Touching the top of Aconcagua - 22,841 feet
Trip Start Aug 25, 2008
50Trip End Dec 16, 2008
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Originally I considered climbing Aconcagua, but it takes 12 to 15 days to summit. I didn't want to spend that much time so I took a bus to a good observation point on the Chilean border where I could "touch the top".
The scenery was spectacular - we stopped at a cool ancient bridge, a thermal hot springs they call the Inca bridge
Along the way, I saw a Brazilian tour bus stopped beside a tiny patch of snow. It was hilarious to see grown adults who obviously had never seen snow before throwing snow balls, sliding down, and taking tons of photos on a little patch of white.
The Dutch Guy
In Mendoza, another American backpacker told me he met a Dutch Guy in the park with no shoes and in a panic. Apparently the Dutch Guy was walking from the bus station and two guys jumped him with knives. They took everything - money, passport, backpack, even his shoes!
The American backpacker gave the Dutch Guy $5 to help out and wished him good luck.
A few days later I was in Bariloche (21 hours south of Mendoza) talking to a Canadian backpacker named Christian. "You know, I've been traveling almost 2 years now and have never had anything stolen, or been riped off."
"Well - I don't count getting over-charged or short-changed - that happens. But I haven't been scammed, robbed, or had anything swiped." Christian proudly proclaimed.
"I can't say the same." I said. "I was pickpocket in New Orleans and mugged in Nairobi (AKA Nai-robbery). Neither time I hardly lost anything."
"What's the worst story you've ever heard?" Christian asked.
"Well" I started "just a couple days ago I was in Mendoza and heard about a Dutch Guy in the park who..."
"NO!!!!" Christian interrupted "when was that???"
Puzzled by his reaction, I said "two days ago - a Dutch Guy got everything stolen, even his shoes. Another American guy told me he gave him some money."
"I gave that bastard $20 two weeks ago. Same story - he's conning backpackers!"
"So you have been swindled" I smirked.
"I'm going back to Mendoza to kick his ass."
The next day I ran into Christian again... he was shaking his head "Fucking Dutch guy."
Where I stayed