Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Southern Loop - Day 9 - The End of the World

It's after 10pm and I've managed to find a quiet corner of the ship void of people. The night is overcast so the sea is as dark as the sky is black. This is the second day in a row 'at sea' and I've found that my biggest challenge isn't dealing with the rocking and swaying of the Southern Pacific, but rather the near impossible task of finding a quiet place to sit with just the voices in my head as opposed to the voices of all the passengers aboard. As of right now, the solitude I've managed to find has come by way of downing two cups of coffee and then lurking in the shadows of the upper decks of the ship.

After Cape Horn we veered northwest towards Ushuaia, Argentina, the southern most city in the world. The city is located in a region of South America known as Tierra del Fuego, and has been a semi-frequent topic of discussion since we moved to Buenos Aires. Also known as Fin del Mundo (The End of the World) this place has stood as a distant curiosity to most people and despite my added research it remained shrouded by a blanket of translucent details. I had never met anyone who had actually been there, thus what little of it I heard from people had been passed on from friends of friends, adding a mythical air to this extreme southerly place.

Ushuaia's modern existence began as a penal colony and what I expected to see was a barren "end of the earth" port city, however unlike the islands that surround Cape Horn it was far from barren. It was a place that reminded me about what I missed most, outside of friends, about home (California). Like getting to a place that is absent of concrete. Where crowds of scrambling rambling people are replaced by the silence and stillness of towering masses of trees. Ascending a mountain and elevating a view. The smell of wet dirt, aging bark, and all of the other things that pervade the nose in the absence of consumption and exhaust. As I walked through the autumn air it didn't take long before I knew that some day, many months from now, I would eventually find my way back to this place, for just like the empty shadowy places I've grown found of disappearing to on this big moving mass of steel, the forested mountains of Ushuaia were a quiet place for the traffic jam of thoughts in my head to decongest themselves.

approaching port from sea

the "End of the World" post office

postal Gorilla

April means Fall in the Southern Hemisphere and every year this is the first place in the world that the colors of the leaves start to change.

Bahia Lapataia: where Argentine Highway 3 goes to die

looking down on the city of Ushuaia

Currently Reading:
Winslow Homer
by Carl Little

Currently Listening To:
As many of the voices in my head as I can and ...

Song: Where Is My Mind
Artist: Pixies
Album: Fight Club Soundtrack
(for T.Baas)

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