Saturday, February 25, 2017

Day 5: From Mendoza to Salta

Day 5: Chacras de Coria to Salta

Weather: Hot!

Quotes of the Day:
·       The rich people are those who create wealth, and you have to treat them well so they continue to give wealth.
·       Prices rise by elevator, wages by ladder.
Ceramic wine glass markers done by Pedro's wife, for sale in "shop" at Finca Adalgisa

THB breakfast before the waffle with bacon arrives

It’s a lazy, hot day in Chacras de Coria. We have to be out of the room by 11:30, and there’s no interest in walking to town in the heat (especially after driving through it last night). So, we hang around the pool a bit, walk to the corner to get bread, soft drinks and a salad with some extra baby tomatoes, then eat lunch in the “dining” room next to the front desk.
Panaderia where we get very good lunch loaf

Sculpture in downtown Mendoza

The leftovers from 1844 are terrific with the bread from bakery, and the salad is a nice complement as not many greens are served here. We also get a chance to talk to one of the other guests, a financial advisor, who runs a fund of hedge funds for 25 Swiss clients. One of his sons is graduating from a midwifery program and has been in Mendoza studying for the last 7 years (not all in midwifery). Their other son attends college in an offshoot of University of British Columbia in the middle of Canada. They’ve got three continents covered!
Handicap parking sign: THB is the one on the left

Snack in airport: an odd smoothie. The change included a 2 peso bill (12 cents US) that appeared to have been in circulation for 10 hard years

Back to the pool for more lazing around. Our transfer, Eduardo, picks us up at 2:15 for our 4:55 flight to Salta. It turns out that Eduardo produces about 25K bottles of his own wine, Ver Sacrum, and is going to be exporting soon to the US. We are his first addition to his e-mail distro list! He makes a Grenache-Mouvedre blend, similar to the Rhone style reds of Paso Robles (we are in the wine club of Adelaida, a Paso winery).
Video of safety routine

This same guy listened to music on his phone without earbuds: YMCA had his side of the plane doing those arm movements

House of Jasmines from the back

There’s weather everywhere. We are on the twice-a-week nonstop from Mendoza to Salta, with a continuation to Iguazu Falls. They’ve closed the Iguazu airport, so our flight is half empty. The flight is running about an hour late, so we’re here in plenty of time. That’s good because the Aerolineas Argentinas supervisor, a 50ish male, is getting hugs from all the 20ish female airline check-in reps, shutting down 4 of the 5 stations. Maybe this is a normal hourly check-in since it is 3pm.

More strangeness on the flight: DB and THB have aisle seats in two and two configuration, and on either side of us are guys taking videos on their phones of the takeoff. Even more strange, the young woman on the window seat in the row in front of THB takes a video of the safety presentation. So if the plane crashes, she can help everyone else figure out how to evacuate while the three of them will have the live footage of the plane going down in flames…very reassuring, no?
Jasmine tree?

Fernanda on the move

Andres, our guide and driver, greets us at the airport. He’s going be with us through our next stay as well, including the long drive between Salta and Cachi.
Half of the empty dining room

Ten minutes from the airport is our hotel for the next few days, House of Jasmines, a Relais et Chateaux formerly owned by Robert Duvall. Our suite, all by itself about 100 yards from the hacienda, is terrific. THB was thinking about taking pics to post when the receptionist, Fernanda, informs us that due to severe weather earlier in the day the suite doesn’t have water.

WHOA…she’s showing us to our room with no water? The word is: they’re expecting the water guys to show up and fix the problem…at 7. It’s 7:45 and time for dinner now. Good news: this is THB’s alcohol-free day, so he’s going light on the liquids and maybe won’t have that urge to pee in the middle of the night.

Stay tuned!

We saunter back to the hacienda for dinner. About a half later Fernanda comes to our table (she had no trouble finding us, we’re the only ones dining in the 2K square foot room) and says our room, #5, now has water.

Great! Thanks for staying tuned.

Arnoldo Palermo

Dinner for THB is a cold quinoa, corn and cheese terrine, two different types of tamals, a jug of ice tea (a first on the trip, and it is really an Arnoldo Palermo) and apple “pie” (a thick crusted tart with a few thin strips of apple) and a scoop of ice cream; DB has 3 empanadas (beef, jerky, and cheese) and a hot veggie consuela (clay pot of onions, eggplant, peppers, quinoa and onions), and a bottle of Torrontes (with leftovers for tomorrow night). THB signed the bill, does not remember what the total came to since it was itemized and possibly no total).

Back to the room to unpack after staring at the stars in the night sky. Put our valuables in the safe, put in a code, and then find out the safe won’t open with our code. Fernanda! We need you…10-15 minutes of Fernanda making the safe work for her and not for us, THB sez we’ll use your master code.
THB's starter

THB's main course: tamals done two ways, dry and gummy

For the second time in both Argentinian hotels, THB has been Huck Finned into helping debug a hotel’s problems. THB refused to have a second go at the wifi at Finca Adalgisa after 30 minutes the first go; tonight he refuses to go any further on the debugging of the safe and decides to trust that Fernanda’s 2nd master code will work just fine in protecting our passports and extra cash.

Which brings us to the end of this post with a memory from our month in Argentina a number of years ago (which was a great trip with S&A; we rented an apartment in BA for two weeks and did two great weeks in Patagonia, some it in Chile): while Argentina looks first world, it is actually a second world country. That appears to not have changed. A great country to visit, you can’t be fooled by the outside in seeing what it really feels like to live here.
The only slogan in House of Jasmines, seems very appropriate with the book review

Book Review: Mischling, Affinity Konar (novel): a story told in alternating chapters by 12ish year old twins who survive Auschwitz and Josef Mengele’s maltreatment. Complete with a “happy” ending, it is a humanizing view of true evil.  Recommended

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