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Day 2: Tango city

December 7, 2010
Most of us thought that the flight from Hong Kong to Paris was bad enough, but it turned out that Paris to Beunos Aires was even longer and more cramped, as it was a completely full flight with lots of babies on board. To my surprie I found out that Argentina is a very popular holiday destination for the French, and that they take the opportunity to learn Latin dancing, especially the Tango while they stay down here.
To shake off the boredom and the somewhat limited range of movies available in the inflight entertainment, some of us resorted to trying to learn basic French and Spanish from the other passengers around us, who kindly assented to teach in return for some basic cantonese phrases.
But after about 13 hours, we finally made it to this South American city. Almost at once, the rich cultural diversity of Argentina is plain for all to see – mixing colonial Spanish culture, indigenous South American flair and mestizo identity which rings out in the beautiful architecture across the city.
Unfortunately though, as we go through the city by coach it is also obvious that the income gap is very large here, and much remains to be done to help bring more people out of the poverty line – one of the great challenges of the 21st century.
At the hotel, we all sit down to have lunch before we meet up at 6PM for a briefing by Professor Chan of Hong Kong University, who has accompanied us on this trip to add an academic element to our voyage. Unfortunately, due to the huge 11 hour time difference and the long hours of flying, only a few actually manage to make it to the briefing on time (including me, I’m proud to say). The resulting punishment was a set of ever increasing push ups proportional to how late you were. Whether people learnt the lesson or not will be seen tomorrow morning, at breakfast.
But on a more serious note, we all have to start formulating a research topic for ourselves – something which is specific, clearly defined, and can be researched using the equipment we have on the boat. Also, we await final confirmation of our opportunity to meet with the Chinese scientists at the Great Wall Science station later on during the trip.
In the meantime though, we are off to Ushuaia tomorrow, the southernmost city of the world, and off to visit glaciers and the wonderful countryside of Patagonia.
Read more about Ben’s trip
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