Posted by: HelenRortvedt | 26 October 2008

¡Bueno, che!

I have been lost and found in Argentina these past few weeks.  (With the exception of our two day sojourn to Uruguay.)  Our Argentine time has been filled (to the brim) with sun and rain, with wine and cheese, with friends new and old, with sea breeze and the world’s highest peak outside of the Himalayas.

Our three weeks here have been every bit as diverse as the country itself.  My bank statement tells me it is time to go home to Bolivia, but my heart (and stomach) will forever remember my first foray into the land of fire and wine.

I am back in Salta (from where I previously posted) and find it and appropriate occasion to add another chapter to this South American tale.  We are a mere 7 hour bus journey to the Bolivian border.  Already I can smell the salteñas and the ubiquitous urine-in-public-places.  My nose is drawing me home.  Already I can see the alpacas and the brightly colored aguayos that Bolivian women wrap around their shoulders to carry their babies, their llamas, their produce…  My eyes are drawing me home.  Already I can hear the sound of the zampoñas and the charango playing a traditional Andean melody and the lady on the street corner in Sucre announcing the sale of the “Corrrrrrrrrrrrreo”, the local daily newspaper.  My ears are drawing me home.

Side note for all those who are interested in reading more about ex-Peace Corps Bolivia volunteers returning to Bolivia, check out this article recently published in the Washington Post.

Also, the Democracy Center, an NGO based in Cochabamba has been following and reporting on events in Bolivia recently. Their most recent blog post gives me a lot of hope that positive dialog is actually happening and that Bolivia will once again retreat from the precarious edge it’s been looking over.

But for now, I will leave you all with a photographic journey of my Argentine and Uruguayan adventures.  Enjoy.  Peace be with you all.

Former Bolivia 47 PCVs Diana, Matt and me in front of the Casa Rosada (the White House of Argentina).  This house has been inhabited by at least two prominent Argentine women: Eva Peron, and the current Presidenta Kristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Tomb of Eva Duarte Peron. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The beach in La Colonia, Uruguay.  Tranquilo doesn’t adequately describe this town… It’s such a great respite after the chaos and wonder of Buenos Aires.

Taking it in. La Colonia, Uruguay.

I love this lady. My first friend in PC Bolivia. And dearest. Diana and I are happy to be traveling together. Here we are on a dock in La Colonia, Uruguay.

Mendoza. Wine country. All those Argentinian wines you buy back home–they come from right here.  And it is delicious. Cheap.  A part of daily life.

Vineyards outside of Mendoza. Snowcapped Andes in the background.  The snowmelt makes it way down into the fertile Mendoza Valley to irrigate the land…

Ryan, Diana, Amanda and me after our full day bicycle tour of local vineyards, bodegas, olive oil factories and an artesanal chocolate shop! Mmmm…

Uspallata. A few hours west, towards the Chilean border, from Mendoza, and up into the mountains. This was the backyard of our hostel.  Glorious.

Two hours further west. 14km from the 4,000m pass over the Andes into Chile. We helped a poor park ranger who had gotten his truck stuck in the mud caused by the spring snowmelt. (That’s right, it’s spring down here!)

Big D and me. What more can I say?

Aconcagua, still covered by clouds, looms in the center.  The ice cover on the Laguna Espejo (Mirror Lagoon) had just begin to melt and reveal her reflective glory.

Me, Ryan and Diana in Parque Provincial Aconcagua.  Its namesake mountain (Quechua for Stone Guardian) is the tallest mountain in the world, outside of the Himalayas. 6959m. 22,831ft. Not too shabby.

Me and Ryan. Happy to be here.

Abandoned bus on the walk back to the highway from the Park. Pretty rad in all its Into The Wildness.

Diand and me at the Puente del Inca.  This was a natural bridge that spaned over the river and is also home to a sulfuric hotspring.

Quite possibly the weirdest souveniers I have ever seen. Old tennis shoes and bike gears dipped in the sulfuric water beneath the bridge.  I mean, I thought bronzing things was werid, but sulfuring? Seriously!?



  1. 1) those sulfur shoes/etc. look like they are made out of dough and are making me hungry!
    2) why do you look as if you are almost flying in every pictures where you are jumping — you should’ve played vball!
    3) thanks for the link to the awesome post article.

    miss you tons girl!

  2. You know I’m jealous. And my life’s pretty good, so well done.

  3. I love the pictures Helen! I can’t wait to come down and join you in January!!! Thinking of you.


  4. OBAMA!!!!!!!!!! LOVE YOU!!!!!!!

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