Boating the Beagle with Faith

With some friends in tow we all went for an adventure along the Beagle Channel out from Ushuaia in the big catamaran from Canoero. It was an amazing trip past islands filled with birds and seals and the famous Lighthouse at the End of the World. We made it down to the penguins and saw hundreds of them before stopping briefly at Harberton Ranch to let off and board some new passengers. This was the last port of call and we quickly made our way back along the channel to our home port in Ushuaia. Fantastic sights and overall fun time that is not reflected well in this tiny and short, poorly made video. It seems I’d forgotten momentarily how to use the video program. All the same, a memory worth keeping.

Moving South

My journey here was long and slow. The bus was delayed 8 hours so instead of boarding at 7pm as expected, I boarded at 3am and we left at 3.40am in the morning. Terrible. I got no sleep until 5am in the morning as we were constantly told the bus would only be another couple of hours each time.

Seeing my friends off at the terminal

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Flash Visit to Buenos Aires

For two days I visited Buenos Aires. The reason? To retrieve my permanent residency that I have been waiting almost 6 months for. The result? They told me it was not ready yet and I needed to come back in another two months. So after travelling the 18 hours to get to Buenos Aires, I spent a night there and returned the next day.

Bus travel

After the jump there are some photos from my visit…

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Swine Flu in Argentina

It seems that the whole world is buzzing with the phrase, “Swine Flu,” and for good reason. A rather potent flu virus that emerged out of Mexico seems to be reaching to every corner of the world. Here in Argentina the first cases arrived in Buenos Aires and since then they have been unstoppable. In my town of Puerto Madryn it arrived through a doctor who had returned from a journey to Mexico.

Puerto Madryn city

The main street of Puerto Madryn.

Each town and city has a similar story. One person came back and did not know they had it, and before it could be contained, more people had contracted it. Until it was too prolific to be controlled. As this flu continues to sweep through most (if not all) the towns in Argentina, some cities are realising that they need to take drastic measures to try and contain it.

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A Train at High Tide

Weaving my way through the crowded Florida Street Mall, it was hard to think of anything other than getting back to my room. The last few days had seen me flat on my back from a nasty flu and even though I thought my strength had returned, this outing had proved otherwise. Any remaining strength was waning quickly as I struggled through the heart of Buenos Aires in the middle of peak hour. This was the last place I really wanted to be right now.

Reaching the entrance to the subway I allowed my feet to slide lazily down the steps while holding onto the side rail and concentrating on staying upright. Passing through the turnstiles it becomes clear that coming here was probably a bad idea. People lined against the edge of the platform from one end to the other. The masses waiting for a train stood in silence, forming a wall over five bodies deep, and a nervousness filled the air while the people waited impatiently for the train to arrive.

The sardines in a can

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Tales of Travel in Argentina

It was 3.50pm by the time I called the taxi agency again. Where was that taxi that they had promised me for 3.45? My bus was leaving at 4.07pm and with a 10 minute drive from here to the terminal, time was getting tight. It shouldn’t have been this way, as I had already arranged everything, which would have given me plenty of time to get down there. Now, as the phone rang, I wondered what had happened to my driver.

The same young girl who had taken my first call and booked the taxi answered the phone again. I introduced myself, “Hi, I’m from the Quintas,” I said, “and I would like to know where my taxi is?” The moment I finished those words, there was a gasp and then a flurry of activity on the other side of the telephone, before she squeaked, “Oh! The Quintas! Yes! The Quintas! Oh my…! I’m sending a car now!” and with that she hung up.

Looking at Madryn city from the Quintas

The view of Puerto Madryn City from the Quintas. It is normally a 10 minute drive to town.

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My Flight Left Without Me

qantas jet

Ok, well, it’s like this… I’m still in Australia even though my flight left (without me) over 9 hours ago.

Tell me about it. Talk about crazy stuff! My bags are still packed, I have a Brazilian visa in my passport (that will never get used), and had all of my travel organized, even down to people I’m staying with and everything. And now I’m not going…
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Three Days in Miami

“They were three intense days in Miami,” I thought to myself as my plane taxied to the runway at Miami airport. Recapping over the events I realise that in retrospect it would have been wiser to have arranged more days here in the United States. But then my thinking was, “how much time does it take to buy a computer?” Apparently a lot more than I first thought.

Upon arrival in Miami, after settling into the YWAM base and getting to know the people, I had headed out in the afternoon and bought the laptop that I had waited two years to get. A MacBook Pro and various accessories were now in my possession, and I was very happy about it too. Everything seemed to be going really well.

The Apple Shop in The Falls Shopping Centre

The problem came not with these items but rather with all of the requests of others back in Argentina. Not only this, but every item that I purchased needed to be tested and proved to be good before I took them out of the country or else any warranty would be lost and the item would be an expensive anchor. So after each purchase, I removed the item from its packaging and proceded to use it until satisfied that it was fully functional. That took quite a lot of time as some items required learning how to use them first before I could actually test them or know if they were working as they should.

So with the first day going so well I expected everything to be over by the next morning, but it was not to be. The store that should have had the camera did not have it, and everything else was a long way away. My memory of where things were was very compressed based on previous experiences only being in vehicles, so when I decided to “wander” up to the store “nearby” little did I realise that it was about 6 kilometres away (4 miles).

Distances are a lot further than they seem in Miami (the bus lane)

After over an hour of walking in sandals that caused blisters on my feet, I finally and tenderly arrived at my destination. It did not have the camera that I needed. The thought of returning by foot was too much, so I took the bus and travelled right past my stop until finally reaching a centre that sold the camera I had been asked to purchase. Returning triumphantly to the YWAM base I was pleased to have finally purchased everything on the list and was happy to now be able to rest.

On the last day there is a sudden last request. Somebody wants a laptop and there is a couple who can take it with them down to Argentina in the next couple of days… so I race out in the morning to buy the laptop. Thinking that it would be a quick process, I am stunned to discover that the Apple Store has some sort of technical failure of their equipment and had to use the old imprint system for the purchase, using a pen to rub over the paper and produce the numbers because even the old imprinter did not work. Of course I then need to check that it works properly.

Apple Store: The only way we were able to complete the purchase... old technology

Mobile Hands is a service that I have started to provide to those who need it. Loosely termed a ministry, it is basically just me wandering around the place helping people out in any way I can. YWAM Miami needed a new website. The rest of my time with them I spent working on their website, creating something that would work for them using the system that they currently have. Unfortunately, after so much hard work, we discover that there is no way of being able to publish this new design. It remains saved but unseen to this day.

Just then the engines roar into life and I am pushed back into my seat. We are taking off. My time in Miami has come to an end. Although there were plans for some time at the beach and to hang out with the YWAMers here the time slipped away too fast. That is why the next time I stop somewhere I will be sure to make it somewhat longer than just three days. Three days seems a lot on paper, but I discovered during this visit that it really is a very short time.

Flying out of Miami

Now I am on my way. El Salvador is only a few more hours away.