Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ushuaia and King Crab

Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world, located on the island of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. We were here for a few hours before boarding our ship that would take us into Antarctica.

Temperatures in the summer normally range from 17-19 degrees C. However, the day of our visit it was 27. Fortunately, I had checked out the weather before our departure from Buenos Aires and we were dressed appropriately. Others in our group paid more attention to what the ‘typical’ weather was supposed to be and were dressed for colder temperatures, even to the point of wearing long underwear and sweaters. Needless to say they were very uncomfortable.

(Hint: No matter what your tour guide tells you the weather was like ‘the last time’ they were someplace, go onto the internet and get up to date information. Our Ushuaia guide told us this weather was very unusual. However, she did point out a small pond, near the waterfront, which used to freeze every winter and where they would go ice-skating. Now, it no longer freezes.)

Ushuaia is very small and has one main street, San Martin, that is 16 blocks long. Needing some exercise, we decided to walk it and, of course, I needed to pop into the gift shops. Just off the main street we found a shop doing embroidery on hats and my husband got a very nice one. But in general, we were very disappointed with what we saw and I didn’t buy anything.

Having left Buenos Aires at 7 AM, we were now quite hungry and, based upon the suggestion of our Ushuaia tour guide, decided to have King Crab for lunch. It’s funny how we know of Alaskan King Crab but never considered that, essentially, the same crab would live in the same type of water off the southern coast of South America.

There are many restaurants along San Martin where you can find "centolla" (crab). The restaurant we stopped in offered it many ways but we wanted it ‘au natural’. So we ordered the cold crab dish. This was a pile of crab meat served with two sauces, one mayo based and the other mustard based. It was fantastic, tender and delicious. And, besides the taste, the next best part? The cost, at only US$15.00.