Ushuaia to Buenos Aires

24 03 2008

That was much quicker!

Stefan, Sabine and I didn’t really enjoy Ushuaia. Partially this was because we thought everything was overpriced, but I think it was mostly because the weather was bad. It rained or was very overcast every day. Pity. We did get one good view of the mountains that tower over the city – while we were at the airport waiting for the flight. I think we spent more time in the internet café than nearly anywhere else. But when it is raining, cold and generally miserable, what can you do?

Well, you can ride down dirt roads to the end of Ruta 3… I had to go as far as I could! I got a face-full of mud for my trouble, and ended up cleaning the bike in the rain, but now I can say I’ve been to the end of the road.

We briefly tossed up the possibility of busing up to Buenos Aires. But the two or three buses would have summed to around 50 hours for the 3000+ kms. Or, for about 50% extra, we could get there in 4 hours. I didn’t really have any need or desire to be fast, but the thought of avoiding such a long time in the bus had (even me) reaching into the pockets for a bit more cash.

The flight from Ushuaia to BA was reasonably uneventful. That is, until we tried to land. I’ve been on a few commercial jet flights. But not once have they had to abort a landing. As we approached we could see the storm, there was a huge cloud front and plenty of lightning. It was pretty obvious that the wind was strong; the plane was bouncing around all over the place. The pilot tried to bring us down anyway, was over the runway just about to touch down and a gust of wind took us off to the side. This was no zephyr. With a scream of engines, we were given a second chance to look at this storm, from above. We cruised around for a while over the city (quite low) and were given a bit of a tour. We flew over to the domestic terminal and landed there instead. A bit of a bonus for us – instead of a 35km trip to the city center, we now had only about 4km.

Moments after the plane had parked, another plane attempted to land. Still sealed in the aluminium tube, we heard it approach, and then the scream of engines as it too, aborted the landing. It is rather disconcerting to see a plane, maybe 20m of off the ground sailing along at what can only be described as a jaunty angle. It may suit a tango dancers fez, but for a plane it just looks silly. The storm had obviously reached the city, just after us.

And what a welcome to BA we got! After the good luck of changing airports closer to town, riding the rest of the way was now a possibility. We loaded the bikes, and went out to discover the heavens had opened. It was pouring! We chose to ride anyway. A little rain can’t hurt, right?

Well, we got drenched. My shoes were full of water in maybe a minute. It was raining hard. It looked like the storm caught everyone off guard – many, many beach-goers were sheltering in bus stops all along the road (this was Good Friday). Apparently this weather is not all that normal.

We’ve now had a mixture of hot and muggy, and rain with thunderstorms some nights since we’ve been here. But it has been warm, which is more than I can say for Ushuaia, or Canada for that matter.

I was thinking of heading up to Canada fairly quickly from here – direct flights don’t look all that expensive to Vancouver. But perhaps I’ll give it a month or so… It looks like it might get to 10°C on Tuesday. Brrrr. I don’t have the clothes (or the desire rigth now) for that kind of weather!

So it may not be the end of the bike trip just yet… Uruguay is just across the river from here. The falls of Iguazú are a mere 18 hour bus ride north (too far to cycle in a short time, me thinks). And… is that Brazil I can see on the map just over there? Ol and Jess – where are you? Why are you not in Brazil – I’m ready to visit now!


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