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  • Writer's pictureSharon Michalove

Shopping for Antarctica in the Summer

Antarctica, Chapter 3

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New clothes and suitcase all purchased in Ushuaia (photo by Sharon Michalove)

On Sunday evening, we went into downtown Ushuaia to arrange for rentals and dinner. The rental office was open but we needed to come back the next day to do the actual order. My travel partner decided on waterproof gloves. I arranged for waterproof overpants and gloves to keep dry in the Zodiacs.

The restaurant that had been recommended was closed on Sunday, so we walked around to check out other options. During our perambulations, we found an outfitter that was open. Nona found a pair of shoes that would be good on deck. Fortunately, I had worn my Keen hiking shoes and they were perfect for the whole trip. I hardly ever travel with a second pair of shoes unless I have to dress up. Then I have a pair of ballet flats that don't take up any real space.

While the owners had some merino socks, which I bought, they didn't have any other suitable apparel. As we would hear over and over, it was summer. Not that the temperatures were warm in Ushuaia. The high is usually around 50-55 F, unlike the hotter areas like Buenos Aires.

For dinner we ended up at an Italian restaurant where we had excellent lamb that we had seen cooking in the window. And a wonderful bottle of red wine.

After dinner, we hunted for a taxi to take us back to the hotel. The young man who drove us was slow and careful, but, perhaps because of the unfamiliar territory in the relative darkness (and maybe my wine consumption) I ended up with an idea for a murder mystery that would begin in Ushuaia and end on the ensuing Antarctic cruise. I plan to w for publication some time next year.

First thing Monday morning, we needed to check in with Polar Latitudes and have our negative COVID tests recorded. Then we took the hotel shuttle to downtown Ushuaia, where we made the final arrangements and payment for the rental clothing and were told to come back in the afternoon to pick everything up. Not much later I received a message that the company would be bring everything to the hotel during our orientation session and we could pick up everything then.

Fortunately, expecting that the temperatures on the ship might be warm, I bought some short sleeve t-shirts. Those were easy to find. Then we stopped at a pharmacy for sunscreen and toiletries. I had made a shopping list, so my treasure hunt had excellent parameters.

As we walked around downtown on Monday morning, well fortified by the generous breakfast buffet at the hotel, we would stop at a store, only to find that there were no warmer clothes to be had. Also surprising for a popular tourist destination, most of the employees spoke little to no English, Neither Nona nor I spoke Spanish. My French wasn't useful either. Still, we managed.

You can take a guided tour of Ushuaia on the bus.

Eventually we happened on a store named Popper, that had clothes in the window. It was small and they didn't have anything suitable, but they told us to go two doors down where the main store was located. The ground floor was all clothing that worked for Antarctica, and I found a salesman whose English was pretty good.

They also had suitcases, so I bought one of those as well, and when I checked out, all the clothing was packed into the suitcase. Everything fit, so that was good too. Then we stopped for lunch and had excellent empanadas before taking the hotel bus back to the Arakur, where we relaxed until the six o'clock meeting.

Next week, Tierra del Fuego National Park


Available for preorder

Includes my story:

Melting the Iceman

When Chicago Seabirds star center, Merritt “the Iceman” Alexander, is told his concussion history means he has to retire from hockey, he withdraws from everything, including his fiancée, Heather Cantrell. Five years later, he’s found a new life on the ice as part owner of a company that specializes in Antarctic cruises.

Shattered by his disappearance, Hay has thrown all of her energy into taking her photography hobby into the realm of photojournalism. After a year of covering catastrophes all over the world, she is excited by her new assignment. An Antarctic cruise company wants her to document their newest offering to celebrate the discovery of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, Endurance.

Like two icebergs, the Iceman and the Photog glide toward each other, but will they crash and splinter forever, or will they melt enough to merge for a happy ending?

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1 Comment

Marina Costa
Marina Costa
Apr 22, 2023

Thank you very much for mentioning Popper name, be it the name of a shop now. I had asked other people who went to Tierra del Fuego if the remembrance of Julius Popper, who had been, in the 1880s, almost a sort of king of Tierra del Fuego, is still kept somewhere, and nobody could answer before you. He was origining from my country, Romania...

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