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Volcanoes, Dinosaurs, Lakes and… Massoud

Valdivia, 18-Mar-2010

The first night back in Mendoza (after Aconcagua) we went for an all you can eat asado. Bad idea! Roy and I both ate way too much, we were sick the whole night. I even thew up… But next day we were up and kicking and since it was Friday night, we hit the clubbing scene and continued the celebration. We were actually still out on Saturday morning @ 3:30 during the big earthquake in Chile. We were in a taxi going from one boliche (i.e. club) to another when the taxi started shaking. The driver screamed: “Esta temblendo, esta temblendo”. I didn’t catch what he was saying, I actually thought a car hit us from behind and I turned around to see: no-one. We were close to “Wish”, our next club, so I paid the taxi 11 pesos (and took my time looking for spare change) then exited the taxi. The earth was still shaking. We went to the sidewalk and by that time many residents were rushing down to the streets, some of them half naked, other clinging to their kids or to a purse/bag. Next to me, a door opened and a whole family rushed out. Me, still not fully catching the danger, said to them like a kid: “It’s shaking!” to which they replied: “yes… now get out from under the balcony and rush to the middle of the street”…duh. It lasted that long, a good 50 seconds. But thankfully, everyone and everything in Mendoza were OK.

The chicos left that same Saturday morning back to Arequipa and I lingered on in Mendoza with Jessica for another week, relaxing, enjoying the wine, satisfying my craving for ice-cream and experiencing Vendimia (wine harvest) festivities all over the city. I also took care of some bike business: I bought the mandatory bike insurance, first for 1 month but a few days later changed it to 4 month (my return plane ticket to Montreal expired thus now I have no “return date” :)). I bought new tires, oil, filter, chain lube,… and shipped them to Bariloche, a city further south which I plan to reach in 10 days or so. These new tires are for off-road riding and I desperately need the extra traction when Routa 40 enters Patagonia where it becomes gravel & sand, with rain and ferocious winds… mommy :(.

Bad luck hit immediately: My GPS died on me. Bummer, I had Argentina’s map and it was just perfect navigating in the big cities. Kilometer 8,610, Mendoza, 3-Mar-10 @ 13:00: Daniel (manager of expedition to Aconcagua) told me about the parks around Malargüe and that was my first target. My road skirted San Raphael and after passing by Canyon del Atuel, I arrived to Malargüe Kilometer 9,078, Malargüe, 3-Mar-10 @ 18:30 where a thunder and hail storm met me as I entered the city. The next day, I took my bike out to visit a few nearby attractions (Caverna de las Brujas, Castillo,..) but the following day I booked a tour to Parque Payunia as recommended by Daniel. And what a sight! The park is home to the biggest concentration of volcanoes per Km2 in the world, 830 of them. In our park visit, we go off-road, riding on red, grey or black volcanic gravel, viewing 20 or so volcanoes. We were lucky; our guide also took us to a restricted area which she too wanted to visit as no one goes there. There, we witnessed a beautiful volcano formation, saw lava bombs, walked by volcano gas escape holes and climbed a lava river bed. Pictures say it all. This was such a unique experience; all I need now is to see a live volcano!

Next: Dinosaurs (after pics below).


Mommy !!

or click on “page 2” below to see dinosaurs.

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