Thursday, January 29, 2009

...and back up again

A week in Mendoza has been well spent - about three days of letting my body recover, a few days of having the apartment to myself, and another three packing and getting ready for the next expedition.

I went running a bunch, including one three-hour day in the HOT sun - boy was I thirsty, but the run (OK, I walked up the hills) was good.  Into the desert
on tilted plains above Mendoza, mountains on one side, city down below.  Cooked real vegetarian food in the apartment kitchen, wandered around town a bit, and managed not to spend any money.  Places to go with that dinero...

Things I love about Mendoza (I won't presume to all of Argentina):
- People will randomly help you bring groceries in from a taxi, etc, just to be nice!
- I can go running without offending anyone, unlike many foreign cities (Delhi, Mexico City).
- Taxis and fresh summer fruit are cheap!

Things I hate about Mendoza:
- The checkers at the grocery store might be the slowest moving service people I have seen.  Ever.
- Absolutely everything involves meat.  Even Oreos - in the States, vegan.  Here, they have beef fat in them.  Seriously!
- And, yes, it was 103 degrees today (39 C).

But at least it is a dry heat (aside from the occasional thunderstorm), and the huge shade trees the city was built around make things bearable if you're near a ceiling fan.  The pace of life is slow, which makes burning a week here pretty manageable.  And the wine is good.

So really a good week all around, and it will be good to head back to the mountain.  A small group this time, one of whom I've climbed with before - should be good.   We're off to the mountain on Sunday, back in a couple weeks!  Track us - Team 10 -  at 

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Down from the mountain

An awfully cold, snowy mountain for being Aconcagua in the summertime!  We might have gotten snow on all but three or four days of a two-week trip.  Afternoon clouds frequently engulfed the summit and spread snow down to various lower reaches.  I don't think there was one truly hot day of the trip, including the usually-scorching three-day trek in.

Our group did great - mostly Americans, but an Aussie and a Brit thrown in for good measure, ages 25 - 64.  Our Aussie had to leave us at camp 3, but the other nine climbers made it to the summit in less-than-ideal visibility.  I stayed in the tent and slept off a fever and GI bug, but recovered by that evening and descended the next day without issue.  Hmm - I hope my various India bugs haven't decided to stick with me!  Dave and Lhawang were great to work with, some fun tent conversations and only a little kicking each other in our sleep.

Despite the lack of hot weather, there's no shortage of UV or just general harshness up there.  Part of the recovery process back in town is just letting my nose and face sort out their various burned and chapped layers.  Amazing how long it takes for this recovery - my muscles are ready to go, but it takes longer for this.

Now a week in Mendoza, where there is no shortage of heat.  Today it is 100 degrees (or 38 C), certainly too hot to run and sometimes too hot to move much!  Yikes!  It's supposed to finally cool off tomorrow - whew.  Hopefully some running, biking, reminding my body what it's like to move faster than 2 miles an hour...  

The next trip leaves tomorrow, so the other two guides and their living room full of food will be gone, and I'll have the apartment to myself for three days.   A little reading, a little cooking, a little relaxing - mmm.