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Mendoza to the Bridge of the Incas December 21, 2006

Posted by Cheryl in Aconcagua, Argentina.
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Woke early to finish last minute packing and preparations for Aconcagua. I was so full of nervous energy that I felt sick to the stomach. Managed to glug a cup of coffee for breakfast and booked 2 taxis to get to the bus station. We had a stupendous amount of luggage to transport – 100kg between the 2 of us. The first taxi driver turned up and shook his head solemnly at the huge mound of luggage. It took some effort of persuasion to convince him in pigeon Spanish that we had another taxi coming and that he only had to take half of us and the gear. He looked uncertain, but eventually switched off the engine and opened the boot for us.

The 3.5 hour journey to Puente Del Inca at the foot of Aconcagua was fairly uneventful although we had to bribe the bloke loading the luggage with enough money to essentially buy another bus ticket in order for him to even entertain the idea of putting our gear on the bus. I don´t really see what his problem was – I had to carry all this gear up a mountain! They must encounter people catching this bus every day with loads of gear like us, but typically for Argentineans, they act as if nobody has ever had the audacity to expect this of them before. But we handed over the 15 pesos and all remained friends.

We “enjoyed” another night at the Hosteria Puente Del Inca which is like handing over vast amounts of money to stay in a dark and dingy bunker. The place is really depressing. As if that isn´t bad enough, their choice of cleaning detergent happens to be methylated spirits and the entire place stinks of it, which made us both feel more than just a little light-headed before we´d even reached any kind of lofty altitude. The shower the next morning was icy cold and I forewent it despite knowing that I would not have another opportunity for another 3 weeks.

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