Monday, February 1, 2010

South To Antarctica - an Unfolding Adventure

(Posting: 1-1-10, at Midnight, local time, Latitude 34 degrees 35.382 minues, and Longitude 58 degrees 22.785 minutes)... Buenos Aires, Argentina. Holly and I are traveling to the cold dry South that is the moving blue ice mass known as Antarctica. We are only in the foothills of our trip, having flown by United from Dulles, an 11 hour "hop," to "don't-cry-for-me" Buenos Aires. We are staying only a few blocks from where Eva Peron is buried. The shop keeps talk ill of the politics that badly govern them - and talk with awe and respect of Peron still to this day. When we tell them we will visit the Falklands on the watery road south they talk ill of Great Britain and the US pushing them off the island they "know" was rightly theirs. We visited a large park where an eternal flame burns in memory of the young Argentinian men beaten and killed by the English who were helped by Chile next door. It was in the dark of night and three men gathered in the dark under a tree smoking pot. One of them asked me what was the significance of the memorial. I said bad policy by Great Britain and the United States and a needless loss of the young lives listed on this memorial somewhat like those found on the Nam memorial in DC. Each then spoke in turn in support of what I'd said, in their own way, and shook my hand and marveled at the senseless loss of life. The temperature during the day upon our arrival was 97 degrees Fahrenheit and, except for an occasional soft breeze off the nearby waters, there's little relief from the heat even in the evening but for the sweet helados and delicious havana rum drinks. We shall go from the heat of this marvelous Latin city by the coast by a large cruise ship to a land of penguins and polar bears to experience the shades of the adventure that beckoned explorers in truly dangerous times. This port city is our point of disembarkation, for an outing that is a pale mimicry of the challenges faced long ago when the rough waters and ice floes were unknown and the fixed study of a sturdy breed of seaworthy men who sought to conquer this dry thick continent of blazing white pointed ice sculptures. But it promises to be exciting nonetheless for the printed journals of Lord Ernest Shackleton, who tells a riveting story of hardship and vision, only give you the appetite to have a taste of what he risked both blood and bone to know and survive. JPF

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