Friday Five (Travel Edition) – August 19

Back when I still lived in the United States, I did a kind of weekly update every Friday.

That was a weird sentence to type. I mean, technically I am still a U.S. resident. But I currently have no fixed address, and all my belongings are either here with me in Argentina or packed into my car. I’m as much of a nomad as I’m currently capable of being.

Also, I haven’t shaved or cut my hair since I left. Nor do I plan to until my return. Unless the hair and beard get too irritating. Which is possible, since they are annoying me now and I’m barely halfway home.

This won’t go up until Saturday morning, but I’m writing it on a Friday afternoon, so I think that still counts.

Where I am currently: Mendoza. This is rapidly becoming one of my favorite places. The layout of the city is fascinating to me. Whether by design or coincidence, it seems like the downtown is neatly divided into sections–a few blocks of restaurants, a few blocks of shops, all the bars in one place, even a street dedicated to tourist offices.

I only recently became a wine drinker, so I can’t call myself an authority on this point, but I believe this is truly a wine enthusiast’s paradise. In addition to day trips to the numerous wineries in the area, there is hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, thermal pools. Within a few hours’ drive are scenic national parks and even ski resorts. I think Mendoza would make a fantastic vacation spot.

Weather phenomena I’m learning about: Apparently the temperatures are unseasonably warm, thanks in part to the zonda.

DSCF1468

I think I caught a picture of it coming over the mountains. It’s a wind from Chile that brings warm, dry air down to Mendoza. In addition to raising the temperature to 80 degrees, it also lowers the air quality–apparently schools close because of this. Everyone in Santiago is nodding in acknowledgment of crappy Chilean air.

What I’m reading: The Count of Monte Cristo. Man is wrongly imprisoned, swears revenge on those responsible, escapes, discovers an immense fortune, things happen. A work of fiction that contains some strangely useful lessons, especially for long-term solo travel. It’s also a very long book, which is perfect for me because I haven’t needed to find another one.

Where I’m going: This weekend I head for a winery near Barreal, located in a valley between the precordillera and the Andes, to visit a friend I met in Buenos Aires and take in the scenery. This will be my first driving experience in South America; here’s hoping it is not too exciting.

What I’m saying: C’est la vie. A favorite expression of mine–“Such is life.” A reminder to take each situation as it is and make the best of it. Focus on what I can control, and let the rest happen.

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