Friday, May 25, 2007


While out to lunch today with my Sole Sisters I started reminiscing about the trip to South America Miles and I took last fall. They were asking me about my likes and dislikes, and I remember such an awfully hilarious day Miles and I had. This is an e-mail I sent home the day after. It's Long, but well, I think it's funny.

Subject: OWIEEE!

Hey ya´ll,

I am sure you could have guessed by the subject line that I am in pain. Yes pain. Not pain from being homesick, or pain from and illness, or even an accident. No, I am in pain because of the never ending, slow moving, grief inflicted day that I endured yesterday. Miles and I thought it would be a great idea to sign up for a tour of the vineyards here in Mendoza. (This was a good idea) We found a tour where you rent a bike and get to ride around visiting the different wineries, as you please. It was called ¨Bikesandwines¨. And we signed up for this one. (This was a bad idea) We thought that it would be fun to get out and do something athletic and see some cool stuff. They had the tour with lunch included, or you could just find a place and get your own lunch. They described the lunch as being sort of, light like cheese and grapes. So we decided to opt out of the lunch (another bad idea). We woke up a teeny bit late so we weren´t able to eat the free breakfast at our hotel before we had to be around the block to where the bus came for us. (another bad move). We ran over to a little kiosk thing and bought two little yogurts and a thing of orange juice. Once walking back to the spot where the bus was coming we started to open our yogurts. After a few tastes I realized that the yogurt we had purchased was some type of yogurt that helps you stay ¨regular¨. (horrible move) This was not going to be a good thing for us to eat some type of laxative right before we went on a bike ride. So we ditched the yogurt. (probably a good thing) So we boarded the bus and headed down the freeway about 10 minutes to a little town. When we got out of the bus, it wasn´t quite like I had imagined it. It was very ¨industrial¨ looking. But I figured that we would probably ride to the quaint part of town where all of the vineyards were. The boy there got us all ready and informed us that if we wanted to eat at the place that everyone else was, that it was okay. We just had to pay there. But right before we were about to leave he said, ¨Make sure you are back by 6:15 p.m., that is when your bus leaves!¨ Hmm...? Did he just say 6? Miles and I were both a bit shocked that we would be riding these things for 8 hours, but figured that since there were about 7 stops all with tours to take, that the tours would take most of the time. Ha.
The road that we were supposed to stay on for the course of the bike ride was a road that reminded me of thirteenth east. But picture it with less cars, and more semi´s. Oh yeah, the road wasn´t big enough to let two cars going opposite directions pass each other, so the bike riders were supposed to ride on the dirt road next to it. covered in baseball size rocks. I know I've told you about all of the crazy drivers, well, they also honk their horns for EVERYTHING!! To say hi to friends, to tell you to move over, let you know they think you are hot, or sometimes on a whim they will just honk. ya know, to be polite. Well, I don´t know if some of you know this, but I am EXTREMELY jumpy! I flinch at any and everything. So, needless to say, this was not fun for me to be on a bike, narrowly being missed by semi´s honking their horns at me while dust and dirt was flying everywhere. We had only been riding probably one minute when I had a really bad feeling about the whole thing.
The tour included a chocolate factory and an olive oil factory among all of the wineries. The olive oil one was all the way at the bottom, so we figured we would go their first, and make our way back up. We stopped at a supermarket about a 1/3 of the way down the road and bought two banana´s and a crazy dry loaf of pre-packaged bread with chocolate chips in it. Yummy! We both remarked that our legs were feeling a bit...ummm, I dunno, sore. But we got back on our bikes and started making our way down the road.
It took forever. I don´t know what the heck the ¨Bikesandwines¨ people are thinking, but I was continually flabbergasted by how the road just conveniently got longer and longer. We finally made it to the olive oil company. I was excited because I have always loved those, ¨how peanut butter is made¨ movies from Mr. Rogers and stuff. Once we were there, they informed us that we were going to have to pay 5 pesos each for the tour, and of course, it was only in Spanish. (¨Bikesandwines¨ told us that all of the cost was figured into the price, and that there would be English tour guides. hmmm) We paid it and headed out on our tour. 30 seconds later we were finished, and back at the beginning. Okay, maybe not 30 seconds. It was probably more like 5 minutes. They showed us the old machines and a new machine, and that was it. We did get some really yummy bread with sun dried tomatoes and oil though.
This was basically the routine at all of the places. Pay a small fee and then see ya later. It was really refreshing to stop though. My bottom (your welcome mom) was crying with pain. The pain slowly moved into my thighs and then to my knees and don´t forget my swollen hands. We decided that the place where everyone else was going to eat was probably our best bet at a decent lunch so we went over there. we had to buzz the gate and a nice lady said,¨You have voucher?¨ We told her ¨no, but that they had told us that we would be able just to buy lunch.¨ I bet you can guess what happened. Yup...they were too full. We had just biked out of our way to go to a place where we weren´t able to eat. We didn´t let it get us down though. We just pulled out our loaf of bread and started gnawing on it. Good thing we kept it.
By this time both of our rears were aching like crazy. So we decided to walk our bikes. We also thought that would kill some time considering it was only 2-ish by then. Little things like this kept happening, but for both of our sakes I´ll just say it was one heck of a long day. By 5:30 p.m. my legs were no longer able to move, and neither of us were comfortable sitting or standing. We got home, showered, ate, and went to bed. We both feel pretty good today, well except for our new stomach bug. Oh the joys of travel!
Now, with all of that said. I am having such a wonderful experience. During our time yesterday (walking the bikes) we talked about how crazy it is that people actually live in ¨destitution¨, or that is what we would call it. There is no underground sewer, no sidewalks, GRASS, no garbage pick-up, hair dryers, nail polish, deodorant, warm showers, cars, carpet, lazy boys, washers, dryers, dish-washers, or any of the things we take advantage of. And these people LIVE here their whole lives. This is LIFE for them. day after day and guess what, they are happy. So, for this Thanksgiving, I am not being thankful for those things, but I am thankful for the wonderful husband I have. Because no matter how many times I ask him to spell words for me, he still answers nicely. I can talk for hours and he still acts interested. I can complain about our hotel, city, clothes, shampoo, food, feet, or just about anything, and he acts sympathetic. He reminds me to be nice, when he thinks I am being to harsh, in just the right way. He makes me feel loved, accepted and wanted every day, and for that I am thankful. For the fact that I can always count on my family and friends. That I have three homes full of people that will love me no matter what. I have nieces and nephews that are clean and healthy and beautiful. So this year, I am so thankful for all of you.

{Picture Miles and I there in the picture but without the beautiful scenery, tandem bike, or the smiles}


I'm Andrea said...

I'm so jealous that you got to go on this trip. WE need to go on a trip!

liz said...

okay, so i totally remember you emailing this back when you were there and i was rolling! it makes me think of the crazy bus rides i ventured to take in the philippines. felt like they didn't ever use the brakes, just veer off to the side and around anything in the way. yikes!