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From Santiago to Mendoza

We said goodbye to Santiago yesterday, rising early and rushing through the metro at peak hour to catch a bus that came late anyway. I fell a little in love with Santiago. But who wouldn´t? With it´s grand boulevardes, friendly people and romantic colonial architecture? It´s european influences are obvious. And the Andes are the most amazing backdrop. From time to time I would forget they were there, but then catch a glimpse of them between buildings, so far away,yet so grand in scale there was no way to deny them. Even though it´s warm and the land is drier than the australian bush in summer, the altitude at the top is so great there is still ice on the top. Zoe and I took photos from the top of a hill looking down over Santiago, but unfortunately most of the effect is lost due to a layer of hazey smog that hovers over the city, caught between two mountains.

To get to our next destination Mendoza, Argentina we passed through the Andes. We were both looking forward to this, but I was also a little apprehensive; my last bus ride through mountains (n Laos)was a nightmare due to a bad case of foodpoisoning and a crazed bus driver. This bus ride proved to be better - the scenery was amazing. We wound gradually through at first but then there was just no where else to go and at one point the road just zig zagged up a huge mountain on a road that was more a gravel track, with a series of long semi-trailers banked up on the other side of the road. And there was the rather bumpy trip to the toilet which involved holding on to a metal rail, squeezing your glutes and looking out a small window down a very big cliff.

So we´re in Argentina now. Beautiful Mendoza, to be precise. Beautiful because the streets are lined with gorgeous leafy trees. And not just one street- every street. More later.....

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