Exploring the World’s Southernmost City

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego

In the first part of my trip to Argentina, I visited Buenos Aires for one day and a half. I spent the rest of the week with my brother and my friend in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world nicknamed “The End of the World.” We woke up at 3AM on Tuesday to take a 4:30AM flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. After a 3h30 nonstop flight, we landed at the small airport of Ushuaia. After we claimed our luggage at the carousel, we hoped on a taxi and headed to our Airbnb. Our place was located right in the center of the town where you can easily find various shops and restaurants.

The first thing we did when we arrived was to go eat breakfast in a small café just a few streets away from our Airbnb. After we finished eating, we walked a bit and explored the town. To me, the town felt like a mix of Vail and European ski resorts. We stopped by a grocery store to get a few items for the week.

Beagle Channel Catamaran Tour

In the afternoon, we went to do a catamaran tour on the Beagle Channel. The strait is located at the southern tip of South America and is shared by both Argentina and Chile. On the left side of the boat is Argentina while Chile is on the right side (the opposite on the way back). During the five hour tour, we visited islands of birds, sea lions, penguins and a lighthouse.

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Sea lions

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Penguins

We came back to the dock at around 8:30PM (Argentina Time) and it was still daytime. The sun in Ushuaia sets at 10PM but you can still see light in the skies at around 11PM! It is interesting to see that in the northeast of the United States it starts to become dark at around 4PM (EST) but the sun in Ushuaia sets 6 hours later!

Hike to Laguna Esmeralda

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Laguna Esmeralda

On the second day of our trip to Ushuaia we went to visit a popular place named Laguna Esmeralda. To get there, visitors have to do a 5.5 km hike to reach the lake. Once you arrive at the lake, the view is just beautiful! It reminded me of Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. We were lucky enough to be up there when the weather was cooperating. It can often get windy and cloudy once you arrive at the lake.

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After admiring the view and taking some photos for about one hour, we made our way back using the same path we went through on the way up. The hike was not really difficult, but I would definitely recommend to wear boots because it can get muddy at some places as you can see in the photo above.

Hike to the Martial Glacier

The next morning, we did another hike, this time to a glacier. I would say this hike was more difficult than the one we did the previous day. The hike to the glacier was more steep while the one to Laguna Esmeralda was generally flat. The more you climbed in altitude, the more it got steep. At the base there were trees and vegetation, but as you were going up, the ground was getting more rocky.

Top of the glacier

Top of the glacier (2,707 ft. ASL)

A few feet away from the top of the glacier, there was a warning sign indicating that hikers needed a specialized guide to climb higher. There was no more visual path in the mountain but we decided to explore and hike a bit higher (I don’t think my mom would have approved this)!

View of Ushuaia from the highest point we climbed (~3,500 ft. ASL)

View of Ushuaia from the highest point we climbed (~3,500 ft. ASL)

We couldn’t climb much higher because the ground was all covered with snow and we did not have any kind of hiking equipment with us. One of the perks of climbing higher is that you can go down on your back where there is a slope with snow and slide down on your back. I tried it a few times and it was awesome!

Well, that’s it for the outdoors activities we did in Ushuaia. If you are an outdoor person, I would definitely recommend you to visit if you go to Argentina! The next day, we flew back to Buenos Aires where we spent one night before making our final journey back to the United States. During that week, I flew more than 18,000 miles in the skies. I will write a story about all that air travel in the next few weeks.

Until next time!

Nicolas

Thanksgiving Break in Argentina

Instead of heading home for Thanksgiving like most students did, I decided to visit Argentina with my brother. As a former airline intern with Air Canada, I was offered two roundtrip tickets to go to any destination in the world the air carrier serves. The Thanksgiving break was the perfect time of the semester to use those tickets since they expire next January and there were blackouts dates in December for Christmas and the New Year. Because of Thanksgiving, I had five days of holiday including the weekend. Missing the first two days of the week made the trip possible since I now benefited of a full week of vacation.

Since we had to fly Air Canada, we had to go through Canada to fly to Argentina. I drove to Orlando and then I flew to Boston on Friday to join my brother. On Saturday evening, we boarded an Air Canada flight to Toronto where we connected to catch another flight to Buenos Aires. My brother and I arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina the next day on Sunday after a long day of traveling.

After getting settled in our hotel, we went out for dinner where we met our friend from high school who is studying abroad in Buenos Aires. After our dinner we walked around Palermo Soho, a popular neighbourhood in Buenos Aires.

A street in Buenos Aires

A street in Buenos Aires.

The next day we visited the city since it was our last day in Buenos Aires. We visited La Recoleta Cemetery (Cementerio de la Recoleta) which is one of the most visited site in Buenos Aires. We also visited the Floralis Genérica, a big metal flower. The six petals of the flower close in the evening during sunset.

Cementerio de la Recoleta

Cementerio de la Recoleta

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Floralis Genérica

The next morning (Tuesday), we all flew from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. Ushuaia is the world’s southernmost city. We spent the rest of the week over there doing some fun activities. Stay tuned to learn more about the city with the nickname of The End of the World! In the meantime, you can enjoy some fun facts about Argentina below:

Interesting Facts About Argentina

  • While I was on the taxi going from the airport to the hotel, I noticed that drivers drive very close to other cars. Cars in Argentina are quite small. It is rare to see an F150 on the road. Most vehicles in AR are manual and not automatic.
  • Did you know that Argentina has the widest street in the world? You’d be surprised how long it takes to cross Avenida 9 de Julio.
  • When you go to restaurants, the waiter will usually not bring glasses of water to your table. You will have to order a bottle of agua if you are thirsty.
  • Argentines apparently do not use black pepper in their recipes. You will only find salt on the table.
  • Unlike North America, Argentines eat dinner pretty late. You will probably be the only customer in the restaurant if you go eat at 7PM.
  • When two people greet each other, they kiss on the cheek. Even men.
  • The seasons are the opposite. When it is winter here, it is summer over there and vice-versa.

Until next time!

Nicolas

First Class of the Semester Completed

This Wednesday, I completed my first class of the semester. You might be thinking that this is impossible since we are only in November and the fall semester ends in mid-December. The professor let me take the final exam in advance. Just kidding!

The Business Statistics class (MATH 222) I took was an online class through Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus. It was the first time I took a Mathematics online course. Even though I was pleased overall with the class, I would not recommend it to students who are studying at the Daytona Beach or Prescott campuses. The main reason is that an online Math class is quite different from the other classes students have to take.

As you know, a Math class is more about solving problems than writing essays. It happened a couple times over the semester that I did not understand how to do a problem. Professors don’t really teach you anything in online classes; you are on your own. You learn by reading the textbook and by looking at the slides. I found that my best friend during that class was the Internet. I watched videos that explained how to do certain problems. Sometimes, I thought the videos explained better than the textbook did.

Three Weeks Remaining
Only a few weeks separate today from the end of the fall semester! This also means that end of semester projects, essays and finals are arriving at the same time. I have my final analytical report due on Monday in my Tech Report class (COM 221). A presentation about this report is also required as part of the final grade. In Comparative Religions (HU 345), I have an essay due right after the Thanksgiving break. In my Supply Chain class (BA 363), I have a group project to do due on the last day of classes. Finally, I have a few tests left in some classes before the final exam.

Long Weekend
On Veterans Day (today), I am going to see my friend in Baltimore, MD. He works for a  ground handling company at the airport so I hope to learn a few things during my short visit! Before every flight I board, I try to sit by the window at the gate area to look at all the activities going around the aircraft. Today, I’ll have the chance to be walking on the airport ramp!

Until next time!

Nicolas

Editor’s note: Current residential campus students must submit appropriate paperwork before enrolling in online courses through the Worldwide Campus. Consult with the Record’s Office, your advisor or admissions counselor before deciding whether online courses are right for you. 

Turkey, Family & The National Dog Show

I am back from Thanksgiving break! I am so thankful for the fact that I was able to get three days off of school so I could go home and spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my family and friends. It was definitely a break well-needed.

In classic Thanksgiving fashion, my mother made a turkey and my grandparents came over to my house to visit. While my family was making food, I got to watch The National Dog Show (a personal tradition of mine), and I was so impressed by the winner. The dog that won the “Best in Show” title was a Skye terrier named Good Time Charlie and he was so cute!

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My mom and I kissing my 100 year old Grandpa Bob!

After Thanksgiving dinner, my mother and I went early Black Friday shopping and I was able to get new clothes.  I also bought a Darth Vader mug (I love Star Wars), but I couldn’t find it when I was packing up for Daytona, so I guess my mom hid it away for Christmas.

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Connor and I at Universal Studios

On the day of Black Friday, I decided to stay away from the malls and instead go to Universal Studios with one of my Sigma sisters, Connor! Although I work at Universal, this was really exciting for me because I never get to go there during the holiday season. The best thing about going on Black Friday was that since everyone was out shopping, the park wasn’t too busy and we were able to go on all the rides we wanted to!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving break and is ready to tackle finals!

Thanksgiving Break

For some, the American Thanksgiving is a time of the year where families and loved ones reunite at a table and have a big meal. For me, it is totally different since my family is not American!

I still go back home for the break which is nice, but we do not celebrate any type of festivities. Our Thanksgiving (Canadian) is actually on the second Monday of October and we only have that Monday as a holiday. For us, Thanksgiving is not as big as in the United States. Our biggest holiday is Christmas and this is the time when we eat turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, pie, and all the good stuff.

During this break I mostly spend time with my family and see my friends from home. I also have free time to do school work since the finals are approaching very quickly. When I come back from the break, I will only have four days of classes left. Then the finals are the following week. I will be busy during the last week of classes. I will have three presentations to deliver and a group project to submit along with other assignments. I was supposed to have three back to back finals but I was lucky that one of my professors changed the schedule and put the exam during regular class time.

After I take my last final, I will fly back home for the long winter break. This year, the holiday will be longer than last year. Embry-Riddle added a week of vacation in January! This is awesome for students but it also mean that we will end the spring semester a week later in May.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nicolas

 

 

Fall Semester Comes to a Close

Greetings, everyone!

It’s official: Fall 2013 has ended and winter break is upon us. Although here in Daytona Beach it certainly doesn’t feel like it, with temperatures continuing to hover around the low-80s. Everybody back home loathes me this time of year, when they’re starting to get the big snow falls and I’m just wishing I could wear a sweatshirt. I suppose nobody is really ever happy with the weather they have. I got this photo from my aunt, taken outside her window:

and responded with this one, taken outside mine:

Usually my Facebook posts about the weather aren’t well-recieved. But it’s just so much fun. 😉

My last post was right before Thanksgiving break, so I suppose I can start there. I had a good time spending a few days back home, even though I spent a lot of the time working on homework and final projects. The end of the semester was poorly timed this year, because the week after the break was the last one, so everything is due. I don’t know what the general opinion is, but I think that the last week of classes is way more stressful than finals week. Finals week is actually pretty chill – you only have to go to school for finals, and have a lot of free time. Which is, of course, deceiving, because you really *should* be studying, and not staying up until 5 am playing Pokemon Y or anything along those lines. But I digress. Nonetheless, it was nice to see my family and friends back home, even though I’ve adapted to Florida and spent the whole three and a half days perpetually cold. It’s only funny to make fun of them for the weather when I’m not there, I suppose.

This is what was happening in my simulations for my Spaceflight project – the blue is the orbit of the Earth and the green is the orbit of the moon. Which isn’t so much an orbit, but a beeline straight out of the solar system.

I got back to Daytona early on Saturday, and had a massive homework assignment due at 11:59 PM that night. So much for having a break. I think I turned it in at like 11:58:43 or something like that – oops. Then it was final projects, papers, and exams for the next week and a half. My biggest project was probably the one for my Spaceflight Dynamics class, which involved simulating a three-body orbital problem in MATLAB. It was going well until I made some calculation error and was flinging the moon straight out of the solar system. But I ended up fixing that, woo! Aside from that and the ten page paper on black holes that I had to crank out in one night, everything else wasn’t too bad. I had finals in thermodynamics and astronomy that I thought were pieces of cake (not that I didn’t study, mind you.) The only thing that gave me real trouble was my EP 501 final exam – I only needed a 62 on the final to get an A in the class, thanks to my midterm exam and homework successes, and I was legitimately worried I didn’t even get that. But I managed to pull off a 78 (don’t even know how I scored that high, to be honest) and thus managed to secure my 4.0 Master’s GPA for another semester. Still waiting on grades for my undergrad classes, but from my calculations I am looking at straight A’s! Not to brag 🙂

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch as seen from campus!

Another cool feature of last week was SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch, which scrubbed on the first two launch dates but went off the third time. And I got to see it from campus! It was super cool; we went up to the top of the AMS building where there is an observation deck for watching planes go in and out of the airport, and got a really great view. Even saw the stage separations of the rocket!

Stage separations of the rocket as it went up into space!

This week I’ll spend some time helping pack up the labs to move over to the new College of Arts and Sciences building, and then I’m homebound on Wednesday for about a week and a half. It’s crazy how quickly this semester went; I feel like it just started yesterday. But that’s life I guess!

That’s all I have to talk about in this entry. Haven’t gotten word if I will be writing again next semester, but I hope to be able to continue to share my stories with you! Feel free to always email me questions, or just to say hey, and I wish you all a happy holiday season and a successful rest of the school year!

Also before I close out, I’d like to dedicate this entry to my dog, Skip, who passed away last Friday. We got Skip as a rescue in April of 2001, when he was thought to be 2-4 years old, so he had a long life, and was always very happy and full of energy. He was a really great dog, and we all miss him very much.

My brother and I with Skip, 2004

 

 

October 2011

Six months ago, on April 28 at 12:30 AM, I received a phone call from my Mother saying that a tornado had come through at 12:15 AM. I was sound asleep when I received this phone call because the next day was the last day of my junior year at ERAU. My home, my Grandparents, and Aunt/Uncle’s home were destroyed. Luckily no one was injured and everyone is still with us today.

Today my Grandparent’s home and my Aunt/Uncle’s home are rebuilt. My home is still in progress, but we hope to be moved in by Thanksgiving. Over the month of October, I went home for the weekend to see the progress of the house. Everything is looking great and is on schedule for us to move in right before Thanksgiving. I would like to thank Embry-Riddle and its staff for being there for me through this hard time. Homes can be replaced, but family can’t.

On October 22-23 I participated in the 2011 Ocala Aerobatic Competition in the Advanced and Freestyle class. School comes first on my list and with my busy schedule I did not get any practicing going into this event. Having Friday the 21 st off from school for Fall Break though made it easy for me to leave for the event early and get to the field to practice the day before the contest. Friday I was able to get in three practice rounds before the contest started on Saturday the 22 nd .

The first day of the contest we completed three full rounds and I was very consistent and placed 2 nd and 3 rd throughout the rounds. By the end of the day I was in 3 rd place. I figure with hardly any practice this is not too bad! The second day of the event on Sunday we flew one more round and I ended up finishing 3 rd in my class. I also competed in the Freestyle contest and this is where all the pilots fly to a four minute music mix demonstrating all styles of aerobatic flying. I ended up coming in first in this class. Overall it was not a bad weekend. This contest was a test for me to see how much practice I need before the Southeast Regional’s Contest that is November 4 th thru the 6 th in Jacksonville, FL.

The end of the 2011 Aerobatic Competition is coming to the end and it all ends at the Southeast Regional’s, which is in Jacksonville, FL. This event is where the top 10 pilots from each of the five classes get invited to compete to see who is the best in the Southeast Region. I ended up finishing 5 th in the Region for the points race, so I was invited to compete against the top pilots in the region. School is still keeping me busy, but I have been able to sneak in a few practice rounds after class!

This is it for this month, between competing in Radio Control Airplanes, flying home, and school; I have been a busy student this month! Check back next month for updates on the Southeast Regional’s, and updates on the current progress of rebuilding home. Thanks for reading!

November 28, 2010

Food, food galore! These past few weeks have been filled with stress and work, but as always, lots of fun. This time: Disney, a glider, and, of course, a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with my family.The highlight of these past few weeks has been a trip to Disney, organized by the First Generation program. Although I myself am not, anyone is allowed to attend the meetings and trips. However, anyone who is a first generation student competes for scholarships (and come on, who doesn’t want money for college!). For $25 each, my roommate, my boyfriend and I went to the most amazing place in the world.

If you didn’t know from my earlier entries, I am the biggest Disney fanatic out there. Seriously, I know anything and everything there is to know about the parks (just ask my friends!). Of course, I was more than thrilled to go when I found out about it. Can you believe I hadn’t been there for 2 years? That’s a new record for me for sure.

Anyhow, we left at around 8 in the morning to go. I couldn’t sleep the night before! We spent our entire day in the park. I was the tour guide for my group of friends, of course. The beautiful holiday decorations Disney is known for were up around the place. The park was fairly empty because of the season, which meant smaller waiting times. Although we had to leave early (6 pm!), Jim and I still managed to buy ourselves some Mickey ears from the hat shop down Main Street. My collection is now up to about 10…

Speaking of numbers, almost half of my classes are now over! We ended our EGR-101 class (introduction to engineering) with a glider project. This has to be by far one of the easiest things we’ve had to do in this class! Over 100 pages worth of technical reports and one balsa wood glider later, I am kind of glad this was over….This week was Thanksgiving. Not only did I have the thrill of having found out that my first class is now at 10:30—which means I get to sleep in–,but I also got to spend most of the week down in Miami. Because I live so far away, I couldn’t fly home. A friend of mine lives down there, so she was kind enough to give me a ride back to my old home.

I stayed over at my great aunt Ceres’s and spent a night with my high school friends. Speaking of, I finally got my IB diploma!!! IB is an international association that allows students to receive an international diploma on top of their regular high school diploma. After having worked 2 years for it, I am so glad it is now in my hand.

When visiting high school, I also got to see some of my old teachers. Needless to say I had to speak to the class, and, well, let’s just say the girls were happy with the “Riddle Ratio”. Kudos to all you “Reefers” reading this!

What is the best part about this holiday? Why, the food, of course! My Cuban side was overjoyed when my family prepared some delicacies traditional to the island. Pan con lechon, natilla, churrasco….all really bad things for your health, but oh so good at the same time! We had American classics as well, of course, like turkey, mashed potatoes, etc…All with a Latino kick.Needless to say, next few weeks will be crazy! Computing final project due on Wednesday, finals in 2 weeks…but on the bright side, I’ll be home in 2 and a half weeks!! Wish me luck!

December 1, 2008

Hello again, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I know I did. I just got back from a wonderful 6 days off! I went to my roommate’s grandparent’s house for Thanksgiving in Ocala, FL. What a wonderful trip. The food was so amazing and they are pretty much like a second family to me. It was definitely a well-needed break. The week before Thanksgiving was extremely busy for me. But, weekend before full of studying and hard work really paid off. I got A’s on all of my papers, presentations, and tests! Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Just work hard, have fun, and anything is possible.

I now have 3 days left in the semester! Wow, all that is left between now and Christmas break is one test and one paper. Success!!! If I can recommend anything to you future college students, I would urge you to work extremely hard in the beginning of the semester. Therefore, the stress level is lower at the end. If you work hard at the beginning of the school year when you are extremely motivated, you can maintain a high grade point average before finals hit. As a result, you have a buffer for the extremely high workload at the end of the semester. This has worked extremely well for me. A lot of students get extremely stressed during finals. However, if you make a constant effort to succeed during the semester, you’ll be just fine. Don’t wait until the end to start cracking the books.

This will most likely be my last entry of the semester. After December 4th, I will be halfway through with my senior year. I’m so excited! I will then jump on a jet plane for Dallas, TX to see my family. I will be back at Embry-Riddle the 5th of January to finish up my last 4 classes. Wow, what an experience. I look forward to sharing my memories and experiences with you all next semester. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

November 30, 2008

Amazing is the word that I would use to describe the past two weeks. I am amazed that I finished and presented all my group projects with no major hiccups. In fact, the presentations went really well; one teacher told me I did a good job and looked completely comfortable talking in front of everyone. I was glad she said that because I used to get quite nervous getting up and speaking in front of a class, but I have figured out that the more prepared I am the less nervous I am. Time management is essential in college and it’s something that I’m constantly trying to work on. For example, sometimes I should go back to my room and study; however, I end up sitting in the UC talking to people or back in the dorms visiting with my neighbors. Due to some of my choices over the last week I ended up not studying as much as I wanted to for my math test and now I have to take the final. Oh well, you live and learn!

I left Daytona on Wednesday with some friends to go home with them for Thanksgiving. We headed up to Georgia and spent actual Thanksgiving there and then we went to North Carolina for another Thanksgiving on Saturday. I had a good time and ate a lot of wonderful food! We spent quite a bit of time driving but that was good because it allowed me to get some homework done and catch up on some much needed sleep. I talked to my mom and she told me that it snowed back home, so when I go home in nine days there will hopefully be snow on the ground!

In my last entry, I mentioned how I was going to the Silver Wings and Arnold Air Society Regional Conclave since our school was hosting it and I am the Regional Vice-President. The conclave is a gathering of all the Silver Wings chapters and Arnold Air squadrons in a region. We had people attend from Florida State University, University of South Florida, and a few other schools. The event kicked off on Friday and we all headed to Daytona Lagoon for three hours of laser tag and go-karts. I hadn’t been to Daytona Lagoon before and I had so much fun racing go-karts! Saturday, we had meetings all day on how everything is going at each school and we shared community service ideas. That night, I got to get all dressed up and attend the formal dinner. The dinner was good and we got to listen to a retired Major General talk about some of his experiences. On Sunday, everybody headed home and back to school. If you are thinking about coming to ERAU and you want to get involved on campus, you should consider Silver Wings because we do community service, help you network, and we have a lot of fun!

I decorated my little Christmas tree and have been listening to Christmas music for the past week. I’m so excited to have the holidays here again! My next entry will come after I have finished finals and am home, so I’ll probably post some pictures of snow!

If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to send them my way!

Until next time,
Kaleigh