11 Jan 2012

°LDU. ODSA. Part 2°

Day No 15

Days in Ushuaia are very hard to predict. The weather can be unbelievably rapid in changes. It is hard to make a right decision sometimes because you never know when it starts raining or when the sun comes out.

My 15th day in my trip did not look promising. Hard dark clouds were covering almost all of the city. So I decided to leave national park for the day after and went for a walk to the closer places. I have been walking and watching the boats, horses, mountains. There is definitely not much to do in the city. Guide books are right – the main entertainment here is simply being at the end of  the world. So I did. I just let myself to be at the end of the world.

I got into some strange storm as well. It was kind of raining or fogging, but I guess mainly it was just clouds coming that low. My stubborn camera refused to work [it started later, thanks to it]. I went for another walk when the sky cleared out. There was a little peninsula that I kind of liked and decided to walk. No people, no houses, just a simple nowhere and nothing. The best kind of the things. Of course that did not go on that well. Some regular car with an army looking guy stopped and asked me in a polite way where the hell am I thinking of going. Then he explained me it is military area and I am not allowed to go there. I had to head back. On my way back a dog came to me, looking for a friend who would play. I settled for being that friend. Sure, I tried to read my book at the same time, but it was kind of impossible. The dog was pretty demanding.

I ended my day and night at my hostel, getting a very disappointing news that tour which you take to the lighthouse and the end of the world is not the real lighthouse at the end of the world and reading the book. People were right – Simmons get to you. I was very interested how things are happening in the story.

Day No 16

Since it was almost my last day in Ushuaia, I had to get to the national park, no matter the weather [which, by the way, at least from the beginning, looked promising]. I went to the main bus stop kind of a thing, caught a bus that goes to the park and waited.

Once we got into the park, I, as usually in this part of the world surprised people working there that I am from Lithuania and started my walk. It was windy, but sunny and I took what they call – the nicest trek in the park. It was around 8 kilometers along the coastal [lake coast] line. There were people walking both directions. We were all kind of looking for the same thing I guess.

It was a nice, sometimes a little steep walk near the lake or in the forests. On my way there I met a Chinese-American woman and we walked together. We found a visitor’s center, where I managed to find a picture of `ONA`, apparently I have a tribe with my name here in Patagonia. We took another trek, smaller one, not astonishing, but still nice, we were taking pictures and talking about traveling.

Funny when you meet these people and you realize that you are not that crazy. There are much more people just like me – traveling, traveling alone, trying to learn something new and finding new experience everywhere they go. She was way older than me and doing sort of the same thing – traveling, backpacking, learning, enjoying. All alone [I get this question a LOT].

In the evening I went to my hostel. Decided I need to enter MY mysterious Casino at the end of the world. Wrote a message to my Dutch friend, with whom we were running into each other again and again, but with not much hope she would find my message on time. And then, on my way to the kitchen I heard my name. strange I thought, there are not so many people in the hostel who would know my name. I turn and I see my dear Dutch friend there. Such a small world and we are at the same hostel.

So we had an easy night just talking and having fun. In the end she did not join me to go to the Casino, so I had to do it myself. It was a challenge alright. One thing was to make myself enter the Casino in general. All the other thing was to enter MY Casino at the end of the world. I honestly don’t know how to explain this fear, excitement and adrenalin rush I had in my veins while I was making almost literally forcing myself to enter it.

I was literally shivering all of my time being in that mysterious place. I managed to find roulette and there was no way back. I had to gamble. I had to make a bet. I had to experience by myself the feeling I never even thought of having an opportunity to experience. Betting my highest bet in the Casino at the end of the world.

I listened to your advise. Still not sure exactly why. I guess I just had to. And just like that, with the first twist of a little ball in the roulette my heart starting pounding so hard that I had to remind myself to breath. I was actually afraid that my heart was hearable to the people around. The ball stopped and just like that I lost it all. I guess I could not even expect different outcome. Of course I had to loose. No one wins in casino in general. And I am no luckier in my own Casino at the end of the world.

Instant idea to go back and exchange more money and keep on gambling gave me a clear alert – I am in no power of handling myself in this place. Good thing I did not bring anymore money with me, just that little bit for that one bet and just left. But it made me realize there and then – this could so easily be my addiction and curse. I could so loose my head and everything I might ever own just so I could get to see that little ball coming to the usually wrong pocket.

Day No 17

The day that might be called also a canceled Christmas Eve, or the 24th of December started usually. I had my breakfast, I packed my stuff, I checked myself out of the hostel and we together with a Dutch girl went for a walk. Of course, once I was leaving Ushuaia was in bright colours and good weather. We walked around the same streets, we went to the super market which was full of people preparing themselves for a nice dinner together with their families. We made ourselves some dinner and finally, after saying our goodbyes I left for the airport.

There was no troubles in airport, for a change. Except for one strange thing – I had to pay 28 Argentinian pesos as a tax. Still have no idea what the hell was that, but I was literally too tired to ask and too lazy to care. It’s not that much after all.

The flight was late, but then surprisingly very efficient with seating people and we took off. I read and slept and thought through all of my flight. Some things just could not get out of my head. Was I sensing something? It’s weird. Now when I think about it – of course I was sensing something. I should definitely trust my sixth sense more – it simply does not lie.

So my plane came to Bs As almost on time as scheduled, but the bags were very slow. I collected my bag and went to the bus stop just in time to wave my bus away. I missed it by seconds, not even a full damn minute. Ok, so I was waiting – how long can it be right? Turns out – it was 45 minutes. I thought I already missed the last bus, but it came.

Once I got in I asked the driver to let me know once we reach the street I need and he said `perfecto`, which call me crazy – to me means a positive thing, such as `sure I will let you know`. I was sitting there trying to figure out why one guy in the bus is looking at me so strangely. Finally he asked me if I was Argentinian [do I really look like a Latino chick?] and then told me that he and his friends are having a party tonight and that I am very welcome to come. I said I had to make arrangements with my friends, so finally without giving me directions of where the party is going to be he left the bus and told me that we will see each other soon.

The bus driver, if you excuse my rude vocabulary f****d me up big times. He stopped the bus and told me this is the place. This, by the way, was not the place. Fun, 24th at night, around 11p.m., no people in the street and I am walking with my bag on my back and no idea where the hell I am. I walked around, hoping to find my street. I tried to ask for the way of some guy who ignored me completely. Two girls told me the wrong [no I know it was wrong] direction and I tried going there but at the end I got so tired and angry that I took out my map. Well, that is just my luck – the street I was looking for was not in it. Just outside the map. Damn those little guide books maps. I have no idea how long I have been circling around and asking people for the way. Finally some woman told me I should go to the left for around 10 blocks and it will be there. I was only hoping she was right. Turns out – she was. I am so grateful to her, you have no idea.

Ok, so once I had my street I had no troubles finding the house. But then the second fun part started. Pablo, the guy who owned that apartment was not in the house and I was supposed to stand there and call another guy’s name – Niels, in order to get doors opened. Sure, of course, I could not feel like an idiot standing there in the middle on the street at night of Christmas and shouting somebody’s name. I did though. Several times. No one came out or to the window. I was just about giving up, trying to find a telephone and trying calling for the guy. Which I also was not sure if that would work, since so far phones were not friendly to me in this country. But it did not came to that. Someone looked down and asked me if I was Ona and told me he is coming down. That, by the way, was not Niels. It was another couchsurfer and once I was in the apartment, I got to know Niels. We spent some time there in the house and at the end went to some plaza thing for a CSers meeting for Christmas. I wasn’t really up to anything, but there was nothing else better on the agenda, so I joined them.

It was kind of a mess. People in the plaza talking in small circles and drinking. Somewhat no order, no sense came from that `party`. I already told to myself it is going to be a long night. We stayed. It turned out to be not so bad of a thing. I got to meet some nice people, me and Niels went for a play ground and probably made everyone laugh when we were actually enjoying swings and all the rest of the things just as if we were little kids. But hey, it is more fun then just standing in the square literally doing absolutely nothing. In the morning already we headed back. It was no less then 7a.m. when I went to sleep. Pablo still was not at home [we met him in plaza, but then lost him again].

Day No 18

I, as usually, woke up the first in the house. With no idea how many sets of keys they have and could I get out and take one with me, I decided to stay in and wait for the rest to wake up. Well, that took a long time. Finally we decided to leave the house with Pablo still sleeping and get back at the same time, so no one would stay outside with no possibilities to enter.

What I did first was going to the bus terminal, getting my ticket to Mendoza [German warned me there will be booking in advance for New Years and that I HAVE to do it as soon as possible]. I booked my ticket and went to the city center for a walk. I had no map and tourist information was closed, so trying not to loose track of metros and how to get back to Pablo’s place, I just circled a little around the obelisk and other main sightseeing points in Bs As. I was the last one to come back but just in time to say goodbyes to Niels, who was leaving already and heading to the south.

In the beginning of the night Pablo and Benjamin were playing instruments and I was just enjoying the sounds. Then Pablo cooked some pasta for us, his friend joined and we all ate together enjoying with wine. The night turned out into the wine-beers-fernet-champagne-etc kind of night. The guys were thinking about going out, I was ready to join them but at around 5a.m. I figured it is already too late to me. Benjamin was already asleep and I have decided to do the same. For the last days I have been sleeping no more than 4-5hours per day. I deserved at least that much, right?

Day No 19

If the previous day started late, this one started even later. My waiting for other to wake up reached it’s limits, no one seemed to be wanting to opening their eyes. Finally when they all got up it was almost for me to move – I was going to another couchsurfer’s home that day. And another couchsurfer came to Pablo’s place. So we were just sitting and chatting there in the house, afterwards went for some food and some coffee, finally just said our goodbyes and I went for the metro. The new home was waiting for me.

I found Tano’s place with no troubles at all. And he was such a sweetheart. Couple of years ago he bought a house kind of empty and was still in progress but he was repairing it himself. It was an awesome house, I tell you. If I ever decide I want to own a house, I would probably go for something like his. So he gave me a little tour around the house, the roof terrace and took me to `my room`. I felt as if I was in the best hostel in the world. He went back to do some work and gave me time with my things.

Once I was done and he was done we went for a little walk around the neighborhood joking and making fun as if we knew each other for much longer time then just an hour or two. We ended up in the supermarket and were buying things because he was making a pizza to me for dinner [I tell you, if this was a hostel, it would be a paradise hostel]. Can it get better than that?

So we got back home, he let me help with making pizza, we made it, had some wine, enjoyed some more conversations. We ate pizza on that roof terrace which opened the sky full of stars there. it was an awesome night, really. He even tried to teach me some tango which I am not that good at but I learned a few steps. It was already after 2a.m. when we went to sleep, since Tano was a working person and I had to meet someone at 9a.m. so we both had early start.

Day No 20

I took metro that morning and I was going to some station where I was supposed to meet this guy I met in that weird CS Christmas party. We shared some conversations while we were there and he told me he lives up north of Bs As and there is a place called Tigre, apparently something very pretty and that I should go there and he could take me there if I wanted as well. Just talking, I thought that night, but once he send me a message the next day we could do that, I decided to give it a try, but not before I would make a comment that I would go only if there will be cake involved [such a modest me right? The guy is offering to take me and waste his time to take me to that tigre and I am putting my demands on the table]. But he agreed on the cake part and he seemed interesting, so I decided it should be a nice day.

He came to pick me up from the metro station and we went for the shops. It was really funny to me how carefully he was choosing everything. Not even regular eggs were good to him. He was actually asking in one shop about where to find those.

We got to his place and I met Lima, the dog he was having. This was one of those hyper-active incredibly sweet and funny dogs. She was jumping on me once we got in and hardly left our side once we were there in the kitchen, making the cake. Really adorable.

It took us a while to make that cake, but then again, for the same reason we met up early in the morning. It looked very promising when we put it in the fridge after all the hard work we put in. I could not wait to try it. It must be very tasty. I mean, there was biscuit/chocolate cream kind of the cake – what is there not to like, right?

So once the cake was ready, we went to Tigre. As far as I understand, Tigre is a little town outside Buenos Aires [or capital federal as they call it], but comparingly close to it, no more than 15 minutes by car. Should not take more time going by train also. There is not so many things to do there besides shopping and eating or drinking or anything, but it is a very nice neighborhood to walk around. There is a river there that opens into millions of little islands. I tell you, from the looks of it, it reminded me a lot of a Mekong delta. Those little houses on the water and little boats trying to reach them. We decided to take a boat ride and see it all from a closer angle. Surprisingly to me, there was not so many of tourist there, mostly Argentinians. But it was a nice ride.

We walked a little more around the Tigre, then we went to another neighborhood I don’t remember the name and walked a little there as well. We went to the beach where it was very popular to do water sports, like surfing. Too bad my zoom lens is not working properly, because there were some very good `shoots` there.

So at the end we got back to his place, but I still did not get the cake [no complaining, of course]. First we were kind of hungry, so we made ourselves some dinner, ate it, watched some videos and finally got to the cake. It tasted like a piece of heaven, I tell you. Soft and cold and sweet and refreshing. And there, while tasting that piece of heaven I realized that I am on the other side of Capital Federal, it’s already 11p.m., metro is not working anymore and I do not have a key to the place I was staying and the guy had to work the next morning, so there is a chance he might be sleeping already.

So even though I did not want to disturb Ariel, I was kind of relieved than he told me he would take me `home`. We checked the directions and we went. With a little getting lost and confused, but basically with not much trouble we found the place. At the end I did wake the guy up. I felt so bad about it, but he seemed alright. He opened the doors for me, asked me how my day was and went back to sleep. I did the same thing.