March 1, 2008

Argentina Photo of The Week #1-The Aconcagua

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The trip from Denver to Mendoza takes at least 18 exhausting hours and includes 2 stopovers, various passport stampings, and a trip through customs.  The longest flight is the 9 hours from Dallas, TX to Santiago, Chile, which if you’re smart you’ve booked as the overnight part of the flight; and if you’re lucky, isn’t full so you can sprawl out across the 3 middle seats and sleep. 

The last leg of the flight is the best: it’s the 35-minute long jump across the Andes Mountain range from Santiago, Chile to Mendoza, Argentina.  After flying for so long, on this flight you hardly get a chance to let the ice in your drink melt before you’re on the ground again. 

This part of the trip is where I start to feel as if I’m really in South America-we fly LAN on this leg, and the flight attendants, in their perfect hair and makeup, are all young and glamorous and Chilean. (Which makes me feel just that much more rumpled after traveling for that long, thankyouverymuch) Most of the passengers are South American, too, the class of people who can afford to fly-all very well dressed and well mannered, and the shift is visible.  It’s like warping back to the golden age of travel.

Naturally, flying over the Andes can be a little scary-the movie ‘Alive’, based on the true story of a Uruguayan soccer team’s horrific crash and survival, happened here.

Once, I turned to Guillermo while we were flying over the mountains, the peaks below us like a bed of nails, and I said "Honey, if we crash, can I eat you first?"  (Anxiety makes me think and say really stupid and inappropriate things. ) And Guillermo, in his cool Argentino way, stared at me with an utterly blank expression on his face, said nothing, and then returned to reading his paper.  I guess that’s my answer.

The reward for suffering the interminable trip is seeing the sun rise over the Aconcagua.  At 22,000 feet, the Aconcagua is the highest peak in both North and South America.  Crossing over the Andes in the  just as the rosy fingers of dawn start to creep over the mountains is one of the most stunning and spectacular sights I have ever seen.

This is the first of a weekly photo series I’ll be posting.  Argentina has a rich culinary tradition that I love, but I think it’s impossible to really get a feel for the cuisine without knowing the country.  Every week I will be showing and telling my way through this rich and varied place that is my heart’s home, with some good stories along the way.  I hope you’ll share your impressions and your own stories with me, too!

10 Responses to “Argentina Photo of The Week #1-The Aconcagua”

  1. This made me laugh! I learned something I did not know…no idea that Aconcagua is the highest peak outside of Asia. Great story and great info! Love your writings!

  2. Rebecca, I would love to know more about you, so you’ve been tagged!

  3. Beautiful. I look forward to seeing more photos of Argentina.
    Paz

  4. What an absolutely beautiful photo! It was also interesting hearing about your trip back and forth.

  5. Thats a breathtaking picture!

  6. I took the bus from Santiago to Mendoza. It’s an odd trip — you start close to sea level, but are freezing when you get to the top of the mountain. They make you get out of the bus and identify your luggage (which has been unloaded), then wait in the frigid air while customs officials inspect everything. Then it’s back down to gorgeous Mendoza.
    A friend took the bus from Chile to Argentina and they showed the movie “Alive” on the trip.

  7. Hello Rebecca
    you are my latest addition to my blogroll.
    Love your blog. Its witty, funny and the photos are simply great.
    I normally do not like blogger who blogs about the country that they just moved in as if they are “the expert”of the local food. But you really understands and captures the local culture and context. Bravo!
    I particularly love the gnocchi, since it is my favourite food. Will try to make it later this week!

  8. Noelia-Thanks! My dream someday is to go through the Andes up close!
    Michelle-Thanks! The questions for your tag are thought-provoking!
    Paz-I had to take a page from your book (so to speak) with your photos of New York and show my own of Argentina!
    Jen-Thank you! More to come!
    Jessy- Glad you enjoyed it!
    CF-hilarious-that’s the stuff of urban legend!!
    Sari-Thanks for adding me! Let me know how the gnocchi works out!
    xo-Rebecca

  9. Beautiful photo! It makes me want to visit so I can see it with my own eyes. Looking forward to your weekly photo series and getting to “know” Argentina.

  10. Sigh.
    :)

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