When in Tierra del Fuego, do as countless tourists do (Drive day 239: Feb 23rd, 2004)
This town precedes every noun with “World’s southernmost…” but it hardly needs the marketing campaign. Ushuaia’s rough-and-tumble, penal colony history alone is fascinating enough. Factor in the title of most-scuttled-ships-to-collect-insurance and a rebellious pattern begins to take shape. Still, no modern scandal compares to the fate of the Yamana Indians – wiped out by European diseases until only their mask-making heritage remains of this spiritually rich, phenomenally innovative indigenous culture. The whole land-of-fires (Tierra del Fuego) name? Credit the Yamana – surviving the cold by centering tribal life around constantly maintained, beachside fires. At least mankind hasn’t quite destroyed the diverse surviving animal species – they are celebrated in chartered tours by sea we just can’t resist.
Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.