Antarctic Expedition Homeward Bound 2018 · Day 1

February 15, 2018 
Calafate, Patagonia              50°20′22″S 72°15′54″O 
Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego     54°48′26″S 68°18′16″O 

I spent the night in a lovely hostel in Calafate, nearby Argentino Lake. Yet, to be honest, I didn’t sleep. very well. At 3:42 I had my eyes nailed to the base of the  topbunk. I don’t know if it was because I was nervous or if it was because of the hammering snoring of Ernesto an Argentinian tattoo artist who slept in thee same room   but I couldn’t sleep all night. I spent the time watching Sherlock Holmes on Netflix. I wish I was as smart as he is. When the alarm went off I ran to the kitchen for  breakfast. Fernanda, the owner of the hostel, was waiting for me, smoking a cigar, and resting on the countertop while screaming to anyone who would dare trespassing her property to pee on the alley’s walls. 

-I made toasts and there is coffee on the table. 
-Thanks, but I don’t drink coffee.
-There is also tea. 
-Nor do I drink tea. 
-Ah – She looked disappointed – Do you want something else? 
-Do you have cocoa? 
-Yes, it is on the counter. The transfer will be here in 5′.

I ate toast while another guy tried to pee in Fernandas alley. It was fun to see them  escaping while trying to buckle up their pants. In the meantime, it was taking to long for the transfer to arrive. Thirty minutes were gone already. I looked to Fernanda and Fernanda looked back to me with a reassuring smile.

-Don’t worry darling, they are coming.

Shortly after, I discovered  the transfer wasn’t coming. Fernanda had hired the transfer for the following day. Her argentinian matriarch security vanished before my eyes and I thought, f*ck I’m going to miss the flight. 

-Forgive me, please.  I made a mistake, I have  already called another taxi and it is on its way. I will pay for it.  
-Ok, don’t worry  I lied. 

The taxi arrived quickly. But, the joy wouldn’t last long. As I jump in the cab, with Google telling me that my flight has already started boarding, the taxi driver tells us that he can’t take me to the airport. Only to the bus terminal. Fernanda and the taxi driver start fighting each other but I no longer hear them.

-I don’t mind what you have to do but I need to go to the airport, now.

-Don’t worry hon, I have already called another taxi. Eh! Pelotudo! Meon! Get out of my alley!

-Should I drive her to bus terminal?

-NO! -We shouted at once.

During the chaos I imagined the Ushuaia ship leaving to Antarctica with only 79 of the 80 scientists.  When I realised I was in a taxi, going to the airport at 140 km/h with a very sweet taxi driver who tried to entertain  by me explaining me all the scenery along the road.

-Don’t worry love, we will get you there in time. Have you seen the fossil forests?

 We arrived at the airport within twenty minutes, I made the last call for boarding and when I sat on the plane I could hardly believe that I had made it. 

I was the first of the team to arrive in Ushuaia. The hotel was on the top of a hill looking to the Beagle Channel. The view was stunning, bluish mountains covered with snow. I left my stuff in the lounge, greeted some of the participants and I sat down for a minute. It was the first time all day that I could actually relax. When I saw Uxua, Alicia, Alex and Adriana going up the stairs I felt my heart rattling in my chest.  Suddenly, the work of a whole year,  the peoples support, the joy, the thrill… filled my eyes with tears. I spent the next two hours crying. Most of the participants looked at me unsure about what to do. I guess that only a few of them understood, but by then I didn´t care. We had made it.