Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The End of the Earth

The postcard arrived from Ushuaia, Fin Del Mundo, the end of the earth. This could be important in case a Republican is elected president and Canada builds a wall.

It’s good to know there is an end. Of course, if you were born there it would be the beginning unless you were in a witness protection program.

From the POV of penguins it’s the beginning and the end. Except for those who made it across to one island in the Galapagos, some strays in New Zealand with a poor sense of direction and assorted stuffed ones. Every story has a beginning, middle and end but not necessarily in that order.

My friend is not in witness protection. Stanley and his wife took a trip to Patagonia, left the pampas grass and ended up in Tiera del Fuego. Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world, the gateway to Antarctica. If you’re looking for polar bears you’re in the wrong pole.

Just avoid the on-going conflict between Chile and Argentina over a disputed border which divides the land roughly in two. If you come down here to tango Ushuaia is on the Argentinian side. It is also a good place to write a blog about  if you have nothing much to say.

Darwin’s ship, The Beagle, also stopped there in 1833 to drop off some hostages they had snatched earlier along with a missionary to teach the natives about the true nativity.

If the Repugnants and their deniers prevail in November and we're faced with a full global meltdown Ushuaia may be an easy commute to the Arctic Circle where the next real estate boom could occur. What was once a glacier might become a Costco parking lot.

The postcard shows a red and white lighthouse on an otherwise barren strip of land. Actually there are 56,000 folks living in Ushuaia and not all are hiding out. In case of road rage or if I get lost on the L.A. freeways I could do worse than take the southern route away from it all and keep going to this archipelago. There is even a five-star hotel where I can cool my heels. With off-season rates in July and August it’s not as cold as Winnipeg and getting warmer every year.

To give Antarctica its due it should be noted that the south pole may be south but it is not down any more than the north pole is up. The center of our planet is the only down; all the surfaces are up. The arctic can even be seen as the bottom from a certain view. Our map is just one of those agreed-upon lies. The next time I go for a spacewalk I promise to confirm this. 

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