Bikes and Wine

June 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Argentina is world famous for wine, and if you visit the country’s biggest wine region in Mendoza a wine-tasting tour is a must-do. You have three options: 1) pay $150 for a fully guided tour via private car spanning several top wineries; 2) for $50 forego the guide and instead winery-hop in a hired taxi for the day; 3) rent a bicycle from Mr. Hugo for $10 and pedal between wineries. We of course recommend the bicycle option.

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Adventure Sports

June 14, 2011 § 3 Comments

We took advantage of the low prices in South America to try a bunch of adventure sports. Most cost under a third of their US-equivalent prices (yet still offer over half the safety!). Here’s what we’ve done so far:


San Gil, Colombia

My most commonly recurring dream is having the ability to fly — or to sort of hover using a mysterious seated position — over the trees and houses of my neighborhood. When I wake up I’m deeply disappointed that my magic power is gone. Paragliding is the answer.

You sit in a comfortable harness along with the instructor, the wind fills the sail behind you, and then you canter off the side of a hill and lift-off. It’s so gentle that I didn’t even realize we were off the ground at first. Once aloft it’s quite peaceful and not scary at all.

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At the Ranch with Cowboy Enrique

April 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

My interest in the culture of the gauchos (cowboys) started when we visited the festival in San Antonio de Areco, and the fascination grew through 2 months of consuming our way through Argentina’s steak-loving, wine-drinking culture. The barbecue itself, as an event, was continually referred to as a rite of passage not to be missed. When we finally got our visit to an estancia (ranch), I had high hopes for partaking in the scenery, horseriding, and of course, the eating.

Here’s a run down of our 24 hours as tourists on a ranch with Cowboy Enrique of Sayta Cabalgatas (cabalgatas = horseriding).

Photo of Enrique from Sayta Cabalgatas

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The People You Meet.

February 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

1) Where are you from? 2) What is your trip like?

These are almost universally the first two pieces of information traded when meeting other travelers. Since it’s just Joe and me most days, we enjoy the chance to meet people with whom we can share a drink or a conversation. Some random encounters have been with other Stanford people, identified by the gear. Once we chatted with a girl all day, only to find out at dinner she worked for the same company as me. We frequently meet others on similarly long trips, especially in places like Bolivia where people wouldn’t go for a short holiday visit. We’ve noticed some interesting trends in the kinds of people, though the categories highlighted below are by no means exhaustive. « Read the rest of this entry »

The Road Less Traveled

January 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

After getting ourselves off trail, rather than tracking back two miles we forged our way through some tall, thick brush, trying not to think about the park ranger's warnings of poisonous snakes.

The hotel hadn’t had a single visitor in two weeks, and almost all the entries in its guest check-in book were of local Argentines.  The last non-Argentine was from six months ago, and the last American… well there had never been any Americans before us, at least not in the three years worth of records in the registration book. « Read the rest of this entry »

A deluge of waterfall pictures

January 25, 2011 § 4 Comments

I can’t say we weren’t warned – passing travelers told us on our way to Iguazu Falls that we would take hundreds of pictures, and that we did. This was a site that was left out of our first trip to Brazil 3 years ago, and we were excited to finally visit this amazing site on the border of Argentina and Brazil. And while Iguazu does not house the tallest or the most voluminous waterfall in the world, the entire “waterfall system” is composed of 275 waterfalls amidst the lush, steamy jungle.

Joe marking off picture #1 of hundreds. Wonder if he'll be smiling like that at the end...

My Buenos Aires day job

January 4, 2011 § 1 Comment

While we were in Buenos Aires for almost one month, I occupied myself while Joe took Spanish classes. It took at least a week to pay back some of the sleep debt that had accumulated over the last few years of working, but after that I settled into a comfortable, low key routine – with some Argentine flavor, of course. « Read the rest of this entry »

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