The Real World.
Woa that’s a lot of laundry
I was back in my apartment by 9:00AM Sunday morning, and before I tackled the mountains of laundry I decided to treat myself to a welcome-home Murray’s Bagel. As I stood bundled up on line to pay for the outrageously priced cream cheese, the music changed and Rupert Holmes’ voice came over the speakers. If you like pina coladas…. I instinctively looked around for Mindy and Shannon to share the laugh, but instead I was surrounded by strangers who didn’t get the joke.
But a half an hour later Shannon sent a text:
“If you like cold empanadas
And getting stuck on a train.
If you’re not into blood sausage
And don’t want to eat brain.
Then you could meet me by tomorrow noon
And we could jet far away…”
How long until our next vacation?
Logistics at the Hotel Rochester
We finally used a morning to sleep in and set the alarm for a scandalous 9:40. I was awake about a half-hour before and used the quiet time to shower and get myself ready until time to wake the girls with a Stephen-wake-up, “Good mooooorning, ladies. Good morning! The time is 9:33. You have one entire day left in your vacation. There are no albatross, but there is a high probability of shopping today. The weather is hot and humid. Breakfast will be served for another twenty-seven minutes.”
We weren’t sure whose idea it was to stay out until all hours of the night when we had a morning flight to catch. But it wasn’t a very good one.
We were not moving very quickly this morning. When Luis the cab driver found us in the hotel restaurant, we were slowly sipping our coffee/tea and not actually speaking. Of course he was full of fun and life at 8:30 AM, so happy to drive us to the airport and to answer our questions about why the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad (which was sitting on his dashboard) was life-changing. We were happy to let him talk and talk because then we didn’t have to.
At the airport we discovered our 10:00 flight was delayed to 11:30. Sure would have liked that extra hour of sleep. Instead we passed the time in the airport cafe writing in our journals, snoozing, and – of course – laughing at the photos we’d taken the night before.
Shannon, catching some zzzzzs
Mindy, dreaming of her travel pillow
Luis picked us up at 8:45 to take us to the park for our 4-wheel drive and soaking speedboat ride through the Iguazu River. He gave us a discount on the taxi ride since he got a commission for bringing us to the Iguazu Safari Company – the only company that can run trips through the park. (the monopoly would become relevant later) While we waited for Luis’ friend Mario to process our payments, we talked to Luis about his cup of mate (pronounced mah-tay); the traditional tea that the majority of Argentineans carried around in thermoses and drank out of gourds with long silver straws. We’d wondered what it tasted like so Luis offered us some of his. Definitely more bitter than I was expecting. I thought it tasted like a liquid-form of tobacco, but Mindy thought it tasted like really strong tea.
We caught an early (eeeeaaaarlllllyyy) morning flight to Iguazu, Argentina, in the northern part of the country on the border with Brazil. Iguazu Falls is as big if not bigger than Victoria Falls and larger than Niagra, and we decided it was the perfect way to finish off our trip.
Not only was this day stunning, but it was also Culture on Crack. We woke up exceptionally early to catch an 8AM ferry ride to Colonia, Uruguay – which was unfortunately the only ferry time we could reserve yesterday but in hindsight was not such a bad thing since it dragged us early out of bed for what would be an exceptional day.
Sunrise over Buenos Aires (more…)
The boat docked in Ushuaia sometime after midnight, and we were woken one last time to Stephen’s “Good moooooorning, ladies and gentlemen. Good morning!” wake up call. We finished our packing and had breakfast in the dining room before saying our goodbyes, leaving the Polaris, and catching the bus to the airport. Only about 30 of us were flying to Buenos Aires – the rest had plans for further travel in and around southern Argentina. We, however, had plans to the north.
Pouty Mindy and Shannon, boarding the plane. So sad Antarctica is over. (more…)
The Drake Shake quieted the closer we got to Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. The sun was out and – though windy – there were ample opportunities for albatross sightings and photos. The expedition team was very good at encouraging us to be out on deck as much as possible. Part of this is probably because they know that passengers “stranded” indoors get antsy and often unhappy. But mostly it was because they are each passionate about the birds and the marine life and they want us to see everything we can, and the only place to see it was out on deck. When we got wrapped up in our cardgames and picture swapping, we’d forget that in a matter of days we wouldn’t have the opportunity to see these birds anymore.
I’ve never slept in a dryer, but I imagine the night before was a taste of what it was like. The boat rocked. The boat rolled. And our bodies would bump back and forth all over the little cabin beds. I think my head actually ran into the headboard/wall at one point – so not the easiest sleep but I’m thankful we the trip had lasted this long without nightmare swells like this.
I slept for a full eight hours that night, which was such a treat after the string of 4-5 hour nights. So I woke feeling like a champ and ready to do our final landing in the afternoon.
The morning was travel time – it would take us a few hours to get to Penguin Island just next to King George’s Island and that would be our last landing before we leave for Ushuaia. We passed the time looking at each others’ photos and going to a few lectures.