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Rolfin's Orb
Book 10 - Argentina – Tanzanite
Chapter 1

          “Where are we?” Callum looked around. “All I see are mountains; tall mountains with snow on top. We’re not back in Nepal, are we?”

“No. We can’t go to the same place twice. We might be in Mongolia. We’re not in Africa. It’s not cold like this there in spring. My guess is we’re in Argentina and those are the Andes Mountains.” Fiona pointed to the tall peaks.

“Ah, the Andes. Of course,” Callum said.

“I think Fiona is right,” Jimmy said. “Where in Argentina? I looked at a map and it’s a big country.”

Fiona closed her eyes. She saw the gem, tanzanite. She let her mind wander and prodded people’s minds, no matter how distant. “We’re in a place called Tierra del Fuego. We’re at the very southern tip of the island near Cape Horn. It’s cold here all the time, but bearable when the sun is out. The jewel is buried under a rock in the sand at the end of the world.” She looked up at the sky.

“We’re at the end of the world? What does that mean?” Elspet looked around.

“It means we can’t go any farther south. We’re near Antarctica and the South Pole, way down at the bottom of the planet Earth.” Callum told her before Fiona could.

 “That is pretty cool, Callum. It’s freezing here. I can’t do much to make it warmer, without disturbing the natural way of things, but I can keep the sun shining and get rid of these clouds.” Fiona waved her hand and the gray heavy hanging clouds dissipated, leaving a blue sky in their place. “There, much better.”

“That’s a matter of opinion,” Jimmy said, rubbing his arms. “It’s still cold.”

“What did you call this place, Fiona? Tarra del what?” Elspet blubbered out the words.

“Not Tarra del what; Tierra del Fuego. Tierra. Fuego.” Once again Callum answered, sounding out the words out slowly, as if Elspet was an infant. “It’s a huge island. The top half of the island is owned by Chile and the other half is owned by Argentina. We’re in the Argentinean half.” Callum rambled on. “I learned about this place in my geography class. “They have oil and natural gas and an assortment of wild animals. I don’t think there will be a lot to sketch here, Elspet. Did you bring your camera?”

“I did bring it and lots of film. I’m sure there will be something to take photos of. Look at those mountains. They’re rugged, but very distinct looking. I like it here.” Elspet reached into her pack and picked up her camera. “Does anyone want their photo taken with the Andes in the background?”

“I’ve never used a camera before, Elspet. Do you mind teaching me how?” Jimmy examined the object in Elspet’s hand.

“Of course. When we get our bearings and it’s time to relax, I’ll show you. It’s simple. I learned how to take photographs when I was little.” Elspet took a few shots and handed the camera to Jimmy. “I wish we had a digital camera. You don’t have to put film in it. You just take the pictures and then download them onto a computer. But, I don’t have a computer, so this way is easier.”

“I don’t think Jimmy knows what a computer is,” Fiona said.

“I don’t, but I’m sure you’ll teach me all I need to know when you can,” Jimmy said.

“By the way, Fiona, what in the world is tanzanite?” Callum scratched his chin.

“It’s a beautiful deep blue colored jewel and comes from Tanzania, in Africa. It’s a very rare gem and expensive.” Fiona turned and looked behind her. “Let’s head into town. It is about a mile down the coast. I’ve picked up thoughts coming from that direction.” She pointed to the east. “It’s not much of a town, Ushuaia. In fact it’s the most southern city in the entire world and probably less people live there than in Whitehorse in the Yukon, but it does have places to eat.”

“Food? Let’s go. I’m not starving, but the cold is making me hungry. If I remember correctly, Argentina is famous for its beef,” Callum said.

“This isn’t mainland Argentina. I doubt if they have cows here. I think they have sheep. They probably eat fish. Look around you, Callum. All there is around here is water, ocean water, cold ocean water, rough cold ocean water.”

“Okay, I get it, Elspet. Fish it is then,” Callum said with a grin.

They walked into town, clambering over slippery rocks and dodging rogue waves that tumbled onto the beach. Many boats sat docked against wooden piers. Cargo ships, catamarans, power boats and oil tankers filled the sea to the horizon, each awaiting their turn to dock and unload. The smell of the ocean overpowered all other smells. Waves crashing against rocks drowned out most of the noises of the town.

“Not much of a place,” Fiona said.

“But the boats make it colorful. Some are red and orange and others are green or blue. I think this warrants a photo.” Elspet snapped another few shots.

 “We need to find a local map and a place to buy warmer clothes. I’m freezing.” Fiona led them up and down the street until they found a clothing store. Each of them purchased gloves, boots, heavy socks, a waterproof coat and hat. Fiona stopped at a bank and exchanged her money while the others started trying on the new clothes.

“That’s much better,” Jimmy said, adjusting his new hat. “Do I look dashing?” He grinned at himself in a mirror. “Why, yes I do. I’m just going to let you be in charge, Fiona. You know what you’re doing. Consider me simply along for the ride.”

“There are 45,000 people who live here. That’s much more than I thought would. I think some of the buildings here are cool. That one church over there is interesting,” Elspet said, pointing up the hilly street. “This is sort of like Lands End in Cornwall, England. My gran went on holiday there and showed me photos.

“That’s just the end of the land of Britain. This is the end of land in the whole planet,” Callum said.

“I suppose. We need to figure out how we’re going to get to the end of the world. I wonder if there’s a tourist place here,” Fiona said.

“I saw one. It’s small, but I’m sure someone can help us. You can speak their language, so there’s no problem. Just find out where we go and how to get there.” Callum slipped his gloves on. “It’s getting late, Fiona. Maybe we should find somewhere to sleep first. I don’t want to have to sleep outside. We’d freeze to death.”

“He’s right, Fiona. That should be our priority,” Jimmy said.

“You’re right. I’ll take Elspet and we’ll go that way, and you two go the other way. If you find a hotel, think thoughts about me and I’ll keep my mind open and come immediately. If you don’t find anything, meet us back here in an hour.” Fiona and Elspet walked away.

Callum shrugged his shoulders. “Okay. We go that way.” He pointed and started walking.

“Wait for me, Callum.” Jimmy called after him and ran.

After the hour’s search, they met back in the center of town. “There are only a few hotels and they’re booked solid. There are a lot of inns and B&B’s, but they’re all booked too. There are no empty rooms in Ushuaia, but the man at the desk of the last hotel we went into recommended we ask for a berth on one of these docked ships. He said they don’t charge much.” Fiona scanned the horizon. “There are at least two dozen ships docked. Let’s go and find one

The first person they spoke to rented them two cabins on one of the lower decks of his ship. Fiona and Elspet took one and Callum and Jimmy took the one across the hall.

“We have to go back into town to eat,” Callum said, knocking on Fiona and Elspet’s cabin. “They don’t cook for the people who rent cabins unless they’re out at sea. Jimmy is hungry too.”

Fiona opened the door. “Are all men the same? Do all you think about is food? We haven’t been in our cabins five minutes.”

“How much time do you need? Are all girls the same? Do you always have to spend an hour getting ready for everything? It’s not like you have fancy dresses to put on.” Callum sighed.

Elspet pushed her way next to Fiona. “Touche, Callum. I’m hungry too, Fiona. Let’s go and eat and get back here. I’m tired and I do not want to be caught out there when the sun goes down. What ship is this anyway?”

“It’s the Lucky Lady, a cargo ship,” Jimmy said. “I saw the name painted on the hull. It’s a horrid color. I can’t say orange is the best color for a ship.”

“I guess it’s that color so it can be found if it’s lost in a storm,” Callum said.

Lucky Lady? I wonder what sort of cargo she is carrying.” Elspet looked down the hall. “I hope it’s not dynamite or poisonous chemicals.”

“Really, Elspet. That’s silly. Whatever it was carrying, which is probably food supplies, has already been unloaded. I read the guy who rented us the cabin’s mind. The ship is riding high because its cargo hold is empty. Tomorrow they’re loading wool. They apparently have a lot of sheep here on the island.” Fiona smirked. “It’s like Scotland. They’ve got a lot of sheep too. I find that sort of funny.”

As they walked into town, Callum asked a question. “Isn’t Cape Horn dangerous? I’ve seen some telly about how a lot of ships sink as they go around the Horn.”

“I don’t know much about that. By the look of the sea, I believe what you’re saying. Luckily the Lucky Lady is docked and I have no intentions of having a cruise tonight.” Fiona saw a restaurant up ahead and as they walked towards it. The sun fell below the horizon. “Wow, that’s pretty. Look at the sunset. We’re so far south now and we’re used to being north.”

“I wonder if they have the Northern Lights here,” Elspet said.

“No, they have the Southern Lights, the Aurora Australis,” Callum boasted his knowledge. “We might see them, but this is spring down here and I’m not sure what time of year they appear down under.”

“I hope we do,” Elspet said.

“It’s beautiful. I can’t remember ever seeing the evening sky so red before. I suppose the air is clear and cold and that makes the colors more vivid.” Jimmy gazed at the horizon.

“They had this magazine in the cabin on the ship. Someone must have left it there,” Callum said.

“Duh, Callum. Do you think?”

“Don’t be so rude, Elspet. Anyway, as I was saying, I glanced at this magazine. It said this place was discovered by Hernando de Magellan in 1520 and that he was a conquistador. You know how the British used to send all their prisoners to Australia to get them out of the way; they did that here too. They sent bad people from Argentina, Peru and Chile here to a prison. It was called ‘The Jail at the End of the World.’ They sent all their worst, baddest, prisoners down here.”

“Callum, there is no such word as baddest, is there?” Elspet scratched her head.

Callum glared at her. “As I was saying, the prison isn’t open any more, but I don’t think they’d be too happy at being sent here. I’d much rather go to Australia.” Callum wiped his forehead, changing the subject. “This hat is hot. This town sure has steep streets,” Callum said. They stopped in front of the restaurant, The End of the World Cafe. “All you can eat beef. Sounds good to me. I thought I’d have to eat fish tonight.” Callum pushed the door open.

A waitress, Gabriella, seated them near the window, offering them a view of the beach. Callum and Jimmy watched her as she took their orders and walked away.

“You two are so typical of men. You’re gawking at Gabriella. Stop it!” Elspet tittered and tisked.

“She’s pretty,” Jimmy said. “I like her long dark hair, that’s all.”

“Yeah, right. Whatever,” Elspet said, shaking her head back and forth.

Fiona ordered smoked salmon with brown bread and butter, lemon wedges, gherkins and capers. Roasted lamb in mint sauce came sizzling and popping and placed on the table before her. For sweet she had Gateaux St. Honore drizzled with butterscotch sauce. The meal ended with a fine selection of cheeses with a tomato-onion relish.

Jimmy ordered smoked duck salad with dressing and croutons, a selection of hot breads, pan fried pork medallions topped with creamy apple sauce, roasted potatoes and swede and carrot puree. He topped off his meal with chocolate ganache with cream and chocolate shavings.

Callum ordered the daily special of all the beef you can eat and a sweet rhubarb pie with cream. “I’m not eating sissy food like you two. Imagine being here and eating pork medallions. What a girl, Jimmy.”

Jimmy looked at the menu. “I happen to like pork, Callum.” He held the menu up to his face to hide it from Callum and stuck his tongue out so Elspet could see. She giggled.

“I’ll have roasted peppers and creamy goat cheese on garlic bruschette, with a sweet balsamic dressing. I’ll also have Chilean sea bass cooked in lime sauce with onions, mushrooms and herbs and for sweet I’ll have lemon meringue tart with clotted cream.” Elspet licked her lips.

          “You guys are gross. How can you eat that stuff when there’s all you can eat beef?” Callum patted his belly.

          “Oh look, Callum. You can order wild boar. What a perfect dish for you,” Elspet said.

          “No thanks. I’m having the beef.”

          The waitress set all their dishes of food down in front of them. “Thank you,” Callum said to Gabriella. His cheeks went pink.

“If you leave her a big tip she might leave you a kiss,” Elspet teased.

“Shut up, Elspet.” Callum took a bite of his food.

They hungrily gobbled everything down. When Gabriella brought the bill, Callum avoided eye contact with her and pretended to look out the window. Jimmy burst out laughing.

Fiona gasped. “My goodness. This is even more expensive than eating in Iceland.”

          “They do have to import everything, Fiona. You can imagine how expensive it would be to bring things way down here, and dangerous too. I’m surprised it isn’t more expensive,” Elspet said. “Think of petrol and what it must cost to drive a car here. The taxis must be outrageous in price.”

          After reluctantly paying the check, the four of them left the restaurant. “There is no sand on those beaches, is there. It’s mostly rock.” They walked down to the beach. “There’s some sand. Those waves look so rough. It’s sure different here than in the Seychelles. Isn’t it strange how different places on Earth are so opposite. I guess it has to do with where you’re located on the plant. Oh well.” Callum took a deep breath.

“Are you finished rambling, Callum?” Elspet picked a small stone off the ground and threw it into the water. He scowled at her.

They stood for a few minutes in silence and then headed back to the Lucky Lady.

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