14 April


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South America » Argentina » Mendoza » Mendoza
April 12th 2011
Published: April 13th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

Switch back up the Chilean side of the AndesSwitch back up the Chilean side of the AndesSwitch back up the Chilean side of the Andes

I haven't seen anything like this except perhaps in Norway.
KF
April 10th:
We took the bus from Santiago Chile over the Andes to Mendoza Argentina. It was a spectacular 8 hour ride. The landscape was stark, dry, rocky, beautiful. The remains of a narrow gauge railway line snaked beside the road but hasn't been used for years. The road itself had hundreds of switchbacks and a few tunnels to get through the mountains. Views were magnificent. The bus was full of travellers and quite luxurious with "semicama" reclining seats. Border and custom crossing was so SIMPLE compared to the chaos of taking a car through central America -- it was almost a pleasure!

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April 11th:
10:45 PM on a Monday night and we are just finishing our steak-and-fries dinner at "Los Andes", a small busy outdoor restaurant in Mendoza, Argentina. Things are hoppin'. We are being serenaded by a large lady singing an operatic aria which sounds vaguely familiar. She is competing with the Andean flute on the corner, and the kids clattering by on skateboards, and a tone-deaf flamenco guitarist, and the hum of very RAPID Argentinian Spanish conversation around us. Now she's coming by with a basket for contributions but has been replaced by a
Bus at the borderBus at the borderBus at the border

We stopped for coffee at the Chile:Argentina frontier
slim dancer twirling flags. Not to mention the twitchy-looking skinny young guys on the corner who I think are looking for their next fix, and the sidewalk sweepers with bins, and the waiters who shoo away the beggars (but usually don't harass moms with babies asking for change or scraps from the table). And diners are still arriving to start their meals. What a scene.

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Wednesday April 13th
Today we had a half day tour to the West, where the foothills of the Andes spring up from the dry flat prairie. It was warm, sunny, windy, autumnal with yellow poplar trees -- quite lovely. However, Tarjei, who has had a cold/upper respiratory infection for the last four days, seemed to be getting worse. He's aching all over, coughing and wheezing, no energy. We've tried rest, fluids, and acetaminophen.

I was starting to get worried that he might need a REAL doctor -- so I talked to the hotel desk manager and they called the "hotel doctor". So, Doctora Sylvia arrived an hour later with her assistant (who actually looked like a body guard -- probably a necessity if you are a cute twenty-something year old female
Long valley down the Argentine sideLong valley down the Argentine sideLong valley down the Argentine side

The Andes were surprisingly dry - mountains with almost no vegetation.
visiting hotel rooms for the purposes of making men feel better).

Anyway, Doctora Sylvia was very kind, took a history, checked Tarjei's throat and neck nodes, listened to heart and lungs, said "la gripe", and wrote a prescription. She said it's viral, no antibiotics, and the Rx is actually an expectorant. I seem to recall that expectorants were used when I was a medical student, but became unfashionable a few years later when there was no empirical evidence to show any positive effect on the illness. However, Tarjei had high expectorations (touche Jim Sedgewick) and took some.

So now he's the same but coughing more. But doesn't feel any better.

The doctor's charge for the hotel visit? $5.00(!)

Tomorrow, we fly to Florianopolis, Brazil.

KF



Additional photos below
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Straight roads!Straight roads!
Straight roads!

I think Argentina would give competition to any long, long straight prairie road in Canada.
Street restaurantsStreet restaurants
Street restaurants

Most nights in Mendoza, we had meals in busy restaurants like this. Fun atmosphere.
Not much driving anymoreNot much driving anymore
Not much driving anymore

Since we're not behind the wheel, we seem to be at the restaurant table instead.
Mendoza street sceneMendoza street scene
Mendoza street scene

A typical night in Mendoza. Crowds are dining and/or drinking late into the night
High winds in the eastern foothillsHigh winds in the eastern foothills
High winds in the eastern foothills

Our last day in Mendoza and we went to the foothills of the Andes on a windy day
Canary in the coal mine?Canary in the coal mine?
Canary in the coal mine?

More winery tours, this time near Mendoza. Here they used roses as indicators of problems that might later affect grapes. Roses are more sensitive.
Autumn in ArgentinaAutumn in Argentina
Autumn in Argentina

Poplars in the first eastern ranges were definitely in fall colour
Katy looking east Katy looking east
Katy looking east

A one day tour of the first ranges west of Mendoza
March in support of land for rural peopleMarch in support of land for rural people
March in support of land for rural people

The chant was: "Que queremos?" - "Tierra!"


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