el fin del mundo

buenos dias, amigos!

get out yer globes and turn em upside down. yo tengo una cuenta de la semana
pasada… and it goes a lil somethin like this:

first, the bus from puerto natales to ushuaia: 15 horas, solo pampa. well,
we did take a ferry across the strait of magellan, landing us on la isla
tierra del fuego, but other than that, nothing much to see but the vast
grasslands, splattered with an occassional guanaco or �andu (a flightless
bird, much like the ostrich you all know and love). good times for sleeping,
if you can manage to drown out the noisy chatter of mobs of israelis and the
high decibel pre-programmed bus soundtrack of wailing chilenos and
panpipes…

but then we arrived in ushuaia, argentina, “el ciudad mas austral del
mundo.” the southernmost city in the world. yeah, that pointy part at the
bottom of the continent, just above that white blob that says “antarctica.”
if that’s not damn cool, i don’t know what is. i’ve come clear from 40
degrees north latitude to below 54 degrees south…. and that’s just
geography. more impressive is the topography, the rugged highly

metamorphosed fuegian andes, with their ancient beech forests dripping in
moss, brushing up against the freakin atlantic ocean. �que bonito, que
lindo, ushuaia! and the city is hot stuff, super clean and modern, all kinds
of flavor, glacier-spilling peaks arriba, a harbor full of quaint little
boats abajo. and the weather changes every five minutes, hace calor y
despues hace frio, con sol, viento, lluvia, nieve, todo en una dia…
actually, in many ways, quite comparable to alaska. but clear down here.

we travelled with a frenchie pal, pierre, who we met in puerto natales, and
after wandering around for awhile playing turistas, the three of us
commenced to a marathon 2-day trek in the vast range cerca del ciudad.
totally different than what we had experienced in the last two treks, remote
and wild–the lack of a developed trail and “famous” attractions reduced the
crowds to almost nil. que bueno. sure, we got lost plenty of times,
bushwhacking through bogs and mud and patagonian jungle, but we also got
some excellent vistas all to ourselves… a lofty cirque all full of glacier
(that we got up close and personal with), a gorgeous lago, eye-popping
turquoise hue, nestled below pyramid peaks, a surreal stony pass to navigate
in torrential wind and rain… and what could be more fun than cramming 3
people in a 2 person tent (guess who got to be in the middle)? “good times”
would be a major understatement…

thanks to pierre’s culinary inspiration, when we weren’t trekking, we ended
up cooking at the hostel kitchens every night and eating like champions (por
ejemplo, local pescado fresco con arroz y verduras, and postres perfectos,
like bananas flambe con chocolate y helado). we also whooped it up with some
of the locals (our friends at the hostel el jardin) on our last night in
town, which made it fun for alex and i to wake up at 5 am and catch our bus
back north the following morning… and even more fun once we hit the
serpentine highway and our driver, speed racer, was taking corners at warp
speed (the “no-puke challenge,” and we had some close calls). several bus
hours and two days later, we have returned to puerto natales, and ma�ana,
back to calafate, that legendary place where it all began…

and then, alex flies back to buenos aires and luego, los estados unidos on
the 28th. and what will become of jules? �quien sabe? stay tuned…

abrazos y besos, jules