Even though I could sleep in I was awake early. It was nice and sunny outside, and from the restaurant a great view of the harbor and snow capped mountains. Ushuaia is a lot bigger than I expected it to be.
The morning was spent finishing cleaning and sorting out stuff into 3 piles: Take home, give away (tyres and parts etc to Luis for his charitable foundation) and throw out. Then packing and boxing bikes.
Brett kindly boxed my bike for me and helped me get my bike box and bag onto the scales hanging off the truck. It was a balancing act getting the rope in the right place to weigh and support the bike box. Thankfully, unlike coming over, I am under the limit with the bag and box – Just! So I don’t have to cram heavy stuff into my carry on and try not to fall backwards whilst carrying it.
Then off into town for lunch. I found a nice fish restaurant, and had cod which was really fresh – still glistening – and a salad. I looked at a couple of shops but as always my tolerance for shopping was low. On the way back I stopped at the supermarket to get some cheese and crackers as a group of us are getting together at the hotel at 5pm to celebrate Jo and Nicks awesome achievement (EFI). Jo and her husband Nick are the first couple to ever have both achieved EFI on a trip together.
We met in the bar at the hotel at 5pm which was deserted apart from us, but were not allowed to drink the champagne Jo and Nick won the night before, as the champagne had not been bought there. Fair enough I can understand that, so we moved to an alcove up a hallway. What I don’t get though is they refused to let us use any glasses to drink the champagne out of, even though we offered to pay for cleaning! Poor Jo this was just about the final straw!
But not to worry, we are TDA riders used to being resourceful. Fred got 6 beer glasses from the upstairs bar whilst the staff were busy guarding the downstairs bar, and a couple of us had beer glasses in our room from the afternoon before, and I have a glass that I use at camp rather than plastic so we made do.
The hotel staff also refused to let TDA use a hose to clean equipment, and when taking messages for guests, instead of putting into the pigeonhole with the room key and giving to you when you came back for the key, they put them on a notice board they hadn’t told you about!
The hotel staff attitude demonstrates what I found in a number of places here. This is where the cruise ships leave to go to Antartica, so there are numerous cruises and the main income here is tourism, so you would think they had some awareness of being helpful. However I am not sure if it is the culture here, or just a lack of awareness, but the general attitude of the service staff is not to be helpful. My thoughts are, if they are aware it is based on the belief that the majority of people who come here:
1. Need to come here to get onto a cruise and after
2. They won’t come back again any way so it does not matter how you treat them
(the Lan airline staff are an exception to this they were excellent).
I went into town after towards and picked up a couple of additional small presents to give Xavier and Lucy, and then had grilled lamb for dinner and off back to the hotel to bed. I was feeling tired due to the late night last night, waking up early, and excited about heading home tomorrow.
Unfortunately another group of TDA staff and riders were also not allowed to drink wine late at night in the totally deserted restaurant or lobby, so they also used the alcove in the hall which was unfortunately right outside my room! It had poor sound proofing so I was awake for awhile.