Finally! Going to Antarctica!

Who wants to go to Antarctica with me? Any takers? No? Too bad, I’ll have to take my wife and leave the rest of you behind!!! If you haven’t “Followed” my blog yet, do it now! You’ll see some superb photos, I hope! Go on and ‘follow’ it now! See you all soon! I’ll be incommunicado for the next several weeks!

DAY ONE (Saturday, Feb 16)

Okay, here we are again, heading for the airport for a new adventure.  We’ve spent the last 6 months acquiring just the right items to take us south.  Far South.  So far south that no one lives there.  Well, no towns or cities anyway.  Yes, you guessed it, we’re off to visit Antarctica.  Not a typo, Antarctica.  That place at the ‘bottom’ of the world.  Why?  Good question.  Because.  Because we can.  And because we love to see things with our own eyes that can only be imagined otherwise.

So it’s off to the airport with huge bags full of warm fluffy clothing and hand warmers.  Lots of hand warmers.  Foot warmers too.  Oh, and Body Warmers.  Lots of Warmers, so many that we had to pay attention where we packed them so no one piece of luggage is too heavy.

Waterproof gloves, Fleece lined pants.  Sweaters.  Double lined jackets and hats.  So many unique and special items that we have spent such a long time finding.  This trip will be our most special yet!

And my cameras, you may ask.  What am I bringing?  Well the answer is all of it.  Every last lens and camera body.  Wait, all that won’t fit in my camera bag/carry on.  Hmmm, have to leave something behind.  Ok so I want wide angle and telephoto but can’t fit it all in.  What to do, what to do.  Time to go shopping and find something new.  What’s that, we plan to kayak?  That’s going to be an issue with the big equipment.  Can’t kayak with an EOS 5D and 400mm lens.   Hmmm, what’s this on Amazon, a point and shoot that zooms from 20mm to 1365mm?  No, that kind of thing doesn’t exist.  But wait, here it is, right there on that page.  Okay, I’ll try it, what do I have to lose?  And it’s made by Canon, can’t be bad!

Wait, Elee needs a new camera also?  Ok, find her one.  Here’s the perfect camera for her!  Place the order.  Gotta love Amazon Prime!  New stuff arrives in a day or two, from clothing to cameras.  Okay, cameras packed and ready to go.  All fits in my carry on too!  Don’t forget the waterproof housing for kayaking!  Got it.

Here’s the shuttle to take us to the airport.  Right on time.  A welcome change from our Cuba trip.  Arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare.  Check our bags in.  What?  There’s a delay?  Not to worry, delays happen all the time.  What do you mean, we’ll miss our connection in Atlanta?  There was only 45 minutes for our first connection and we’re delayed 35 minutes?  Oh man, our first problem and we haven’t even boarded the first plane!  What’s that, the airline will take care of everything.  Not sure we like the sound of that, when has an airline ‘taken care of everything’?  Oh well, it will be what it will be.  Let’s get on the plane and get going!

Eventless first flight, except we left 35 minutes late.  But as we approach Atlanta, we hear that we are arriving on time!  WhooWee, the pilot ‘stepped on the gas’!  We’ll be fine after all.  So we disembark and head for our connection, only a few minutes late from the original schedule.  We waste no time getting to our connection.  Wait, what’s that?  The gate door is closed?  But we’re here on time!  There’s still 20 minutes before the plane leaves!  What’s that, the plane is full?  How can that be, we have tickets?  Our seats were sold?  We weren’t scheduled to make it on time?  But how can we get to Buenos Aires?  We have another connection from there!  Oh this is bad.  Very bad!  What do we do now?  There are no flights to Buenos Aires tonight?  So what do you suggest we do?  Go to Customer Service, they will take care of you.  Hmmm, this is not good, not good…

We walk across the terminal to find Customer Service.  Oh there it is, over there.  So what happens now?  You’ll put us on the first flight in the morning to Miami?  We don’t want to go to Miami, we want to go to Buenos Aires and then to Ushuaia, Argentina.  How does that happen?  The earliest flight to Buenos Aires is via Miami?  Okay, I guess.  But what do we do tonight?  You’ll give us Hotel Vouchers?  I guess we have no choice.  But what about our luggage, we need to get those.  Our luggage is in the system?  It will follow us in the morning?  This is not sounding like the best idea.  But our luggage is big.  Maybe the airline is right, after all they do this sort of thing all the time.  We need to pick up our luggage in Miami and check it in to the flight to Buenos Aires because that is the first International Leg of the trip.  Okay, I guess we can do that.  But my toiletries are in my bag.  You have complimentary toiletry kits for us?  But we have only the clothes on our backs.  Oh well, I guess this won’t be the first time I wear the same clothes two days in a row.  You’ll pay for a restaurant meal also?  Okay, we’ll let you do that.

So, carry-ons intact, toiletry bags and Hotel Voucher in hand, we head out of the airport on foot because we’re told the Hotel is actually IN the airport.  Oh there it is, right over there.  We check in to the Hotel and see a steak house on the way.  Well, if the airline is buying, I guess I’ll let them buy me a good steak!  We find ourselves checked in, room is nice, and we walk over to the restaurant and get seated around 10 o’clock at night.  They are still serving so let’s order food!

We’re seated in the restaurant and there is a party atmosphere around us.  Couples dressed in tuxedos and formal gowns and lots of what looks like Mardi Gras Beads.  Hmmm, an interesting mix of costumes but mostly formal wear with beads.  It turns out after talking with some of them (Elee and I are far from shy when we’re curious and we approach strangers and ask lots of questions!), there is a High School from New Orleans whose Alumni is from Atlanta (this reason we never got an answer to) and every year they throw a ‘Fundraiser/Party’ and celebrate!  And tonight’s the night!

A good meal in us and a couple glasses of wine and back to the Hotel for a night’s sleep.  We have a mid morning flight to Miami and then have a 5 hour layover before we board a flight to Buenos Aires.  24 hours into the trip and we haven’t traveled south at all.  We might have just driven cross country for the heck of it!

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