End Of the World
I awoke around 8 AM with a pounding headache, parched mouth, bleary-eyed and confused, the part of my sleeping bag touching Marlie was soaked. For brevity’s sake, I’ll cut to the chase, state the facts and let you the reader determine what happened in the early hours of Monday February 8th Superhungover Monday.
We arrived in Ushuaia on Sunday with one goal in mind, find a bar playing the Super Bowl later that evening. After parading around town, we’d come up with three prospective establishments, the foremost called The Dublin, an Irish pub open from 8 PM to 4 AM, and from what we could see through the pulled curtains, two TVs. For a proper pre-game party we parked the van two blocks away in a seedier residential neighborhood, purchased Budweiser (RIP Dale #3, forever #1 in our hearts) one liter bottles and settled into a two and a half hour game of Catan. Just to be completely prepared, we doubled up on the Budweiser and had another before walking down to the Dublin an hour before opening, as the kickoff neared, the line doubled along with anticipation. No open container law down here meant a third one for Dale. Truth be told I couldn’t care less about the game, but this was our first proper foray into an Argentine bar and we were looking forward to having a few beers and were talking like we were going to close it down.
We secured front row seats at the bar, ordered our first round of ~$3.50 USD craft beers on tap, and settled in to watch a rather disappointing game, as the commercials were all Argentinean. Round after round, quarter after quarter, we carried on and had a rather good time with the half foreigner, half local crowd. Most of the other foreigners were fresh off the $ 7-10k, 2 week cruise to Antarctica, quite a curious crew they were, 2 American couples rooting for the Broncos paying for rounds with crisp Benjamin’s, the dingy driver for one ship, two rough looking Scottish girls, 2 Australians traveling a bit before their big move to London and us, pounding beers and having a really good time at this point. Our new friend Tim who we had met a few days back in a gas line in Tres Cerros because of a Great Falls Montana sticker on his motorcycle, arrived (he just completed a solo 42,000 km, 5 month ride from Quebec), shots were ordered and things got increasingly blurry. I was the first to leave, sometime before the game ended, as the crafty beer was a bit heavier than the cheap delicious Argentinian Malbec I’ve been increasingly become accustomed to.
Andrew was second back to the van, Brian and Marlie stumbled back somewhere around 3 AM. This feature of van living has risen to be one of my favorites, there’s no such thing as drinking and driving when your bedroom is parked out front of the bar.
Pure speculation. From here on, all that is written is speculation. I’ll provide a few observations and personal recollections but shall refrain from subscribing to a certain line of speculation. We’ll start with the facts. Marlie awoke soaked from head to navel, the top left quarter of the pull-out bed soaked, with a undetermined fluid. The pillow under her head, after a day of drying, has the yellow low line of said undetermined fluid, yet lacks the smell of anything particular. From the waist down she is dry, I am entirely dry, and my side of the bed is dry. The floor below Marlie is soaked, as is a blanket on the floor. It had rained sometime in the early am, however, the air vent on the roof above her was closed at some point during the night. The sink is right by where Marlie lays her head, yet there’s no sign of a leak. Andrews water bottle is on the counter about a third full, but being a Nalgene, has a screw on lid, that’s screwed on. So here we are drying out our things, speculating, then a special theory pops into my head. One of us four is different than the others when it comes to sleep walking.
Brotherbear is known to sleepwalk, he once awoke outside a dorm at four AM, sober, confused, locked out and six stories below the bunk he went to sleep on. Motherdear once found him peeing in the hallway in the middle of the night. When he was five he slept walked into my parents room, opened their closet door and peed in my dads shoes. Not to be outdone I’ve had my own fair share of urine mishaps, I’ve gone through a pee the bed phase myself. I’m happy to report no incidents since leaving the whiskey bucket paradise of Thailand in 2014. Marlie self reports a similar experience of an extreme case of night sweats 5 years prior, yet her dried shirt and fleece now smell of stale urine. Andrew can be ruled out as he was in the loft bunk cozy and dry, despite his most recent sleep-walk urination a month back in Buenos Aires.
Living in a van with four adults is only possible with a positive attitude and a big daily dose of humor. I certainly believe I know what happened yet I have no definitive evidence that could convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt. We’ve been speculating, laughing and blaming each other for the pee soaked van mate and van we awoke to Monday morning. It’s Thursday now and we’re driving through Tierro Del Fuego headed north to visit a penguin colony, then 18 hours of road tripping and we shall arrive in a place we’ve all been dreaming about for months now; Torres Del Paine. I think we can safely say the incident is in the rear view mirror just as Ushuaia is, only 17500km to Alaska!