Today consisted of a very steep, very rocky and very steep - wait, did I already say that? - winding, thatīs the other thing it was, rocky, steep and winding - climb up into the hills. Still, it made for a pleasant, if steep, rocky and winding ride, and it was all gravity in the bank. I was already looking forward to gloriously realising it at a later date.
When I got to the town at the top (site of a goldmine from former centuries), I decided to attempt to seek out some sort of accommodation falling between hotel (too hedonistic) and camping (too stoic), so asked in a nice little craft shop
. The wonderful lady within, with her tricksy Argentine accent pronouncing "y" like "sh" (enough to throw even the most nasally-sensitive dog off the scent, believe me), directed me to a house "on the corner", which was "much more economical" than the nearby hotel. "Perfecto!" I ordained, as I so often do, and set off merrily up the road. There was no clue as to which house might be the one and a fine abundance of corners, so I picked a house at random and gave it a knock. It wasnīt the one, and the lady directed me back down the road, to "the tall house". Now, forgive me, this was a quaint little village of stone houses that were built long before the days of multiple stories - the only non-bungalow I could see turned out to the library, and that certainly wasnīt right. I peered in a few other windows and then decided to try another door - another old lady within - she told me it was on the corner - yes, I know this - further down. Back down the road I go. Then some guys whoīve latched onto my plight help me out. "Itīs the last door". But the last door isnīt on a corner! I go to the last door nonetheless but itīs a gate to a garden. Just as I am about to break down in floods of tears and cry out for mercy, identifying with every estranged protagonist of every Kafka novel, someone shouts "there she is! there is the lady!" and lo and behold, the owner of this promised accommodation is strolling the other side of a stone wall. I ask her if she has a room for the night. Rather than give me a straight answer she launches into some speech about beds and bathrooms and lights and goodness know what, but I eventually ascertain that she is saying yes
. Phew. Meet me at the door on the corner, she says. WHICH BLOODY CORNER?
So I turn to head back up to where there are a few corners, in the hope that this lady will pop her head around one of them, but just as I do, some slightly mad looking old man stops me and directs me back down the road in the opposite direction. Well I canīt brazenly ignore his advice, so down the road I go, and spot a red gate that looks promisingly as though it might lead through the wall into the accommodation ladyīs domain. A sure-fire guarantee of success!
Locked. Various expletives enter my head but I respectfully contain them. What to do? I try asking yet another group of men and they direct me to yet another door, now directly opposite the shop where this whole fiasco started. WHY DONīT I JUST KNOCK ON EVERY BLOODY DOOR IN THE TOWN?! This time a man answers, does he have accommodation, no, but thereīs a lady on the corner, you could try her. At this juncture I face a difficult choice: do I laugh or do I cry? Why are people behaving as though thereīs only one corner in this town and how could I possibly miss it?
Back up the road. No clues. Youīd think if you were offering accommodation, you might maybe think it would be a good idea to put up, perhaps, just a little
sign? Oh no, no no, not in Carolina
. Then, at last, the whole miserable saga comes to an end - accommodation lady from behind the wall pops her talkative head up from behind the garden gate of earlier (always popping her head up, like a jack in the box, suprising and delighting me every time), directs me to another door, (yes, OK, itīs on the corner), and before I know it, Iīm in. What could be easier!
Most useful Spanish word learned: 'golpear', to knock
Most despised Spanish word learned: 'esquina', corner.
Miles munched: 25
Gravity banked: 1800m
I want to start this entry with an apology - my map pins, showing each stop, are all over the place. My lovely map of Argentina looks more like I spilt the box of pins over it. Iīd never make a General. Donīt ever put me in charge of an army.