We spent the last days “harvesting” Antarctic tourists who returned to Ushuaia after their trips to the White Continent and who we had contacted before their departure. In what amounted often quite literally to coffeehouse anthropology, we talked through their trips, experiences and memories and got stuffed with cake, hot chocolate (called submarino) and beagle negra.
We learnt a lot about how tourists perceive their journey to and through Antarctica – for most simultaneously an initiation rite, a transformative learning experience and a quest for a personal “inner South Pole”. Through our many interviews with stakeholders, we also learnt how much geopolitical, scientific and touristic logics are intertwined, and how tourism is variably mobilized to feed these logics.
Lots of new challenging questions arose thus making this research stay not only a great scientific experience in itself, but also opening possibilities for future research, collaborations and partnerships. Our deep-hearted thanks go to the entire team of CADIC who were great hosts and partners, the tour operators, expedition team members and lecturers who talked to us and the many, many tourists who shared their stories and private photo albums.
Terra del Fuego says Good Bye with two beautiful Austral summer days and a whale, a fox, sea lions, penguins, albatross, a mink, beavers and butterflies joining us for our farewell hike…
David and Dennis (and Catarina, our unofficial project biologist who joined us for some days)
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