BootsnAll Travel Network

Through the Andes and the Pampas

9 December 2005 (Friday) – Viña del Mar, Chile to Córdoba, Argentina

Jessica and I bid farewells and I climbed onto the bus to Mendoza, Argentina. There were just 5 passengers on the bus. I guess, many Chileans were not travelling because they have to vote this Sunday. We were given Argentine’s favourite snack – alfajor – to munch and the bus proceeded towards the Andes mountains.

The bus assistant soon prepared mate and shared it with the driver, as the bus careened down beautiful flat lands of farms and vineyards. Hmmm… here’s a riddle: What is skinny, has huge, dark, smothering eyes and drinks mate? Yes, an Argentine. Or at least, the bus assistant and the driver have huge, dark, smothering eyes… sigh, I’m in heaven.

I remembered that this route up through the Andes was spectacular and so, I refused to fall asleep and kept my eyes peeled at the scenery outside. After about 4 hours of travelling, the Andes mountains with the snowy peaks started to come up really near to us. We climbed up a windy road with numerous hair-pin turns. Each time at the top, the view looking down at the ribbony road was just drop-dead breath-taking! And gosh, the mountains the mountains the mountains!

We cleared customes easily. No one seemed interested in checking our luggage and by 4pm, had pulled up in Mendoza’s huge bus terminal.

Previously on Isla del Sol in Bolivia, I had met Marina, from Córdoba, Argentina. She had asked me that if I was going to Córdoba, I should contact her and stay over at her place. She said she has a house in the mountains and perhaps, we could go there as well. I thought it was a great idea. Although I originally did not plan on visiting Córdoba, I decided I would make the detour there. I had advised Marina my estimated time of arrival. Instead of providing her telephone number or her address, she wrote a very happy email, claiming that I should stop at Rio Cuarto, a couple of hours before reaching Córdoba and ‘¡Te espero!’ (I wait for you!).

OK… but HOW?? How can I contact her when I arrive? Am I supposed to assume she is at the bus terminal of Rio Cuarto waiting for me?? What is her number?? Where does she live? Yesterday, when I received her happy cryptic email, I wrote again, telling her to be clearer – am I to buy a ticket to Rio Cuarto and wait for her at the terminal? Please please please give me your number, I wrote.

Now, at Mendoza bus terminal, I had to make a decision – bus to Rio Cuarto or bus to Córdoba? I checked my email. No reply from Marina. Sigh… And buses to Rio Cuarto all arrive at 3am or 4am. I seriously doubt Marina would be at the bus terminal waiting for me at 3am or 4am. I have no information about Rio Cuarto and I really did not fancy arriving at 3am or 4am there. I thought long and hard and bought a ticket to Córdoba. I informed Marina about my bus details. If you read this email and can meet me at Córdoba at 7am-8am, great. If not, send me some information on HOW to contact you!, I repeated.

I wandered around Mendoza a bit. I really think it is a lovely city, with these tree-lined avenues, lovely squares and really nice ferias de artesania (handicraft fairs) at Plaza España and Plaza Independencia. Gosh, artesanias here in Argentina really take the cake! The crafts are the most original, lovely and stylish compared to any handicraft fairs in South America that I had ever been to. And gosh, being back in Argentina, sure felt familiar and g-r-e-a-t! OK, my first meal here was not nice, but it was the restaurant’s fault. But look at the bookshops, the newspapers and magazine stands, the flower shops along the avenues, the kiosks selling snacks and drinks. I just love everything here!

That evening, I again sunk myself in a luscious seat, watched a nice movie on the bus, and slept pretty comfortably as the bus flew… this really flew… across the pampas towards Córdoba.

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply