Unexpected exit from Ushuaia

I arrived in plenty of time for check in at Ushuaia airport for my DAP flight to Punta Arenas  in Chile. I figured that any spare time could be used to charge my gadgets, update my blog and have lunch. It didn’t work out like that.

Checked my bag, went through security into the rarely used international departure waiting area and found myself alone.image No food outlet and lavatories were locked. All I had was half a bottle of water and with a stomach like mine, the morning after the night before, I started to panic. With no charge points I could not even while away the time on my blog.

After some time I was joined by four chinese who were as bewildered as I. I paced the area, occasionally looking out of the window, when I saw a small twin prop aircraft land. It then dawned on me that with few passengers DAP were not using their jet but the De Havilland twin otter that I had wanted to fly on in the first place.

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If only I had known I wouldn’t have had the last Jamesons or two, I would have eaten something and I certainly would have used the lavatory, as there are none on a twin otter.

The fear was transferring to my bowels when I remembered some emergency medication I was carrying and with an hour to go before take off it should kick in. First a sublingual quick acting immodium tablet followed five minutes later by a temazapam tablet. My old company doctor used to give me temazapam as it is a relaxant enabling sleep on long haul flight. It has other properties for which it is not prescribed so often. It is a strong anti-emetic for cancer patients and it also prevents travel sickness. Just the job for this turbulent flight lasting 1.5 hours as opposed to less than one hour by jet.

Six other US and Spanish passengers completed the manifest and finally someone came to unlock the bathroom doors and there was a stampede.

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Time for boarding and we were led with an escort fore and aft along corriders through domestic arrival halls and on to the tarmac where or plane awaited. We scrambled aboard, sat where we liked and because there were only eleven of us on this 19 seater there was plenty of room. Both my tablets had kicked in and I was feeling good. I took some pics as we took of and watched for a while as we passed the mountains.

Then I had the relaxant benefit of the temazapam and fell asleep for an hour!!

 

Aeroclub Ushuaia

I have definitely felt better than when I woke up on Saturday morning but the sun was shining so it was possible that I could take a flight down the Beagle Channel. I called the Aeroclub and they were able to fit me in at 9.15.

I quickly packed, checked out of the hostel and drove to the old airport, where the club is based. I was to fly in a 1974 !! Piper Cherokee with a pilot younger than the plane. Would you believe they can get four into this tin can.

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It had also just started to rain with heavy cloud moving in quickly. The pilot, Federico, gave me the headphones to enable us to converse, and went through his pre-take-off checks. I made a mental check myself that my stomach was also OK for take off. Were away.

The rain dampened the experience a little but it was great to get a clearer understanding of the mountains on both the Chilean and Argentine sides of the Beagle Channel. We also passed over Ushuaia city and down the Beagle Channel as far as the famous lighthouse.

See the landing in the rain HERE.

Evening to remember

We have all done it. Want a good restaurant, want to enjoy a local speciality, want a good location and check out the guide book  But in reality many restaurants, especially those open since the late 19 c, are trading on their past glory which is now faded somewhat.

This was my curate’s egg experience at Volver in Ushuaia which specialised in centolla (king crab). Great crab starter, excellent wine, overcooked steak (I didnt have to pay for it) and slow service. I was not the only one suffering there were lots of international murmurings in the restaurant that night. However, it was a wonderful location and a beautiful evening, not recorded on camera as my cell phone battery had become drained. Anyway the romantic in me just enjoyed the moment. I was sitting facing the historic Beagle Channel, named after the survey ship HMS Beagle on which Charles Darwin travelled in 1833, and the sun was shining on the Chilean mountains, 4 miles across the water. The musak was playing ‘Killing me softly’ and the restaurant, which was opened in 1896, had walls covered with old newspapers.

I decline a dessert or coffee and head out into a 10pm sunset.

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Time for a nightcap so I head to the Dublin bar for a coffee and a Jamesons. It is rammed but I squeeze onto a stool at the bar. As I add a little water to my Jamesons two guys across the bar shout “No” in unison with their thumbs down and laugh. I move around to join them and explain that if they had my heartburn they would also add warer. Pierre and Vincent were French extreme backpackers (sleeping in a tent and hitchhiking) who were both funny and charming despite the BO. Pierre an ex banker had been on the go 11 months and intended to carry on for another two years or for five if Marine le Pent wins the French presidential election.

A couple a whiskies, some French banter and some fun with the smashed Aerolineas aircrew, celebrating one of their own birthday, made for a great evening.

El Tren del Fin del Mundo

The end of the world train is the world’s southernmost train. It used to carry supplies to a penal colony in what is now the Tierra del Fuego national park. The train was resurrected in 1994 as a tourist attraction and now operates 365 days a year. No wrong type of snow on this line !!

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Lack of time precluded taking this journey but instead I drove out to meet the last returning train of the day, which yiu can see HERE.  Small steam trains pull attractive rolling stock with a variety of class options.