Antarctica Adventure - 2002

But the people were still friendly and smiling in the streets and restaurants. After supper on the terrace again, our room beckoned with showers and comfy beds. We knew, too, that the real adventure started tomorrow when we had to be up and in the lobby by 4:30 AM to board our bus for a trip to the domestic airport to catch our chartered flight to Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego. So it was lights out at 10PM. U SHUAIA AND THE MS H ANSEATIC Day 3 We had set our clock for 4 AM knowing that we could be dressed and downstairs in plenty of time; however, the cruise personnel apparently did not trust its passengers and must have told the hotel to give us all wake-up calls at 3 AM. Bummer! So we and stayed abed until 3:30 and then stirred about getting ready to go to the lobby. There were grapefruit juice and small croissants awaiting us as a reward. Shortly thereafter, we got on the bus as scheduled. The domestic airport was quite new having been just finished the year before the economic crisis occurred. It was very nice and very well organized. Our flight left at 6:30 AM and we were in Ushuaia by 9:30 AM. There was a big fiasco with the luggage as the folks in Tierra del Fuego tried to figure out how to apply the new security restrictions to arriving luggage. We waited over an hour while the authorities decided how we would reclaim our luggage before it was put on buses to be transferred to the ship. Finally, they unloaded the bags onto the baggage carousels and we each had to identify and claim our luggage, carry it to the main entry-way, and then leave it again this time to the ship’s baggage handlers. And all this was dealing with luggage arriving at this airport from within the same country! Can’t imagine what it would have been like to have been leaving the city by air. We were puzzled but never did get a satisfactory answer to the dilemma. However, one thing that traveling teaches is patience and a willingness to “go along” without any rational understanding of why things are as they are. Next, we were put on buses into town and we were really amazed at the changes in this little “southernmost city in the world" since our last visit 13 years ago. When we were here before, there was a population of about 20,000 and now there are 45,000. There was no industry to speak of then and very few tourists; the town was small and tightly packed into a downtown area with a museum, a couple of small and rudimentary hotels, a few simple restaurants, and some service businesses like grocery stores, gas stations, book stores, etc. Now, the city was much more spread out and there were Internet cafes on everyblock.

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