Monday, March 23

Day 207-Santiago

The primary intent of my little sojourn to Mendoza this week was to take a look at Aconcagua the highest mountain outside of Asia. It reaches an altitude of 22800 ft and is tucked rather remotely into the Andes mountains, along the border of Chile and Argentina. Naively I thought I might be able to arrange a day hike somewhere along the base of it, but as has been the case for so many of my would-be outdoor adventures, the investment of time and money was prohibitive. Already the summer season is closed and services are less frequent, options fewer. I might have spent an entire day touring by cramped minivan the surrounding high mountain sites, but I had just seen them on my way in, and would see them again upon my return to Chile. I was satisfied then, to sneak a quick photo of the summit from the bathroom window of the swaying, speeding bus.

I must hope that it is a result of the proximity of my return home rather than the distance I have travelled from it, but this week has been marked by an extreme susceptablity to frustration. Nearly ever day I am flying off the handle for reasons relatively minor, malfunctioning internet, crying kids on the bus, excessive noise from the air conditioner in an otherwise sweltering hotel room. It is not a pleasant sight, to see myself grumbling and scowling as I march down the street to some imagined place of relief. Indeed I do recover rather quickly, and within minutes can be sitting parkside, enjoying a beer (a key element) and the parade of daily life. It is this mercurial nature, I see, that leads me understand why I prefer to travel solo.

Next week I hope to make two posting, one in which I would like to rather self righteously expound upon my opinion of the world at large. It should be at once both amusing and annoying. In the second, I wish to present a smattering of statistics that I have amassed over the last seven months, a compilation of the monthly reports such as this one:

Countries: 2 Days spent: 28
Distance traveled: 5800mi $/day: 75
Unesco sites: 5 Other sites: 13
Most Southern point: Rio Gallegos, 51.5 deg south

As a post script, I must add that I am finding Santiago to be, in my opinion, another of the world´s great cities. Clean, modern, comfortable climate, and friendly folks. Now if only I could find an Indian restaurant to gain some relief from the endless stream of hamburgers, hotdogs and ice cream!

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