Posted by: tim ellis | October 9, 2005

Antarctica – Saturday 13th November, 2004

Up before 4 – and this is supposed to be fun! We leave our cases to be collected and take our hand luggage with us down to breakfast – orange juice, coffee, croissants and ‘milk jam’ (boiled condensed milk). After checking our cases are on the coach we set off for the airport – Laura hands out the tickets for us to check our luggage in, then collects them back to pay our departure tax, before wishing us bon voyage. We have to take a bus to the plane, which is quite small. The journey is short – barely time to get a coffee before we land in Uruguay. They obviously don’t trust the Argies as they X-ray the hand baggage as you go through immigration! After we collect our cases we have to press a button which decides if we go through the red or green channel. Thankfully it decides Spook and I are clean.

We are met by Tamara, who informs us the flight took an hour longer than we thought, since we are now on Uruguay time. She takes her life in her hands by claiming that Uruguay sabotaged the boat to ensure we visited them. She is persuaded to stop for coffee before the city tour – on the way she points out the site of an old Spanish ship wreck, and once the tour proper starts, our first stop is a statue depicting a sailor clinging to the wreckage of his boat – is this a conspiracy!

Check in at the Holiday Inn is painless, although lunch seems to be missing the large slabs of beef! We present Don with a birthday card (actually 3 postcards signed by all the group…) and sing him happy birthday.

After lunch we go for an explore – most of the shops seem shut although we do find a flea market before reaching the docks. We stop for a coffee, then wander back across the point, and then up the main street looking at the statues. (we don’t find Churchill or Confucius…)

Dinner tonight is in a typical Uruguayan restaurant as a change from Argentinean fayre… -fifteen types of meat served from the sword, although most people pass on the lambs intestines…

We also have a visit from the captain of the ship – who says weather permitting we should be able to board after lunch tomorrow, and sail as soon as everyone is aboard

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