Cool Change

So Carnaval has come and gone for the second time and as I mentioned last post, we spent the holiday more wisely this year and headed off to the Argentinian part of Patagonia. Specifically we stayed in Ushuaia on the (large) island of Tierra del Fuego in the far south, the kick off point for all boats heading for Antarctica. Obviously this fact should perhaps have alerted us to what we could expect in terms of climate, but being only a few days past summer, we were a bit dismissive. (“Cold, shmold. How bad can it be?”) This attitude, however, snap froze and shattered on the tarmac as soon as we got off the plane, and it was undignified chaos as we disemboweled our luggage before even getting into the hire car, fighting for beanies, gloves and parkas.

Anyway, once we’d established the three layer rule, Patagonia was a truly fantastic holiday. Ushuaia is a little smaller than Bendigo, and although not wealthy, is clean (ish), organised, has no crime (apparently) and the environment…….well.

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Tierra del Fuego only popped out of the ice cap less than ten thousand years ago, and the ice bridge that joined it to the rest of South America melted, stranding some of the fauna and preventing a lot of other species colonising. For example, there are no amphibians or reptiles of any kind and no large predators (eg panthers), only arctic foxes.

Here are some more pics.

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Great hiking!

Great hiking!

Having fun on tour in the 4-wheel drive.

Having fun on tour in the 4-wheel drive.

Having slightly more fun getting bogged.

Having slightly more fun getting bogged.

On visual assessment only, why do penguins gain about 100 IQ points when they enter the water?

On visual assessment only, why do penguins gain about 100 IQ points when they enter the water?

Loads of fossils all along this stretch of coast.

Loads of fossils all along this stretch of coast.

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Back in Rio again now and in another apartment. As you may have gathered from the fact that this is our fourth move, accommodation here has been troublesome. Luckily this apartment is very nice, nothing has exploded when it’s been plugged in, and if anything, we’re over-resourced in the appliance department. Three fridges, two (giant) washing machines – even a pie oven and a toasted sandwich maker. And they all work! We also have four toilets and four TV’s (not all in the same rooms) which is somewhat excessive, but strangely, the kids aren’t complaining.

This next week at the school is “Spirit Week” – where all and sundry are supposed to overflow with support for each other and revel in school spirit. Unfortunately all this means is that the kids have different fancy dress requirements FIVE DAYS IN A ROW – can’t tell you how much school spirit I’m feeling. So even though I’d like to sign off by saying there’ll be another post soon, the danger of me going completely mad is quite real, so I can’t make any promises.

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