Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mendoza, San Juan and La Rioja- Mid-April 2008

From Valparaiso I continued to Mendoza. But before getting to Mendoza, there was the road there. While traveling in South America, I usually took night buses, to save on both time and money on hostels. But when he heard me mention it, the owner of the hostel forbade me to take one this time- he said it would be a great waste. And boy, was he right. The road winds up and up, almost reaching 4000m. There was one point were you look back, and I seriously think you can see the road switching back upon itself about 20 times. There are amazing mountain views, in a variety of shapes and colours, complete with icecaps and rivers flowing next to the road. The border pass was set in one of the most panoramic spots imaginable, and for about 3 seconds you can even see the Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the western Hemisphere. When I got to Mendoza I found out people travel this road up to the border crossing as a day-trip, including a visit to a site called Puente Del Inca (which I didn't see).

Monday, July 18, 2011

FTTN: The desire (or need?) to write something meaningful, and the inevitable failure

What do I want with this notebook [or, for that matter, what do I want with this blog?] What’s its value? It is definitely not a travel diary, since I never write a word about what I’m doing. It isn’t a personal diary either- first of all, there are few things that I consider too personal to disclose, as long as it seems fitting and there’s some point in it; and besides that, what I write in the notebook isn’t too “personal”. It does fulfill some practical needs, like writing down tips and Emails and such, but that’s just a side effect, and far from its main goal. That side effect did have a good effect on the notebook, though: it added authenticity, whatever that means. I’ve always liked to have as many scratched out words as possible, as many pages where the words go through to the other side (but you still write on the other side…), as many humidity marks and torn off corners, as much text running in different directions on the same page… It might be stupid, but I love that. It adds character, it shows that this notebook has been traveling with you, and has not remained impervious to the outside world’s effects. The change in outside appearance somehow reflects richness or complexity in content, if that makes sense. Some dirt is necessary

Valparaiso- early April 2008

The day after the Villarica trek's soaked ending, I woke up thinking I was going to Mendoza, decided by midday to go to Santiago, resisted persuasions from my latest group to go to Valdivia, and ended up on the bus to Valparaiso. I had left Patagonia after about 2.5 months there. But before I reached my destination, there was an unpleasant surprise: I was careless enough to leave my camera in plain sight and fall asleep on the bus, and when I woke up it was gone. Fortunately, I had spent a good chunk of time uploading and backing up all my pictures just before boarding this bus, so nothing was lost. Except, of course, the camera itself. But I had found that camera anyway (that's a different story, though...).
Valparaiso (AKA Valpo) is probably the most “south american” city I had been to at that point: loud, busy, unorganized, blending many European/colonial, local, and just plain strange architecture styles, colourful, and most of all- full of life. It's strange that it's in Chile...