Irregular Posts; Drake Passage 54° S

Friday Dec 23, Drake Passage; We entered the Passage about 1 AM Friday.  As I woke up, I was aware of the rolling of the ship.  And I was aware of the rolling of my still digesting dinner in my stomach.  I purposely ate and drank light at dinner in preparation for the entrance into the turbulent seas of The Drake Passage. There are about 130 passengers from all over the world of ages from early twenty to eighty on board.  For dinner we sat at a table for eight.  We were joined by four Australians and two Americans all middle age or retired.  Dee and Ray were originally from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.  They now lived in Atlanta area.  She now taught 5th grade and he was a former Fedex manager and now a flight instructor.  Australian Mike was a Math teacher and his wife Julie had been a teacher before they had children.  Australians, Bob and Rob were retired from mining.  All seemed to have done some interesting travel.  Everyone shared stories of flights, connections, lost bags and other experiences. Dinner was four courses that had good food well presented.  The amount was not so much that you would leave things on your plate.  We bought a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc to drink over two evening meals.  Tonight we had a starter of prosciutto and pear (J) or green salad (M), a soup of creamed spinach.  The entrée choices were an vegetarian spring roll and noodles (J), or tiger prawns (M), or pork chop.   Dessert choices included fresh fruit (J), crème brulee (M), or ice cream, or cheeses.  Our table...

Irregular Posts; Buenas Aires to Ushuaia

Wednesday, Dec 21 2011; Felices Fiestas y Solstice, From the plane window I could see only blue water of the South Atlantic below the wing and a curve of cloud way out on the eastern horizon.  It was a 3 1/2 hour trip for the 3000 km from BA to Ushuaia.  Then into a bumpy cloud bank we flew.  It was a bit bouncy for a few minutes and then we began to see thinnings in the clouds.  All of a sudden jagged rock peaks, streaks of snow and ice in valleys and depressions appeared.  Valleys of rock and gray rivers twisted between the mountains in the range.  Then the gray Beagle Channel that separated two long ragged ranges appeared. The city of Ushuaia spread out along the shores and up the slopes toward the mountains.  It was surprisingly spread out.  It is the capital of the province of Terra Del Fuego.  We banked into a turn to line up with the single runway that ran the center of an island in the Channel.  Smooth and on the line we landed.  Some folks applauded the Captain.  Still a bit exciting knowing that a few hundred yards to either side and we’d be in the cold water. In the baggage area they checked for contraband fruit and vegetables.  Folks lined up at the only baggage claim conveyor.  An Official stood on the conveyor and announced in Spanish that unfortunately not all the baggage had been loaded back in Buenas Aires.  It would be delivered to your address after the next flight (tomorrow).  It is good that we had checked in...

Irregular Posts; Colonia to Buenas Aires

Monday Dec 19 2011, Hola que tal? Bright and warm this morning in Colonia.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Last night Orion was on the horizon as we headed up to our room at the hostel.   At breakfast we shared a table with two guys who were bicycling about.  These mid thirty year old guys, Luke and James, had met at a marathon near Mendoza, Argentina.  They decided to bike together in Argentina and Uruguay. James was originally from Atlanta, Georgia but had been living in San Paulo Brazil for ten years.  He no longer had an Atlanta accent; it had become Brazilianized.  Luke was from Belgium and spoke unaccented English.  I had met Luke Sunday PM as he was trying to peel a potato with a broken peeler.  “Just wash the skin.”  They had finished an easy 30 km ride.  Today they were off to Montevideo for the holiday.  “Visiting with some guys we met at the marathon in Mendoza.”  After that they would go their separate ways.  James back to work and Luke to continue his 4 month travel. An older lady from Seward, Alaska joined us.  Turns out she was originally from Peabody Massachusetts and had been in Seward for 25 years.  Now she was a safety officer at a fish plant.  Two months unemployed in winter so she travels.  She was biking a bit and then would join a friend for a Holland America cruise from Buenas Aires to the Antarctica waters for a week or so.  They do not land as the ship is much too big and there are a thousand people...

Irregular Posts; Colonia del Sacremento, Uruguay

Saturday, Dec 17 2011 Buenas Dias. After a breakfast of coffee, juice, and breads with toppings at the hostel in Colonia, we ventured out.  Last night was heavy showery, and windy but today opened warm and sunny.  I wore a jacket in case the rain and wind blew in.  But it was soon obvious that it was not needed.  It was too early for any of the museos or businesses to be open.  Those in the Barrio Historico open at 11:15A.  The first high speed ferry from Buenas Aires arrives about that time.  There were a few folks about.  All live or had overnighted here. Thin high clouds filtered the sunlight and made it gentle.  The breeze was warm.  Old buildings of rough natural stone or of colored stucco had nice texture.  Old stone streets from the 1690s were basically deserted.  These are not smooth cobbles, but very uneven stone.  They are not for folks with walking issues. Colonia was founded by the Portuguese from Rio de Janero in 1690 to keep an eye on the Spanish in Buenas Aires.  Old Portuguese architecture is of rough stone and slanted red tile roofs, while  Spanish roofs are flat. Last night we photographed a red 1947 Studebaker on a colonial stone street.  The rain gave it a shine that reflected the colored stucco buildings nearby. Today it sat in gentle sunlight.  Again we spent a few dozen images on the subject.  An Argentinian photog, a French woman, and Meg and I shot it from many angles.  A local friendly cat supervised our work. Lunch was in a little cheese and wine...