Friday, April 07, 2006

Tierra del Fuego - Land of High Hopes

I am once again at the end of the world.
Tierra del Fuego – the end of the world, beginning of the new adventure. This is the point where the explorers embark to Antarctica. Last year we were lucky enough to explore the White Continent as well. This year however, this will be just about the Southernmost point we get around to…
In Ushuaia, if you look North, the next thing you see South is your shoulder – or so they say.
Luckily, my camera sees it different.

The weather is moody and keeps playing with us. A welcome sign always puts one at ease…
I could have taken better pictures of the city, or at least most interesting. The truth is that it was a crappy day, indeed. My hands were frozen enough and this seemed to create a huge dissonance between my brain, whispering “take this picture” and my hands, stubbornly stuffed in my pockets.

Strolling along the pier, I take a better look at our neighbor: She’s old, red and dirty; nevertheless, she’s charming…the only spot of color in this long, gray day.

Did I mention that the weather is moody? Scratch that. Erratic would be a better word. In few seconds the calm sea turns to an old fashioned dream. The wind is now up to 50 knots and when I get out on the Bridge wing, my glasses are flying out in an eye blink.
I throw a hand out in the air, more like a guess, than an action but here they are, back in my palm. To think that this is the only time in the last 4 years when I actually did not have a spare pair of glasses on me…

Dear Murphy,
I am sorry to inform you that I proved you wrong, for once...

Our nights haven’t been long enough lately; and I have a certitude that this one isn’t going to be any different… My colleagues are rigging up, preparing for the high seas.

My days – a typical day, you say…
They are similar but never the same. My days are fast...moving up from 65 º S to 71º N, from Antarctica to the Arctic circle in just few months...moving, generally, wherever on the World's Chart.
Still, I cannot help thinking of the circles we live in: Round Earth, Circumnavigation, circular day…
Our red, dirty, charming neighbor was the first thing I saw this morning. The first thing I saw after lunch and she is still out there, last thing we see on departure.

To close in a positive note, it’s interesting to see the diversity of interests that people may have at the end of the world: the Doctor bought a certificate testifying him passing by. The Nurse has been playing golf in the most Southerly city of the world.
As for me, I felt like I am going to die if I am not buying a new wide angle teleconverter. Which, I soon came to realize, produces horrible vignettes, if misused …
But the close-up lenses are great.
We’re off at last and it’s gonna be a bumpy ride, once more.
But as I said, always count the blessings – I had the best lunch ever in the past 4 months, ashore, with normal people and most important, my home Soccer team has won the game today and has qualified for the UEFA semi – finales.

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