Tuesday, November 30, 2010

ARRIVAL TO THE FANTASY ISLAND: FEELING COMFORTABLE IN USHUAIA



On the picture, waiting for a ride in Tolhuin. We would find a Peugeot 206 driving to Ushuaia. Our eyes gazed at forested priaries after one month of arid Patagonian step. We were just happy to step on the muddy roadside.

We had stayed overnight at a Chilean "Carabineros" border hut and boarded again Alejandro's Mercedes truck onto Rio Grande. On re-entering Argentina we learned by tuning Argentinean radio that the Nestor Kirchner, the former presiden had passed away during the previous night. So the day of the national census overlapped with an event most felt as a national tragedy. For us travellers the main event still was, we had arrived to Tierra del Fuego island, and wwere geting cloer to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world.




Ushuaia was originally founded in 1874 as an extreme national outpost. The government soon established a prision where many wanted criminals rooted to death. Soon many British anglicans came to attempt to civilize the native onas and yamanas. But rather contributed to their extinction by radically changing their lifestyle and introducing new diseases. Owner of large sheep ranches hunted the local indians down to prevent them from hunting their sheep. In this way the local universe was assassinated to give way to progress. The city lives has lived a touristic bok for the last 20 years. Incomes are higher than in the rest of the country. Many industries also profited from  lax tax regulations in Tierra del Fuego island, making the place a hub for quick fortune sickers. Labourers earn three times the national average, just to spend their money on large TVs and cars. Materialism is the mindset in the Fantasy island, despite the great landscapes. Landscape which is unreachable for them, since the price of the land rocketed and nobody can buy a house. Looking at the mountain slopes over the city you find holes in the forest, spaces squatted to build do-it-yourself houses.


There we met Juan Carlos, Eloisa and Esteban, three people who lived in a hared house. Esteban was a three times world champion of magic who had even worked in a Las vegas casino. But they were eclectic guys: they were also Red Cross volunteers and radio producers. They encouraged us not to give up our hopes of finding a vessel to Antarctica. Keep an eye on the blog to find out how the adventure evolve.

 




After travelling in flat Route 3 we are mesmerized at the sight of mountains....





Thanks to  
Patagonia Adventur Explorer, were able to navigate the Beagle Channel for free. They enthusiasticaly  supported our attempt to travel the world for free.




Our original plan was to stay in Ushuaia for fivee days, a week at most. Different circumstances made us stay, however, for a month. One of these was the Book Fair. We took the chance and offered our books and postcards to visitors. The event helped us a lot to sustain the coming trip around Patagonia.



2 comments:

richNYC said...

Gracias,

Love your updates for us, non Spanish speaking folks as 'gracias' is about the whole extent of my Spanish knowledge;) Keep them coming Juan...

Rich, the Vagabond from NYC

Juan Villarino said...

Thanks for the comment Rich!

The blog is 5 years old now. No surrender!

Juan