Today was an early day. A 500am wakeup call (sorry, I do not know where the colon is on these keyboards). We left the hotel @ 6am and on to the Santiago airport. We will fly ona charter flight to Punta Arenas (the southern most part of Chile), clear customs, then continue the flight to Ushuaia. Ushuaia(pronounced [u'swaja]) is the capital of the Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego, and claims to be the world's southernmost city (see discussion below). It is located on the southern coast of the island of Tierra del Fuego in a wide bay, guarded on the north by the Martial mountain range and on the south by the Beagle Channel. Its population in 1999 was estimated at 57,300. In my opinion it has grown up around the lucrative tourist trade that caters to the cruises that depart to Antarctica from here. That means, of course, that it is a short working season for some people.
After all this travelling we are supposed to board a catamaran to explore the Straits of Magellan throughout Tierra del Fuego. Wish us luck. Thus far we have met many nice people on the trip. There are of course, the usual people, the bitch, the whiner, the person that hogs the guide, you know, the usual tour takers. But all in all, we are happy thus far.
Funny story, going thru the agricultural inspection station here in Chile our bags were scanned and of course, we were stopped. Dena and I had a significant amount of snackies some being dried fruits, and trail mix. The fruit was definitely confiscated but I lobbyed hard for keeping the nuts. I convinced them by encouraging them to taste them. They took several nuts out of the bag and because there was salt on them they were approved for entry. whew! Snacks were saved.
On another note, no one wants US Dollars. They want their own currency because the US Dollar is in the shitter. This is such a change from past years when the dollar was strong. It´s odd being in that position that no one wants your money.