Flip Flop Flying

Halfway, at the end of the world

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Today marks the halfway point of my trip. It’s three months, or thirteen weeks, or 90 days since I was sat at Heathrow waiting to get on an aeroplane. Not an insignificant amount of time, really. I’ve been to six different countries (Mexico, Belize, Panama, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina); I’ve used 17 aeroplanes, ten buses, and one ferry. I’ve slept in 23 different beds (plus one bus seat and an airport floor). And I’ve had the time of my life. And it feels good to be at this stage of my trip in this place. The self-proclaimed Southernmost City in the World. A couple of months ago, I’d never been south of the equator, and here I am; as far south as you can go and still be able to buy Camel cigarettes. I’ve only had a few pinch-myself moments (watching a game in the Estadio Azteca, swimming in the Caribbean Sea of Belize, standing in front of the cathedral in Brasilia), but I had another yesterday after I’d bought the ticket to take the boat trip, I was like, “I can’t believe this! I’m going to see some sea lions in their natural habitat!”

Do you think that if a sea lion ever saw a lion, they’d turn to the nearest human and say, “What the fuck!? We don’t look anything like them! You humans are mental…” Then a sea horse would swim up alongside the sea lion and fold its non-existent arms and nod its head and he’d high five the sea lion. Obviously, he wouldn’t know that high fiving a sea lion would mean that he’d be knocked about ten metres into the air, and he’d have a really big bruise. And then a sea urchin would float up to the surface, wearing a cravat and a monocle, smoking a pipe, and he’d say, “I concur, your naming methods are simply appalling. And no, you impertinent oik, I do not want another bowl of gruel.”

Anyway, last night I slept underneath a “duvet.” It’s quite a pleasant item. It’s like a very thick sheet that keeps you warm. I think they’ll catch on and be all the rage someday. The B&B; where I’m staying seems nice. The middle-aged woman who runs it speaks no English; I speak very little Spanish, but we manage to get along with what needs to be said. She’s got a cocker spaniel, too. Weird that the two B&Bs; I’ve stayed in this week both had cockers. This one, Fredo, is a real cutiepie. He’s exceedingly friendly, greets me at the door, and lifts his paws up to say hello like Billy does. He’ll sit down next to me, put a paw up over and over again, and then when I put my hand down to stroke his paw, he kinda flops sideways and rolls on to his back ready for a proper bit of stroking.

It was snowing this morning. Turned to rain fairly quickly, though, and it’s been fairly grim all day. Still beautiful, though. Clouds covering most of the mountains. The odd bit of sunlight peaking through brighting the place up.

I had a day wandering around the town, listened to the iPod (can’t get enough of “In Rainbows” and Richard Swift at the moment), and visited three museums. Museo del Fin del Mundo (on a street called Maipú; pronounced “my poo”) is all about the town. Maps, old bits and bobs, stuffed animals, some arrowheads, that kinda stuff. Is there any museum in the whole world that doesn’t have some knackered old arrowheads?

The Museo Yámana is all about the native folks who used to live down here. Quite a nice little museum this, with lots of nice models. The Yámana lived their lives naked and covered in seal grease to protect them from the weather until Johnny European turned up with his prudish ways and made them cover up. Whale and seat hunting by us Europeans also left the Yámana with less food. To put the nail in the coffin, we gave them diseases that they had no immunity against. Well done, us.

Next stop Museo Presidio in the city’s former prison. Cool place for a museum. It wasn’t just a prison museum, though; it was also the maritime museum, with a few other bits and bobs thrown in for good measure (Antarctic exploration, Malvinas stuff, and one wing that hadn’t been done up and was as the prison was, ie. pretty grim). My tummy was growling by this point, and there was lots to look at, so I kinda skimmed through this place. Was interesting to see some stuff from the Falklands War, though. Good to see stuff from the other side for once, rather than the British tabloid we-twatted-the-Argies view.

It wasn’t until near the end that I noticed a “no photos” sign, so, y’know, I was naughty. But, fuck it, it was a relatively expensive museum, and when I asked for a ticket, the woman at the cash desk asked where I was from and then told me the price, 35 pesos. The next guy, an Argentinian, was asked to pay 20 pesos. The fucking crooks. Plus, if you lose the key to the locker where you must put your bag, I think they take you out back and give you a go on the iron maiden.

It continued raining, so I returned to the B&B;, and had a little lie down. Tomorrow, hopefully, I’ll get out again and have a good, activity-filled day. There’s three or four things I wanna do with the rest of my time here, but I’m not in the mood to plan my days too much, so I’ll decide when I wake up.

But now, I will go back out in the rain to the one place I’ve found in town with wifi to drop these words into Blogger and put them online. And as has happened whenever I wear them, passers-by will give me funny looks cos of my headphones. Why is it that people insist on looking at me like I’m a retard if I’m wearing my big headphones? I mean, yeh, they might look a bit dumb, but all it means is I like listening to music. It’s not like my ears are actually that size and shape. And anyway, in a place like this, they double as excellent earmuffs.

Anyway, as it is the halfway point of the trip, here’s a few extra photos from the last three months. Photos that I like, but haven’t used on the blog for one reason or another.

Olympic stadium, Mexico City.

A tall man and a short man, Mexico City.

A leaf that looks like a bird at Juliana’s mum’s house, Brasilia.

Blinds at Brasilia airport.

A rock pool, Punta del Diablo.

Mum was washing reds, Colonia del Sacramento.

I like the scratches on aeroplane windows.

A sign outside a hotel, with a map of how to get to the hotel you will have already found, here in Ushuaia.

Written by Craig

April 10th, 2008 at 8:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses to 'Halfway, at the end of the world'

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  1. Craig,
    Thanks for the updates on your trip and for letting me vicariously have an adventure vacation though you. Go Liverpool!

    Dana Constance

    11 Apr 08 at 8:16 pm

  2. Haha ‘several problems’ I like it

    Tierra del Fuego sounds like just what you needed. Mind you we had a hailstorm in Oxford St yesterday so, y’know… only cost £2 on the tube to get there. No sea lions though.

    Mark

    12 Apr 08 at 11:01 am

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