The End of the World

Here we are in Ushuaia, the end of the world. They've really latched onto the catchphrase- the end of the world- with shirts, postcards, and ads for the likes of the Train at the End of the World and the Duty Free Shop at the End of the World. We're really only at 54 degrees south latitude (out of 90 possible). Seattle's at 47 degrees (or so), Juneau (which is really barely north enough in Alaska to count as impressive) is at 58. Anchorage is at 61. There are cities as north as 70+ degrees. Lonyearbyen, Norway takes the cake for really at the end of the world at 78 degrees north latitude http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longyearbyen http://www.johnnyjet.com/2012/04/12-facts-you-never-knew-about-longyearbyen-the-worlds-northernmost-city/ (there are at least 2000 people who think 3 months without daylight and an annual high of 43 degrees Fahrenheit as acceptable conditions and, at least by the last census, not killed themselves).

Still, it's 10:20 pm and not entirely dark yet, and the only thing south of us is ocean (and Port Williams, slight south and across the bay in Chile, not that anyone goes there, or cares, since they don't have a Duty Free shop) so I don't balk at the claim. It's beautiful and bustling, and just cold enough that everyone is all bundled up like it's the middle of winter. Most people come here to trek, or to catch a cruise to Antarctica (3 days and 4 grand away from here) so the only coats, beanies, and durable shoes packed are worn even thought it's probably 60 degrees and long sleeves would do just fine. You can tell from the number of high end boutiques and 15 chocolaterias in as many blocks the people with money come here. And backpackers like us who have time to spare.

We're only here for a day, actually. We chose to spend our hiking time in the other touristy mountain town in Argentina, but there was a flight with a 24 hour layover here, and I'm a sucker for an extended layover for a sneak peek of a town or bragging rights like 'the End of the World'.

Our flight down was actually quite exciting. In short, when we got to the airport, they had no record of our reservation, nor of the flight even existing (surprise!). When we furnished our booking confirmation, they scratched their heads, apologized (sort of) and booked us on their competitors' flight, leaving roughly around the same time as our originally booked, nonexistent flight. First class. I've never lucked out from a mistake like this before. Cha-Ching! We didn't know it til we boarded (surprise!). The transformer bed came in handy recovering from the last few nights of late nights and early mornings. And apparently ham and Brie cheese sandwiches are the upgrade meal for the regular ham and cheese offered on most flights (and most mornings. [if I never eat ham again it will be too soon!]). I'll take it.


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