after stumbling out the front door of my hostel (the aptly named FreeStyle hostel, which is suprisingly well-kept for a hostel and a great place to stay) yesterday afternoon after a brief nap, it turns out that located exactly across the street from the front door of the hostel was the travel agent recommended to me a month ago by some backpackers who had booked their trip to antarctica through them (they give you free rental of all the extra weatherproof gear you need to get in antarctica, which is a great savings).
since i'd been determined to not pre-plan my antarctic journey, and just show up in ushuaia and try to hop on a discounted last-minute fare for a ship leaving soon, i was a little nervous about whether or not i'd actually make it on a ship. but travelling solo means that i don't have to answer to anyone else when things don't work out, and i love just winging it and seeing what happens.
so i headed inside of the travel agency and after a brief chat, i left with a list of 5 ships with available berths going on tours of Antarctica within the next week that i could book through them. after lots of diligent online research, i finally ended up deciding to go with a ship run by the antarctic firm that had been recommended to me already by several people -- Quark Expeditions. i'm headed out on March 2nd on the Lyubov Orlova (my favorite feature: "There is a well stocked bar on board, staffed by a professional bartender, in the late morning, afternoon and evening.") for a 12-day trip down to the Antarctic Peninsula. i just picked up the confirmation papers and pre-trip documentation today, so it is definitely on!
i have no idea what i'll do for the next several days here while i wait to leave for antarctica -- but since there are a ton of nature-related things to do around here, i'm sure i won't be left without anything to do. and MAN, am i ever excited to visit the seventh (and final) continent of our planet and my trip.