 minutes outside of Ushuaia I once again remembered that we totally forgot to get a spare tire and even said “OH MAN JOSH, we totally need to stop forgetting to buy a spare tire.” Fast forward to Chile. As you may recall, the 200km-ish journey though Chile to get back into Argentina is totally barren and has pretty well nothing, except a ferry in the middle of nowhere to take you across the 8km break in land. So as we were racing to catch the last ferry of the night, our tire blew. That road is really rocky and bumpy and should not be raced down. Being without tire, and considering it was 1130ish, we had to sleep on the side of the road for the night. In the morning Josh hitched a ride to a nearby gomeria where we bought a “new” tire. Actually it was an old shitty tire with a tube in the inside. We decided once we got to the next town we’d buy the first proper spare tire in sight. So, with our new tire holding up, we made it onto the ferry and across the border back into Argentina. Once in Argentina we headed for the very nearby (and well sized) town of Río Gallegos, with a new tire obviously being first priority upon arrival. Unfortunately for us, the crappy “new” spare tire totally blew like 20kms outside of Río Gallegos. Josh got outside to take the tire off and look at it hopelessly, wishing it would miraculously repair itself by staring at it. It was a very sad situation. Not more than 5 minutes later a pickup truck full of oil workers pulled over to see what was up. Luckily these happened to be like the nicest men on the planet, ever. They took Josh into town to the gomeria, got him fixed up with a new tire, charged the new tire to their work, and drove him back to the truck. Argentinians are totally the most kind and helpful people in the world. We have since driven another like 600kms and have still neglected to buy a new tire, BUT the town we’ve just arrived in happens to have like a gazillion tire shops. Wee! Buying all new tires!

Otherwise, things have been uneventful in working our way back north. Things have been getting warmer, and slightly less windy. That’s exciting enough for us. We’re still pumped about the fact that we’re headed north for once.. towards home! We’re going to try and send a HUGE box of JUNK home pretty damn soon, which will make living in a car much more fun. Although we’ve been complaining about the cold for weeks now, we’re both pretty terrified of the heat we’re going to experience in Paraguay and Brazil.. in the summer. Apparently Paraguay has like the hottest summers ever, averaging between 35-40°C a day. They also have a vast amount of Dengue fever and Malaria carrying mosquitoes. YEAHHH! Getting horrible flu like diseases’ in the 40° heat! Bring it on! No, not really. Please don’t bring it on. Josh and I will be showering in repellent.

Well, this evening Josh and I are enjoying some average dinner at a pub like establishment called “Molly Malone’s” that claimed to have wifi.. although it’s been “broken for 2 minutes” for like an hour now. Advice for anyone who actually needs wifi to work and wants to travel to South America; don’t count on it working. Ever. Furthermore, don’t count on anyone ever being able to fix it when it breaks, all the time. Josh actually spent an ENTIRE effing day fixing the internet/wifi at the campground in Ushuaia. When it was all done and fixed, we decided to pop out for some groceries before sitting down to enjoy our newly functioning wifi. When we got back we were more than very disappointed to find the wifi had stopped working. Josh examined it and found someone had changed ALL of the settings, and subsequently fucked everything up. When he asked the “tech” son of the old man that owned the place (the one that was previously trying to fix the wifi) what the hell was up, he totally denied anyone touching the settings.. totally ignoring the fact that Josh has spent the whole day editing/memorizing all wifi settings. Josh thinks the dude didn’t wanna be shown up by Josh since he was supposed to be the “tech” one, so he secretly sabotaged the internet. Whatever the case, just remember wifi never ever works in South America, and sometimes they even sabotage it when YOU make it work. Web-workers should stay away from this continent.

That being said, the wifi is STILL not working here, so I am writing this entry only to be uploaded to my server, where it will await the day it can actually be published to internet. Since it feels a little weird to currently be writing a blog entry that noone will be able to see, I’m going to go ahead and end it. More awesome tales of my life to come again one day.. preferably a day with working wifi!

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