Canary Islands field trip

I never had any desire to visit these islands. My mental image has never been a complimentary one. I have to admit, after visiting: I was right. It is a tourist hell. Every single aspect of the towns seems to be directed at tourists.

But there is a single redeeming factor. If you like volcanology, like I do, it’s freaking awesome. Gran Canaria has the most awesome ignimbrites that I have ever seen or heard of. There was a time, where if you had been on that Island, you would have died. Melted down and formed part of an ignimbrite. The eruptions, in my imagination, are utterly epic and they probably don’t come close to the reality. Look at how happy I was studying those bad boys.2015-03-04 14.55.16

When a volcano erupts, there are two main (very broadly) types of eruptions: lava & pyroclastic. Lava, like we see in stromboli, Italy. Pyroclastic, like we see in Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland. On Gran Canaria, both have occured, but the pyroclastic eruptions are way way cooler in this situation.

Do you know what a Caldera is? It’s pretty sweet. It’s an eruption that is so strong, it has so much force, that it completely vacates it’s magma chamber and then it collapses in on itself, forming a crater. You get a series of ring faults along the margins of the Caldera where the collapse mainly occurs. In Gran Canaria, the ignimbrite has been hydrothermally altered around the caldera fault, resulting in some really beautiful views.

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The red, is oxidised, whilst the green is reduced. You can see the ignimbrite on the next mountain side in the photo. This does not show you how big the Caldera was, if you’re starting to think: huh that’s big. This Caldera is 15 km in diameter. It is not close to the largest. In Indonesia, lake Toba, there is a caldera that is 100 km in diameter. That’s a super volcano.

You would not want to be there during a Caldera Collapse.

The ignimbrite on Gran Canaria, which occurred around the same time as this Caldera collapse is found all over the island. This thing went for km’s. Just imagine, this primordial hell. Hot, like nothing else, and turbulent forces that would rip everything apart in its path. Blobs & bombs of magma flying in the air, flung across the breadth of the island. Just utter incomprehensible, destructive insanity.

At the base of the ignimbrites, most of them are not oxidised. This tells us that there was no oxygen when they were deposited. These eruptions were so violent, so turbulent, that oxygen couldn’t get in.

If you don’t think that that is awesome, don’t tell me. I will merely send you videos of volcanic eruptions until you change your mind. If you want videos of volcanic eruptions, I can oblige.

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You see in the above photo, there is a mouth shaped light coloured part, next to a tiny hammer? That hammer is about 30 cms. That shit was a bomb of magma during the eruption. Otherwise, that is called a fiamme. Beneath it, harder to see, is an 8 m long fiamme. What is fiamme you ask? Well! Fiamme is essentially collapsed pumice. What is pumice, say those who have never heard of volcanos? Pumice was lava, that cooled in the air. All the bubbles or vesicles in it are from gas escaping. After the ignimbrite gets deposited, sometimes they move afterwards. This stretches out and collapses the pumice.

So imagine a blob of gas rich lava, the size of a house, hurtling towards you.

Less educationally, here are some pretty pictures for you to look at:

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The gist of it all, is that I really truly love volcanoes. The more I learn about them, the cooler they are. If you ever visit this place; go inland. The inner sections of the island are absolutely gorgeous. The coast is pretty much horrendous and tacky.

WHERE AM I FROM?!

Oliver, this is for you. Since you have my blog open all the time, I should really give you some more entertainment. 

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People often ask the question: ‘where are you from?’. Such an innocuous question really. It’s a conversation starter/filler that gives people a frame of reference. Oh you’re Irish? You probably like alcohol, potatoes & complaining about the weather.
I often wish that people would not start off a conversation with this question, upon meeting me. I find that sitting down and listing out where I am from makes it boring and irritating for everyone (including me), that has heard it before. Often my friends groan: ‘ughhh here she goes again!’. I think the same thing guys. It may look like I enjoy it, but I don’t. I’m just being polite. People get offended if you don’t answer their questions.
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I have tried several ways to answer the question over the years. Sometimes I lie. I used to say ‘It’s complicated.’ Unfortunately that just made people want to know more. So I dropped that method quickly. Sometimes I simplify where I am from for convenience.
How I actually like people to find out where I am from is in a more organic and progressive way. By mentioning places I lived in like a bomb mid conversation. ‘Ohhh yeah! When I lived in Zurich I did that…’ Or ‘Well, when I lived in Singapore I…’. I prefer it that way because I enjoy the expressions people make: ‘Wait… What?’ It’s fun. It makes a story that I have repeated hundreds or thousands of times in my life less annoying for everyone involved.
It’s gratifying. I enjoy being unexpected. I enjoy being different. Anyone who knows me at all, knows that.
Unfortunately that doesn’t often happen. Usually people will ask where I am from. Largely because people cannot quite place my accent. Is it British? Is it Irish? Is it American? The answer to that is both none of the above and all of the above. Like my origins, my accent is a mongrel puppy of the three. Depending on my mood, where I am, who I am talking to and what I am talking about, different aspects of my accent will come forward.
Interestingly, people often pick just one version. I do think it is all they hear. People have INSISTED to me that my accent is American (and the other accents too). I have never been to America and when I hear Americans, they sound different to me. They also think I most emphatically do not sound American. They think I sound British or Irish.
That used to irritate me. It doesn’t any more. People hear what they hear and I have no control over it.
The next stage in the ‘where are you from?’ Questions is usually: ‘which country do you identify MOST with?’ Or ‘What is your passport?’
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This still irritates me. What you are doing is attempting to put me in a box, to give you a frame of reference. You are attempting to make me fit into your stereotypes. You are asking me to pick a piece of my past, a piece of my identity, of my experiences and lord it above the others. You are asking me to divide myself up for your comfort.
I do not have a favourite country. I do not have one nationality that I cherish above the rest. I am formed out of all of the places that I have lived. I am linked to all of then. Experiences that contributed to who and what I am occurred in all of them. Must I really pick and choose?
‘You’re passport is Danish. Clearly, this makes you Danish. Done. Dusted.’
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Part of me is Danish. Of course, how could it not be? I have been visiting Denmark my whole life, I have family here, heritage, memories. This does not mean that that is me in my entirety. I have the same in Ireland. Bar blood relatives I also have the same in Luxembourg and Switzerland and Singapore. I grew up in those countries. I am from all of them.
Everywhere I go, I am a foreigner. I was born in Luxembourg. If you ask my friends from Luxembourg if I am Luxembourgish, they would say no. Not really. Ask the Danes, am I Danish? No. Not really. Ask the Irish, am I Irish? No. Not really.
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People like me, are called ‘Third Culture Kids’. There are so many of us out there.  The world is getting so small, and people everywhere are moving around everywhere. The question where are you from has become more and more defunct to me. Take Oliver (heeey), he’s from Canada but he spent a bunch of fairly formative years in Dublin. So is he just from Canada? I don’t think so. A part of Oliver is most definitely from Dublin and asking him to reject that, his experiences and memories and all the growing up he did during his university years  (we all change and grow so much during university), would be deeply unfair.
I think that that applies to a lot of people that have ”just one” nationality. We do not fit in the boxes that we used to. The world is very small, and we are all slowly diffusing into each other with time. People travel to a new country, like Oliver did. A Canadian in Ireland. Then he went back to Canada. Still a Canadian, but more now.
Culture shock does not just happen when you go somewhere with a completely foreign culture. It also happens when you go home, after living abroad.
And honestly, the continents we live on are constantly moving. Unless you live on a Craton, geologically speaking, the land you identify with will probably no longer exist within a few hundred million years or so.
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I should add that I do understand that some people really do identify with their country. I can’t deny them that. Look at the Irish that moved to America. They held on to their identity so hard that generations later still firmly believe that they are Irish. Or ‘American Irish’.
Speaking of that, I once saw an episode of wide swap where there was an American Irish family that had a plaque saying ‘Failte!’ in their hallway. The woman said: This means welcome to our home! It’s pronounced ”felt’. Failte actually just means welcome and is not pronounced ‘Felt’. My best friend Olwyns eye tends to twitch when I remind her of this. I just wanted to add this in, in case she reads this, so I can remind her again. Love you.
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Scandic Gastronomy

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In 2014 I was invited to go on a Scandinavian Gourmet Food Tour with my mother (L), Jean Marie (JM) and Sunny (S). As a poor, hungry student, I of course said: YES PLEASE! We went to three restaurants:

Faviken, Sweden

Maaemo, Norway

Noma, Denmark

The entire trip was a dream, aside from the fact that I was also trying to write a 5000 word essay on Banded Iron Formations for my exams (In the end, I did rather well. We can thank the wonderful food I think). I’m going to take you all through the experience of these three restaurants. If you can afford this kind of trip, do it at least once in your life, and do it with wonderful people. You wont regret it.

As a child I was a very picky eater. There were few things that I would knowingly eat. I say knowingly because my mother used to hide the food items I did not like in our food. I still remember the day that I found out that she was hiding onions in our meals by putting them in a food processor until they became mush. The machine was brown, and she was unapologetic. As an adult, I am still rather picky, though not nearly as much. I don’t eat any kind of fish or sea food and I despise onions with a passion. I am not fond of most salamis.

However, within reason, I will eat most things at least once. For this trip, I made the concious decision that I would put aside my usual eating foibles and sensitivities as much as I could (we informed the restaurants that I did not eat fish, so I did not put that foible aside) and I ate what was put in front of me. I tried everything, though I did not like everything. I will say that in general I was delighted with most of the things I ate, and there were some things that I probably would not have eaten if I hadn’t made that concious decision to ignore my squeamish side. I ate things that I never would have thought of eating (yes there really are ants at Noma, yes I ate ants). There is no point going on a trip like this if you are going to be squeamish. You’ll miss out (See dad, I’m not as picky as you seem to think), and I really wanted to get the most out of it.

Faviken:

http://faviken.com/

Faviken used to be a hunting lodge. If you want more details on how it became a restaurant in the middle of nowhere, I suggest buying the book or looking it up. I’m on holiday, so I am not doing any research. Now, it is a restaurant that uses locally sourced food to make unbelievably delicious food. The entire aroma and sense of that place is just wonderful, beautiful and rustic in the best way. It’s such an honest place. To get there, we drove through a snow storm. Mom and I were utterly uninterested. We both enjoyed a rather nice nap together, wrapped up in our fur coats. JM was in charge of all the driving, and S, the Singaporean member of our party was delighted.

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When I was packing for this trip, my mother told me to pack fancy clothes. I had the most impractical suitcase I can think of. I had no clothes prepared for snow weather. Nor shoes. None. As a geologist who prides herself in owning good solid gear that makes relatively extreme weather bearable, I was rather embarrassed. Luckily we spent most of the trip inside this building:

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It even had a Sauna. I huddled next to the open fires outside whilst we figured how to get inside. We then checked in to these small bedrooms with 2 single beds covered in a thick fake fur shrug. I huddled underneath it whilst I wrote a 1000 words for my essay. Whilst I worked away. L, JM and & S all went down to the bar and had a few tipples. I was forlorn, but persistent and reached my goal in time to join them before dinner and have a little snack.

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The room was all wood, comfy chairs and warmth. There was nothing about this place that said ‘poncy’. Everyone was kind. Everyone came up to say hello, shaking our hands. As the other guests filled in to the room, the excitement built up, smiles on every face. None of us knew what we were in for.

Then we all went upstairs to this room:

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Most of the food was fairly simply presented. Big clean plates, your meal the centre piece, and oh what a centre piece. The dishes were all carried up into the room by the chefs on large platters. Imagine a row of chefs all coming up the stairs as one, carrying your food to you. Every meal was served at the same time, like a dance.

The first photo (below) is the most succulent piece of meat I have ever had. Moose steak. It melted on our tongues. I can’t forget it. I dream of it. Somebody go buy me a moose. The other three pictures are of the deserts. I don’t really want to go into too much detail of exactly what  the food we ate was, partly because the menu I have is in the other room and I’m lazy and warm, and partly because if you ever go, the experience is just more if you don’t know the kind of food you are about to get. Every dish is a mystery, a revelation, an experience.

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By the end of the meal we were all happy campers. L had spent some time discussing with the sommelier and had created a fantastic wine & champagne pairing with the entire meal and oh man! People might wonder why I tend to be so snobby with wine. I know that I am. She is why. My mother often utters the phrase: Life is too short for cheap alcohol. She lives by that saying and has passed it on to my brother and I. She has exposed me to these delicious wines that taste like nectar and just blow you away, where every sip is feels life changing. So I hate drinking cheap, bad alcohol. Of any form. Life is too short, and the memory of my taste buds is long. I’m a snob about wine because I know what is out there. I’ve tasted the good stuff and I have been utterly and delightfully ruined by it. I’ve even started my own wine diary, so that I can write down these wines and drink them again in the future (oh please please let me drink them again).

Long before the end of the meal, we had 4 very stuffed but happy campers. Even the French guy (JM) was on cloud 9 (Tee hee).

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Faviken was a wonderful experience. I would jump at the chance to do it again. It is decadence like no other, and it is beautiful. If you ever get the chance to go: go. Just be prepared to be more full than you have ever been before. More full than after a christmas dinner. There were 27 courses, and snacks afterwards.

Maaemo:

http://maaemo.no/

Maaemo is a two star restaurant in a very fancy building.

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The room is beautiful and elegant, the service is as perfect and prompt as one would hope in a 2 start restaurant. Once again the concept is of locally sourced Nordic cuisine. I found that in comparison to Faviken, Maaemo did not have the same oomph. However there were some dishes that I would do exercise to get my hands on again. Below is blue cheese that was treated frozen. It melted on the tongue like ice cream. We all wanted more. The other is shaved reindeer heart, flavour that kicked you in the teeth. Yummy as can be. These two stood out the most for me, though several others were really delicious.

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By the end of the meal, once again we were 4 very happy and very full people. Nothing quite like good food and good company. We had an in depth conversation about how Faviken and Maaemo compared, and I will say that Maaemo did not compare to Faviken, but that it did not compare because they were such different eating experiences. If you ever go to either of them, allow more than a day of time between your visits so you can get the most out of each experience.

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This one was only 14 courses, so we were not quite as full as we were at Faviken. In Faviken the people who worked there were just so great and welcoming, and they really made the experience. We had that to a lesser degree at Maaemo, I think largely because our sommelier this time had some rather odd notions about wine that did not match L’s standards. A French man who hated burgundy, and described a sweet wine we had as ‘spring in a bottle’, when the wine tasted like an alcoholic version of the Ikea elderflower cordial. However, we had a wonderful polish waitress who admitted to us that her and her boyfriend who worked in the kitchens tended to eat eggs on toast and noodles more than anything. These people who live around these delicacies on a daily basis were inured to them, and noodles are just so much quicker and easier to make.

Noma:

http://noma.dk/

Noma Noma Noma, you are a thing of dreams

This restaurant deserves every single one of it’s awards and reviews. By the time we got to Noma we all felt so full of luxury, our expectations were high, amped up by our previous experiences. We were snobs with experience under our belts, and we knew what was out there. By the end of that meal we were worshippers at the alter of Noma. I could never put into words how much I loved every aspect of that experience. I didn’t think I could ever get more blown away by food than I had been at Faviken. We were all saying, nothing might ever compare to it. We were right. Noma didn’t compare. It transcended.

I could write poetry about that restaurant. I could wax lyrical for an age. It took one of my favourite things in the world (food) and turned it into magic.

First: the excitement

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We stood outside and got a photo taken. Several of them in fact. Unbeknownst to us, inside all the chefs who would be preparing our meals were waiting inside to greet us. It was terrifying. We walked in and over a dozen chefs stood at the door and welcomed us to Noma. Noma for all its glory, is not pretentious. I was woefully overdressed (Once again, that overly fancy wardrobe I packed thanks to mom). They watched us posing through the window. They probably saw that all the time though.

We sat down, we were welcomed again and the concept of Noma was described to us. People around us were being served and we were all so excited. The sommelier came and had a serious chit chat with L over the wine menu (This guy held his own – he knew what he was talking about).

Then the food came.

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All of the above meals were some of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. The bone marrow melted me. Those three innocuous looking blobs? Changed the way I saw marzipan. The eggs? I did not know that eggs could taste like that, I don’t know if I will ever think of eggs the same way, JM cheekily managed to get an extra basket. The second time round of eating them did not diminish the taste. The moss made we want to go out and gather my own moss.

Some of the courses were for sharing. I grew up with a very large and very hungry older brother. I honestly don’t know how L managed to keep us afloat financially with that stomach. It was bottomless. This meant that any time there was a food in the kitchen that I really liked, it never stayed there for very long. John sneezed, and he would be hungry again. He always got to eat all of the pop tarts, because he could inhale an entire box like breathing. Getting the good things was a war that I lost at constantly. Writing my name on things did no good. John was hungry, John would eat. Add this to 9 years of boarding school, where a tuck box (snacks, sweets, etc) was your treasure chest. You locked that up. It was MY candy and only I was going to eat it. All of this together means that I have a slight problem with sharing food. I am very possessive. I can count on one hand the people that I would allow to take food from my plate without asking. I wouldn’t use all my fingers in the counting either. You come near my creme brulee and I will hit you. I once hit my dad with my spoon because he tried to steal a strawberry. The people that I allow to do this, know who they are and how I feel, and sometimes do it just to remind me that they have that kind of power. It still hurts every time though. It’s mine. Unless I offer it to you first, you are not getting any of my food.

So, as JM is allergic to fish, and I do not eat fish it was natural that we were given the non fish sharing dishes. JM was a little nervous, so he let me sort out how much we each got. It was a very wise decision.

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If you ever get the chance to go to Noma, do it. Do it. It is worth every penny. The staff are kind. They know that many of the people who go are those that have saved up for the experience, and they make sure that every customer feels like kings and queens, that that appreciate how much it costs to eat there and that they want everyone who comes to feel the full experience of what they are doing, to join in their love of food and everything it can be. It’s not just the food that makes Noma special. It’s the people who work there, who run it. The entire thing is a labour of love.

I want to go back: Can we do it all over again?

A final note: I did not take any of the photos. JM and S were in charge of that, and they were kind enough to let me use all their photos so I could show off what a wonderful time we all had!

Argentina Trip 2014

Every time someone asks me about Argentina, and how it was, the most I can do is say ‘oh it was great’! it was so beautiful!’ No one really wants to sit down and listen to me talk in depth about the geology we found there. Or if I start telling you all of the non geological things that happened, we would be there for quite some time. So I might as well write it here, so I can just send this link next time I am asked, and if you really want to know, you’ll read it.

We landed in Argentina on November 27th. I was exhausted. The flight was 14 hours. I slept curled up like a pretzel. I’ve gotten very good at flying in long haul economy over the years. I have my method down to a fine art. However, it’s still exhausting, and if I don’t rest properly after a long flight like that I often get migraines that feel like all the fires of hell are burning in my head. We then piled into a taxi and drove over to the other airport in Argentina.

In a sense, Argentina reminded me of Singapore with all the high rise buildings, the greenery around the motorways, until we saw the slums. We drove by them for only a few minutes until they passed out of sight. I forget sometimes how lucky I am, how wonderfully unbelievably lucky I am. Moments like that remind me. They remind me it is important to appreciate how lucky I am, and to really cherish it, not take it for granted.

Then we flew off to San Rafael and stayed there for the night. This is a view from our hotel:

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It was a weird hotel. Everything in it felt 30 years old. The breakfast seemed weird too, until we spent more time in Argentina and we realised that Argentinians are crazy about sugar. They put it in everything, and I mean everything. They roast their coffee beans with sugar. On a side note, they also seem to think gluten is a toxic, and almost everything says ‘sin gluten’ on the packets.

The next day we drove 7 hours south to the little town of Andacollo where we would be staying for most of our trip. On a fairly flat stretch of road, the same for 100’s of km’s, with the Andes to our left. On the drive there, I felt excited for most of the 7 hours, seeing these mountains that I had never seen before. There were some spectacular views. We drove by those mountains about 4 times, and by the 4th time I pretty much napped or read my kindle.

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Then we get to Andacollo. It was a deeply uninspiring looking town. Dirt pathways, 5 supermarkets a couple of parks, and a massive statue of Jesus. the place we stayed at was wall agail alojaimento. I shared a bedroom with my professor and field partner. It was weird. I did not like having to be in such close quarters with people that I also had to work with intensely. There is only so much time that you should spend with the people you work with on these kind of trips, because they are just so intense. You do everything together, and everything is actually pretty tough. Field trips are both physically and mentally demanding. That is exhausting. Later on in the trip we got to move to a bigger apartment where we had separate bedrooms. Sleeping alone in a room was just the best. Not getting woken up by snoring was also quite lovely.

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But a sweet town, once we got to know it. The people were kind. They all knew we were different and foreign (hard to miss with my pasty white skin). They left us largely to ourselves, but we befriended one or two people there. In particular a lovely man called Adrian who we think was the owner of the local Gomeria (they do tires and wash your car), who helped us with our car troubles, even though he wasn’t the mechanic we thought he was. We had many car troubles. More on that later.

Then the work started. The rocks, oh man the rocks. Our professor had driven through this area a year ago, and thought ‘this place could be the key’. He’s been working on this project for a couple years now, with masters phd students researching and sampling. He had a feeling about this town, and based on that feeling I got to join the project and start researching my masters thesis.

The thing with this, is he could have been totally wrong. There could have been nothing. It could have been a bust, and we would have had to work very creatively to find something worth writing about. However he was right, oh so very right. We had so many lava flows to sample. We got 69 rock samples in total, which should be more than enough to have very interesting data to work with. My thesis is going to be focused on the fluid signatures in the rocks, and what I can determine from them. I am very excited. Geologically speaking, I love fluids. That is what I want to focus my career on, which means I will probably end up in the mining industry because most mineral deposits are formed with hydrothermal fluids involved.

I digress.

Lavas for ever. It creates a really particular kind of landscape, where you have these flat stretches for miles

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Those layers you can see in the photos are actually individual lava flows. We sampled them. So samples wise, we had a bonanza. We were really lucky. So I’m very happy about it.

One thing we experienced a lot were live stock traffic jams.

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I have so so many photos like this. I am sad to say that I saw no llamas. So in my head I started calling goats short necked llamas. I even tried to go to the zoo in Buenos Aires, but they were bloody closed. I am beyond irritated and disappointed.

Other than all that, we drank a lot of wine (Malbec, of course. Though I’m told I missed out by not drinking any Shiraz. Next time), and we ate pastries. Most of the food we ate we cooked in a little kitchenette because there were no restaurants that we could find. Just five supermarkets. I don’t know why that town needed so many.

We also bumped into a bunch of gauchos ( Argentinian cowboys). Quite a few of them had no teeth, and their accents were thicker than mud. Me, with my rather poor Spanish ( I have no illusions about my skill level) really struggled. Though often these men did not talk nor see other people for days or weeks at a time so they were a seriously chatty bunch. They either didn’t understand or they didn’t care that we could not understand them. They seemed like kind hearted people who just wanted a chat. I wish my I could have understood them better. Maybe one day if I polish my Spanish to fluency, I’ll go back and have a chat with a gaucho in the mountains. That seems like a nice plan to have.

One of the strangest aspects of what I do, is I often trespass on peoples land. I did that a lot on this trip, as everything in the area seemed to be farmland. Can you imagine living in the middle of nowhere, when suddenly two fairly young people drive up in a fancy shiny car, get out, carrying sledge hammers and in full hiking gear. They then walk up to an outcrop of rock that’s been beside your house since before the house was built: and then they start hammering the rock. They look at it. Talk a bit. Discard it. Do it again.

We got some strange looks. Some very very strange looks. Though, luckily we were only kicked off someones property once. Unfortunately it was a great place to sample, but we didn’t have time since we were kicked off pretty much ten minutes after we got to the outcrop which was half way up a mountain already.

A running theme through the entire trip, was car troubles (as mentioned before). I was in a car accident as a kid. Some ass hat drove into my dads car, and I got whiplash. I had no idea what that all meant. All I knew was I got massages every week on my neck for a couple months and a special little tablet in my lunch box that no one else got (it was pain killers for my head ache. Not nearly as special as I believed). On this trip however we almost had a car accident. It was terrifying. The roads in the area were all sand and gravel. With the best tires in the world you can still lose grip on the road, and if that happens on a bend whilst you are turning, so help you. The car started swerving, and we were very close to ending up in a ditch. Going through that as an adult, is so different. I knew exactly what was coming. I’m glad that I didn’t need to go to the bathroom at the time.

Our car also broke down. We were driving along, when my field partner noticed smoke coming from the car. So he pulled over, we got out, and me with my very poor Spanish called the Argentinian version of AA. Mercantil Andila. By some miracle the guy spoke English, but then it took 5 hours for a tow truck to arrive, because we were on mountain roads.

One piece of advice I have for everyone: no matter where you go, nor for how long you are going, bring something for entertainment. For me, I bring my kindle. Always. I also make sure to keep it charged. My field partner brought his phone, with low battery, but no charger. My phone could not be used as i was the only one who got signal, and all battery had to be saved for emergencies. So I spent about 3 of the 5 hours that we waited on this mountain road reading Stephen Fry’s latest autobiography: more fool me. (It’s a great book – you should read it). It was weird. It was very weird, and then suddenly it was very soothing. I definitely got a cadence going as I got used to reading out loud, something I have never done for that long before. Anyway. Take that advice. You may thank me for it one day.

I’ll write another post about my thoughts on Buenos Aires later. This is already too long, and I wrote it in 3 goes, largely to take breaks from my studies.

To sign off, here is a video of the dog who kept us company at our ‘agail alojamiento’ in Andacollo

Nacho