Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Broke at the End of The World

Flying into Ushuaia reminds me of flying into Pasto, Colombia;surrounded by mountains to the point where you feel as if you might fly right into one. I withdrew a little cash at the airport to the tune of a $6 dollar ATM fee. This actually became a huge problem as the ATMs in town cap the number of pesos that one can withdrawal daily. The fact that Ushuaia is already really expensive made things complicated when restaurants weren't able to take our credit card.  

I asked our host about exchanging dollars on the black market rate, which had previously been at 13-14 pesos per dollar. She replied that as of yesterday, there was only one rate, Argentina’s new president had devalued the currency by 40% to eliminate the black market rate. B and I dug out our US dollars and trotted down to Banco de la Nacion where around 40 people were waiting in line (a trend throughout the entire country).

 I remembered reading that casinos were a place to change money in Ushuaia so we popped in the first one we saw. When I asked the Casino doorman, he initially said no, but when I pressed him he directed me to the cashier, who wanted me to change $1500 but then allowed me to exchange $1000 at 13 pesos/dollar. The whole experience of money troubles reminded me of my days in La Plata where my boss would dedicate entire days (‘bank days’) withdrawing money for projects. It seems an Amex card is the most advantageous to have in Ushuaia as there are few places that currently accept Visa/MC.

We got the centolla al ajillo (king crab with garlic) at Tia Elvira's. The place had so many artifacts and old pictures, it should be considered a museum. Although the crab was a little too chewy and not very good. Had a great local cerveza artesianal, the Cape Horn Pilsen. We walked around looking for a mate and played cards over mate while a downpour battered the house. Later on we braved the rain to check out Kuar, where we had a delicious salad with fried cheese and some lamb ravioli. Everything in Ushuaia seemed to shut down around 9pm and the town had an eerie and vacant vibe about it.

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