Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Ever Watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles?

Hey Folks, Greetings from Ushuaia and nearly the bottom of the world!

Whoa! Rafal and I almost didnt make it down here. We almost go stuck in a town along the way. Kinda like Planes, Trains, and Automobiles but neither of us are shower ring salesmen.

This is a pretty interesting story about a little bit of bad luck, good luck, poor timing, great timing, the generosity of a Chilean kid, and a little bit of good ol' American Ingenuity!

It all started with our 12 hour day hike to see Torres del Paine. The hike was great and the weather was perfect for us. This is a place Im thinkin about returning to when im back on my own. We were about hour away from the shuttle bus dropoff/pickup station when we ran into this Swiss guy who had just lost his camera after doing the seven day hike around the Torres del Paine. Im beginning to think some of that bad luck he had rubbed off on us because we finally arrived back at the hostel in Port Natales and cleaned up to get something to eat but found out that EVERYTHING was closed. All restaurants closed at 10pm that Saturday evening because the following day was elections in Chile. We were getting pretty hungy and annoyed at the folks that said that they couldnt serve us because the police said establishments that serve alcohol needed to close business. And we are talking about a Saturday night! We were getting desperate. We finally found a gas station a ways from the el centro that didnt serve alcohol and served hotdogs. Now after working concession stands back in the day I am not a fan of the stadium steak. But i was hungry and the hotdoggie filled the void.

We get to the bus station and get to Puerto Areanas and get assulted by a barrage of hostel owners that are telling us how great there hostel is. One guy kept on telling us how great the hostel was. "It is the best mai freiend...i recommend to you" After all of this bugging I was talkin to Rafal about this and was like..."Ya know, if they are the best hostel or whatever then people come to you. You dont hafta go looking for business. It comes to you." I didnt say anything to the fella but just kinda rolled my eyes and said "vamos a ver" or "we will see." After getting the hostel situation figured out we decided to check on the bus situation and went to the few companies that were open. All said that they were full until Wednesday. So we thought about it and then went to get something to eat. Since it was elections EVERYTHING was closed except for one pizza place that had about 30 people in it and one kid taking all the orders. Poor guy. So we ate and then retired to the hostel to plan the next day. We awoke the next day only to find out that ALL the buses filled up until Friday or Saturday. This is not good. Not good at all. There were only three companies that delivered passengers to Ushuaia and the seats were filling up fast. Getting stuck in one place wouldnt have been a problem except for the fact that we had a flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires Saturday morning and Rafal goes back to the States on Monday! Things were not looking good. Heck, I even stopped at three ATMs to get cash because I knew we were gonna be spending extra time in this damn city and the freaking things were out of money. This was a real downer.

So we thought about flying there. There were two companies. One company said they had flights on Friday that were full. They suggested LAN Chile a few blocks up the street. We got to the LAN Chile offices and were like "Ohhhh, shit..."

Do you remember Beetle Juice back in the day? There is that scene where Beetle Juice is waiting his turn and he pulls the tag that has a number with about five or six commas in it? Well, that is what we were up against. We pulled the pink tag from at little red tag dispenser mounted on the wall and realized that there were about 40 people ahead of us. It seemed that things were not going our way and we were gonna be stuck in po-dunk-patagonia where the only real thing to do is see the Magellan Strait and the penguin rookery and that is it, folks. Remember when Beetle Juice switched the number with the guy next to him, who had like number one? The Beetle Juice's head shrunk...Well, our head didnt shrink but we were very very very very fortunate to move about 40 spaces up the waiting queue when a kid gave us his number. I remember doing this when I was a kid. And Im sure you remember doing this, too. I used to pull a tag from that dispenser because it made a cool sound and it was the only thing to do when you were a kid. Ya know, play with stuff. I still sometimes still pull those automagic coupon dispensers at the grocery store. So the kid was with his dad who had his own number and gave us his as they were leaving. Score! Within the minute we were seated in front of the LAN Chile agent and found out that there were flights available to Ushuaia. The next one was at 2pm. We looked at our watch and it was 1245. The flight was in our budget and we plopped down that Visa, got our tickets, and caught the first taxi we could to our hostel and then to the airport.

I have never packed so quickly. Less than five minutes after we paid for the ticket we had grabbed our bags and were on the way to the airport. We didnt really breath a sigh of relief until we got onto the plane. However, our joker sense of humor began to return when the girl at check in asked us where on the plane we would like to sit. We said preferably inside. Sitting with the tranquilized animals would have been just as well considering how we really really needed to get to Ushuaia. We also busted out a few Chuck Norris jokes to some people on the plane from California. Apparently Rafal and I like Chuck Norris jokes alot better than other people.

  • Did you know if you ask Chuck Norris what time it is, he always says, "Two seconds till." After you ask, "Two seconds to what?" he roundhouse kicks you in the face.

  • Did you know that Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

  • Did you know that since 1940, the year Chuck Norris was born, roundhouse kick related deaths have increased 13,000 percent.

More Chuck Norris Jokes how can you not laugh at these jokes!?

So getting here was a little bit of everything. This experience was a little bit of bad luck, good luck, poor timing, great timing, the generosity of a Chilean kid, and a little bit of good ol' American Ingenuity (Good Ol Visa Credit Cards!)



Zac said...

Oh my. I laughed pretty hard when I read the Chuck Norris jokes.

You indeed were very lucky with that ticket pullin' kid nearby. I hope you didn't have to give him a good Norris-style stare down though.

Keep it up, joker.

Anonymous said...

Are you trying to grow a beard????

JP, the elder....

Anonymous said...

It must be a desire to be like Chuck Norris!

JP, the elder