Shakin' it down with the mozzies

Trip Start Apr 17, 2006
Trip End Jun 14, 2006

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Before leaving Mendoza I decided it was high time to invest in some suncream. I stopped in a farmacia, and rather than the choice of twenty thousand different types and factors that we are used to, I was presented with just one, "with extract of carrot". This stuff comes out orange, and upon first usage I thought perhaps in the cross-linguistic exchange with the pharmacy owner, "suncream" had been confused with "fake tan".

Everyone was telling me I must visit a bodega or wine estate whilst in Mendoza, so I spent most of today riding around looking for one. The one I eventually found was host to a whole history of wine-making implements, but due to the tour being in Spanish it was left largely to my imagination what each of them was for. Naturally, I nodded sympathetically as if finding it all terribly interesting, took advantage of the free tasting at the end and then got out of there before somebody uncovered me for the imposter I was.

It was pretty late by this time so really I should've looked for somewhere to bed down for the night, but clearly Mendoza had started to feel tame because I decided instead to take advantage of the remains of the day to make a break. Finding my way to the main road north was a combination of asking people and guesswork - for example, following lorries tended to be a good bet because lorries tend to follow major routes. At one point I passed a stationary police car. Sure that the bobby within would know the way, I stopped to ask. He didn't. He even got on the police radio but they didn't, either.

I passed a couple of places advertising camping so pulled in to ask if I could set up there for the night. Me: "is this a campsite?" Campsite owner: "yes." Me: "Can I camp here?" Campsite owner: "no." Me: "why not?" Campsite owner: cue load of Spanish that I couldn't follow. This happened twice, the second occasion being all the worse because I was being taunted by a small child throughout the whole exchange, but I couldn't see the blasted impudent brat anywhere. It was only as I was leaving that I saw it was a bloomin' parrot, smugly sitting in a cage hanging from a tree.

I should add at this juncture that such unwelcoming behaviour is truly unusual, and probably perfectly reasonable if only my Spanish was fluent enough to understand the explanation. As I cycle along, a hand raised in amicable greeting (mine) is always reciprocated.

Eventually there was only one thing for it - I would have to camp by the side of the road. Unfortunately "the side of the road" consisted only of fenced-off vineyards. I eventually got to a bit of scrubland and put up my tent. Then the mosquitoes descended (cf. mosquito suit photo).
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