Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Last entry - we are on our way back (damn it).
Have added another couple of photo pages - Antarctica 2, Antarctica 3 and Sea Kayaking. When we get back I'll add Argentina and Uruguay photos, although to be honest they aren't as exciting as Antarctica.
Feeling happy enough to be heading home although we still miss Antarctica. I know its expensive but if you get the chance you HAVE to to. I'd give up all my travel to go there again - its that good.
Hope you are all well and see you soon
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
REalised that all this time I've been writing about Argentina - a few words about Antarctica.
As you've seen from some of the photos, this was the most unbelievable place we've been too. Yes, places like Italy, Japan and India were fantastic places to experience but Antarctica was almost surreal and 'out of this world'.
Here are a few things that I'll remember most about the place.
- Kayaking through a maze of icebergs
- the crazy sounds of the penguins when we were in the penguin rookeries.
- the sheer isolation of the place - no power lines, no phone calls, no internet, no TV. For 2 weeks we didn't have a clue about what was happening in the outside world.
- The silence amongst all of us whilst we cruised past the first massive iceberg that we saw - although we ended up seeing lots of bergs, the image of that first one will always be amazing.
How cold was it? Yes it was cold but strangely enough it didn't bother us. The fingers on my right hand were nearly frostbitten a couple of times (I took the glove off to use the camera) but other than that it was fine.
Sea kayaking was a favourite particularly when groups of penguins (and occassionally seals) would swim alongside my kayak. It was also great to be in control of where you were going rather than relying on a zodiac boat driver.
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Back in BA - the last couple of days in Cordoba were awesome. On Friday we went for a 3 hour bushwalk to the Tanti waterfalls which are about 1.5 hours away. We saw vultures and eagles and all sort of other birds. Bushwalking was great - nice to get some exercise although bird watching is more Kez´s cup of tea.
Yesterday was even better - went to a town called La Cumbra which is about 2.5 hours away by local bus. Another 10kms away is a place called Cuchi Corral which is apparently famous as a good place to go paragliding and hang gliding. And... you guessed it, we gave it a go. Kerryn went paragliding whilst I tried the hang gliding. Bloody scary but so much fun. Running off a 1000 metre high cliff is a bit of a leap of faith!
And the landing was incredible. Our landing strip a was a small clearing in the valley a long long way below. Little naive me thought that the landing would be nice, gentle and smooth like landing with a parachute. No - as we were descending the hang gliding pilot suddenly told me to put me feet up. I quickly did so when I realised that the ground was coming up very fast! The landing was so rough and fast but awesome.
A few words about the locals. People here are so friendly. Everyone is very patient with my fairly crappy Spanish, although they probably appreciate that I´m having a go. And they are so friendly to each other too. We´ll often see people come up and give each other a big kiss and hug even if they are just coming back from lunch.
Anyway, more later
Location: Cordoba, Argentina
Currently in Cordoba which is just about smack bang in the middle of Argentina. Hit a bit of a low point - both of us ate some dodgy Caesers salad and have been suffering from a bit of Bali belly (or to localise it - the Argie Ache). Plus its been raining here for a couple of days and some of the things that we had planned such as bush treks (to see condors) and horse riding have had to be postponed due to the rain. some of the villages in the surrounding hills are so pretty and chilled out - makes a nice change.
although Cordoba is really lovely you can only see so many old churches and monuments. to spice things up we treated ourselves to a movie (Casino Royale - bloody good too). movies only cost us A$2.75 each.
I think we are also sad because we are suffering from PATS (Post Antarctica Trip Sadness). After being in such an amazing place, everything else suffers in comparison - trust me Argentina is sensational but Antarctica is the most sensational place to visit.
I´ll devote a separate diary entry to it (probably sooner if it rains again tomorrow).
Not too worry, as we both agree we are still very lucky to have been there in the first place.
Back to Cordoba - the best part of the place is summer evenings in the main town square Plaza San Martin which is surrounded by beautiful old churches (which we have checked out twice now). It´s lovely to see families, couples and packs of dogs just laying around talking, singing, catching up with everyone etc. Much better idea than sitting around in front of TV - these guys have the right idea. Aaah bliss.
Anyway weather forecast is good so hopefully we can get out of town in the beautiful mountain side to do some other stuff.
Ben and Kez
HAPPY BIRTHDAY KERRYN (for yesterday)!! Don´t worry, took her out to a reallly nice Italian restaurant
have loaded some (but not yet all) pics - Click on the Antarctica folder in the photos section.
Back from Montevideo and may I say that that city is the most boring place is the world! Bit of a shame as I had been looking forward to going there. Probably the most interesting thing was accidentally walking into Montevideo´s pitiful excuse for a casino which was overrun by Koreans (at least I looked the part). Not to worry, I think I´ll eventually look back on Uruguay with some fondness
Anyway back in BA where there is more life - off the Cordoba tonight by bus.
As I write this I am distracted by the Miss Mar del Plata*Beach Babe contest that is on TV. A more sleazy yet strangely entertaining beauty contest I have yet to see. Right now they are judging what seems to be the best arse competition - this involves the contestants parading their rather ok posteriors to the judges. Oh forgot to add that each is wearing the tiniest g-strings I have ever been forced to view. Each g-string would consist of no more than 1(one) square inch of cloth - and that includes the bra.
*Mar Del Plata is the Argentine version of the Gold Coast
But the funniest bit is that the judges consist of a panel of rather obese, 50 year old grandmothers! I suppose that is to help maintain the family rating of the show (it´s 6pm right now).
It´s experiences like these that make travel so funny - like last night when we snuck into a session of the Chinese Born-Again Christian church here in Buenos Aires. Quite a sight to see Chinese in BA praying in Spanish!
Till next time
Ben and Kerryn
thanks to all for your messages - been great to hear from you as well as get updates re cricket etc
Alas, still no post - 1995 computer available that will allow me to load pics. At least the internet is free is our hotel in MOntevideo, Uruguay. Soccer-heads will know this town well.
Today is Kerryns bday although I have to say Montevideo on a Sunday morning is drop-dead quiet, so not sure what we are going to do. We have decided not to go to Punta del Este - its a bit like Gold Coast and will be packed with Uruguayans, Argentinians and Brazilians. Aye curumba!
Instead we will go back to BA today and leave for Cordoba tomorrow.
REally hoping that I can find a decent PC soon as pics are much more interesting than my words.
People here are awesome - unlike other places you can really trust the taxi drivers, although my limited Spanish has helped. There is just so much to like about being here.
In hindsight we talked about whether is would have been better to got to Antarctica last - that place was so magnificent that everything else suffers in comparison. A pity, cos BA is a fantastico place
still in BA but tomorrow we´re off to Uruguay for 3 days. Apparently its a bit of a chilled out kind of place so it should be a nice change from the bustle of BA. Still, we´ve managed to indulge in a bit of retail therapy and beer sampling. we´ve found this great bar/club near us called Unico. Happy hours there are great and make for a cheap night of fun. (last night we had four beers and 4 cocktails for about A$20. how good is that!
and the vibe at Unico is great. It´s like the Provincial in Fitzroy except that all the staff speak Spanish. And no tourists seem to know it so we are a bit of a novelty. It´s a great spot to sit and contemplate life with Coldplay or something like that blaring in the background.
As I sit here, thé cafe have some game show on the TV above me. It´s basically an Argentine version of Price is Right except that all the contestants are young women who all seem to be wearing loose camisole blouses. And needless to say the cameramen seem to be content on focusing on their cleavages. Sad but funny nonetheless
Kerryn is feeling at home here too - probably because she looks a lot like the locals anyway - lots of blonde blue eyed types around here.
Sorry I haven´t updated the photos but the PC I am on doesn´t have a USB connection so can´t load pics. hopefully next time.
more later - take care
love Ben and Kez
Location: Ushuaia, Argentina
well we´re back from Antarctica - easily best holiday of my life. currently is Ushuaia waiting for a 1430 flight to Buenos Aires.
not sure if this dodgy internet cafe PC will work but I´ll try and load some pics
hope Xmas was good. Am feeling a bit hazy especially as I dont have a clue about what is happening in the outside world. It was actually quite nice to be isolated from the world for a little while (and also not hearing any phones ring!)
did Warney retire.
Anyway more later when I find a better internet cafe in BA
Ben and Kerryn
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Second last day at work - yay. A bit of information about our trip:
For those who don't know, we leave on 21/12. We'll be doing the horror flight from Melbourne - Sydney - Auckland - Buenos Aires - Ushuia in one hit. About 26 hours in transit - eek.
After that we spend about 2 weeks in parts of BA and Uruguay - haven't got an itinerary, we'll just go with the summer flow.
What's the Time difference? - if its 3pm in Melbourne it's 2am in Argentina. You can work it out from there.
Just bought the foreign exchange currency. This is the point when I usually start getting excited about an upcoming trip because I have tangible proof that I'll be overseas soon. Actually I probably won't get excited until we go through customs in Sydney - I find it difficult to get excited about overseas travel before then. Probably best or else I'll have trouble functioning.
If I don't get a chance, Merry Xmas everyone!
Location: Melbourne, Antarctica
Less than a month to go. Now that I've resigned from the job it's go, go, go for organising the final details of the trip. Got a rude shock when we spent $500 on all the thermal gear for Antarctica. Am also a bit sore with all the sea kayaking lessons with had yesterday. Bloody tough work - hopefully it'll help us for the kayaking we do in the South Pole. Scenery will be a lot more interesting than St Kilda too