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Jan 11, 2012:

A Glimpse of Ushuaia

Customs Update: Tick ...tock ...tick ...tock. That's how it is for us here. The documents have been with UPS Customs Department and Buenos Aires Customs since January 2nd, but nothing has been accomplished. As luck would have it, Customs is currently on strike, so things are delayed. At earliest, we "may" (and we stress "may") hear from them tomorrow.

We've been here a month now and know the Carrefour supermarket inside out. Trust us, there are better things we'd prefer to know at this level of detail. But every morning, we wake up and are anxious to know of any updates. So the morning begins with brewing a half-liter (yes, we are now on the metric system) of cowboy coffee. That is, a spoonful of coffee grounds in a metal cup and then add hot water. Once the grounds settle and sink to the bottom, it's coffee time!

Then it's breakfast. Sometimes bread (baguette) with marmalade, sometimes a veggie soup, ...but recently we have fallen victims to fracturas. They're Argentinian pastries ...that melt in your mouth and stick to your tummy (if you're a guy) and hips (if you're a gal). But, ...YUM!!! We had resisted them, thinking that we'd wait until we start riding before paying hommage to these blessed resemblance of heaven on earth. But the gods have spoken!

The campground has a sitting area with Internet connection, so that's where we spend our time doing whatever we can to get our bike. For the past couple of weeks, every day has been an unknown, and so anticipation keeps us bound ...just in case. The bike could be released at any minute, and we didn't want to be unavailable if it did. Yes, perhaps this is what parenting is all about!

Usually in the afternoon, we go sightseeing ...that is, to the Carrefour. Sometimes it's really legitimate shopping for food; but most of the time, we make excuses for needing 400 grams of squash or an onion or a fractura. The mile or so walk (oh, wait... 2km?) to Carrefour gets our legs moving and distracts our minds. And the excitement of being at Carrefour uplifts our spirits.

We've been trying to stay cool and collected. But we are very concerned about the financial repercussion of this stagnation. Customs has not given us the bill for "storage fees" that they are incurring. The longer they keep it, the daily ~$25 (USD) fee racks up. It's really insane. Whatever excuse they find to hold it incurs the daily storage fee. Trust us, we are ...(30 minutes of bleep needed here).

In addition to that, we are incurring camping expenses. We were hoping to only camp a couple of days here in order to keep costs down. Our journey still has 18 months to go, and we are on a super low budget. We were hoping to camp out most of the time because we can't afford to stay in pay-areas (campsites and/or hostels). So the funds reserved for hostels later are being drained now.

If you'd like to "host" us for a day, please see our Support Us page to contribute. Our daily camping fee is ~$16 (USD) and we spend less than $10 (USD) per day on food. It seems we will be here for another two to three weeks, assuming the bike will come.

With time on our hands, we put together some footage of Ushuaia. The video below is a test run so that we can make more videos later. Connection here is slow (this may be the case for most of the way), so we've been working out size, bit rate, frames per second, etc... combinations to see what we can upload to YouTube. Our HD version is 496 MB, but the one uploaded below is only 26 MB, so the quality is so-so. But this will enable us to share videos that we plan to make over the 18 month journey.

Short video of Ushuaia.

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