Sym dozes a bit on the long flight to Buenos Aires. Uncle Victor does not.
Victor doesn't sleep that much, and when he does it's in a weird chair that vibrates to improve circulation.
The chair is back at the house with Sym's mum. Evidently Victor moved in to help with the mortgage.
In Buenos Aires, going through customs, Victor's teabags cause a bit of a commotion when the drug dogs sniffed them out. The customs officers just wave them through, though, thinking an Englishman's tea seems innocent enough.
Here's Jon, the trip leader. He's rounding up the other people who will be going to Antarctica.
The tour group drives around Buenos Aires, taking in some sights. Victor is not into it at all.
Sym has the terrible realization that she is going to have to talk to other humans during this trip. Dun dun dun…
Sym studies her fellow passengers. They mostly seem old and rich.
Many of these passengers are vaguely cartoonish: a British birdwatcher, a retired colonel and his young wife, and two blond Vikings.
The latter are a father-and-son pair, Manfred and Sigurd Birch. Sigurd, the teenage son, is of special interest to Sym, as you may have noticed from this chapter's title.
Oh, here's Madame Mimi Dormiere-St.-Pierre. She's fake French and wearing a pink snowsuit… in Buenos Aires.
Sym is looking forward to retiring to her room. When she asks Victor if she can call her mum, he says no.
Back in the room, there's an invitation to the evening's entertainment, an event called the Icebreaker. Sym is painfully shy and is not looking forward to breaking the ice.
Titus gives Sym a quick pep talk to the tune of you're going to have to meet these people at some point anyway.
Sym arrives at the Icebreaker. She wears hearing aids, and the racket of the party is overwhelming.
The whole gang is here, including Mimi, who's changed out of her pink snowsuit. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves—well, except Sym.
Sym watches the elder Viking work the room. He's very good with people, she notes. Meanwhile, the younger Viking, Sigurd, brings her an orange juice and makes polite conversation.
Sym is very bad at polite conversation, though, and she soon drives Sigurd away.
Feeling ill, Sym goes out to the stairs for a quick conversation with Titus. He cheers her up.