To think that I am still on week 4 of my journals and trips when I still have 4 more months to go through!
Guess that’s something to think about and look forward to ~
>>>> Photos for this post can be found here: USHUAIA TOWN TOUR <<<<
Let’s get started!
After my late night bus trip I finally arrived at Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina – the southern most town in AR and here’s a fun fact – the first homosexual couple in Latin America or at least South America married there. Yay to freedom! Ohhh tangents. Anyway, I got there around 9pm and found my hostel: FreeStyleBackpackers which is somewhat near the center, but uphill enough to be able to wander around the smallish city (more like a large town).
The people running the hostel were around their mid-twenties and fairly trendy enough to have a few computers and televisions around the lounge area. The upstairs contained a fun-looking ping-pong table and usable couches which would come in handy when we wanted to hang out and flirt with cute and foreign back-packers.
One of my travel-mates, S, had her blackberry and thumbed away at her keys for most of the time, but eventually we got her to come out of her shell with a few bottles of Quilmes. The other, E, a shy but more sociable girl wandered the hostel with me. We came upon an open dorm room and spotted to young “men”, around our age (oh to be in age and maturity limbo – not a boy, not a man, not a girl, not a woman – what fun!). I, being enthusiastically outgoing and slightly uninhibited by my bottle number 1, merely poked my head in and grinned. “Hullo” one said, in a fun and cute british accent grinning equally if not more eagerly. The game was in motion.
Having been somewhat involved with another man who was stuck in Buenos Aires (and as we were still courting one another (oh language)) I was simply looking for some fun company and maybe a little bit of eye-candy for my pretty girl friend. These fellows, or blokes as they say, were attractive enough in my book (personality and looks-wise – I’m not so shallow haha – ‘perfectly tolerable but not enough to tempt me’, thank you very much Jane Austen) so we entered and began to chat about this and that, and pangs of jealousy arrived in my gut when I heard that they had already been to the Galapagos islands and everywhere else one could dream to visit, as they conveniently came from big money. In fact, one already owned a house in the Italian countryside and the other happened to be the grandson of a lord – who was even invited to the Royal Wedding! It’s fun when things like that exist in real life – something to entertain the everyday ‘common girl’ like myself haha. After their time here, they were to go up north and travel the long trail to the oh so famous and magical Machu Picchu.
We convinced them to join us for a few tasty and cheap brews (10 pesos for a kilo) and as the night continued and eyes were flirtatiously batting and oogling, I felt somewhat proud of my contained flirtatiousness and loyalty to that blasted pre-paid cellular phone – in other words…I couldn’t help myself from sending a text to that Porteno I had been seeing…..
We woke up the next morning and spent our time walking around the town and visiting the port – the water was brilliantly blue and it glistened under the bright and sunny weather.
As we walked back to our hostel, our male companion, D, started to feel slightly dizzy and out of breath. The night before he had been concerned with the amount of smoke from cigarettes that had wafted into our room from the outside garden where people were smoking. Worried, we stopped for a moment at the top of the hill and asked if he felt he was having some type of allergic or asthmatic reaction – my thoughts were in the direction of a panic attack as he just seemed too young for a heart problem and as I have asthma myself, the signs just weren’t the same. Being in a foreign country, and especially a small town where we weren’t sure of any medical facility, we resorted to calling the police. A patrol car stopped by soon after and was able to give us the name and location of the closest and only hospital. We quickly flagged down a taxi at a queue, cutting in front of a woman holding a baby, but as E felt it was an emergency, I guess things like that just happen sometimes. When we got to the “emergency room” which was basically a hallway, a few chairs, and three sketchy looking doors with who-knows-what laying behind them, D, and our best spanish speaking companion, S, went into the 1st room. This meant that E and I were stuck helplessly sitting in that hallway with 1 chair left as the others were taken up by elderly.
I called the program director to inform her just in case anything happened, and then we waited. and waited. I think I went to the bathroom 3 times before finally S came out and explained they were doing some heart monitoring and oxygen giving… Eventually it turned out okay, and I’m not really sure what it ended up being, but D seemed fine enough – He ended up staying overnight at his host mother’s sister’s home – lucky that she was living down there at the time, huh. The funniest part about this was the way the forms were filled out for him and the insurance company. D’s last name: MacDonald, isn’t a very common name in Latin America, as anyone could guess. The easiest way he could explain to someone how to say and spell his name was to say “mi appellido es como el restaurante, conoces McDonald’s?” My last name is like the restaurant, you know McDonalds? And they would go “Ahhh, si, si”.
This time, in a hilarious end to the unfortunate events that occurred, in his hand was a crumpled up paper that said “D– Restaurante”. I smile to myself when I remember little things like that. Ah the wonders of language and culture.
We ended the evening back at the hostel after a nice mexican dinner (we had a craving – though Ushuaia is most famous for its seafood) and hung out with the friendly Brits, excited and jittery for the morning to come when we would take a boat to visit the Penguinos!
I feel asleep last night, like most nights since I’ve been away from Buenos Aires, feeling a sense of loss, looking over to the empty pillow next to me and sensing that “change” and “another dimension” are words which describe me now. Every moment, breath, event always affects oneself – but I have encountered things in these last few weeks – and mainly from June-July, that have jolted me out of my self entirely. As I return back to my ghostlike self, I can sense the normalcy of habitual patterns and calmness, but it is not the same. Nor will it ever be. Nor does it need to be.
I write now, able to finally bring myself into my time in Argentina and my time post-Argentina, finally to reflect a bit more, and to sit for more than an hour in one place – something quite impossible to do in Buenos Aires, with all that seemed to go on in my life there. So, this summer, which seems to be increasingly shorter than I thought, I will – instead of staring at walls, gardens, ceilings, and stars, open my notebook and re-read the words I scribbled during my time in South America, and the final years of my “youth-hood”.
A scary thought, that I am now 21 years old, and of course feel at the same time a young girl and a young woman. I don’t believe that will ever change.
This year I experienced:
A new language, a new culture (a few in fact), new dances such as break dancing and tango, new friends – from the U.S. (even my own UMASS) and from all over the world, a new lover, a new kind of pain, a new kind of living, and a new way to breathe.
All in all, there were no regrets, only enjoyment and learning. I embrace the highs and the lows, I embrace it all.
I can’t wait to go on living and see what it has in store for me. But I will say this. I must strive to be pro-active. Waiting takes out all the fun.