Saturday, November 29, 2008

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night...

We found ourselves on a lonely stretch of road in the middle of nowhere Thursday night. It was late and I was tired, hungry and aggravated. At myself. Somehow in the last big town I'd missed a turn and we ended up on the wrong road and didn't discover our mistake for an hour. This was farm country and while we saw many, many, MANY cows -- no people in sight. Until finally a small road crew. Not too competent in the road repair business but they did just fine telling us how to get back to Route 8. It only took about 45 minutes over a bone-jarring dirt road path track to reach it.

So here we were only about half-way to our destination when the lightening started. At first we thought it was pretty cool -- our own little show. Since it was pitch black except for the occasional bursts of light, we enjoyed the display. Until "a little lightening here, a little lightening there" turned into a complete horizon of God's fireworks, as far as we could see in all directions. And the wind began to blow. And blow and blow and blow. Pretty soon whole tree limbs were flying by but we were about 50 kilometers from the next town (or 40 kilometers back to the last one).

Suddenly there were multiple vehicle lights ahead and we slowed down and found a huge tree across the road with a bus this side of the tree and several trucks on the other. Men were out there dragging and throwing what they could off the road. Soon enough space to squeeze through and we were on our way again, staying right behind the bus which acted as a wind block for us. Until the driver decided his double-decker bus was a bit too much like a big ole sail and pulled off at a gas station. We bravely forged ahead.

The evening had its comic moments. Like when we tried to call a friend to see if he could recommend a hotel in the next town because we kept passing downed trees and had had enough. Our elderly friend wanted to give us the phone number for his son, who actually lived in the town we were closest to, and save us the cost of a hotel. But he didn't know the number so his wife was reading him the number, he was telling the hubby and the hubby was telling me as I tried to write by a miniscule light on the dashboard. Then we were trying to read it back. I wasn't doing the greatest on translating the numbers from Spanish (hey, it was late and I was tired) plus the elderly couple don't hear all that well, and we didn't have the best phone connection either. We found it quite funny. Later.

But alas we were not able to reach the son (found out the next day his phone lines were down). So after a few more phone calls and stopping at two YPFs (to buy more minutes for the phone), we were directed to Hotel Salta and by 12:30 a.m. we were setting down our luggage in the room, exhausted and wet (torrential sideways rain had started as we hit town).

The bathroom floor was wet (small window left open) so we mopped it up. The air conditioner didn't work but the ceiling fan did. I was too tired to do anything beyond brush my teeth and wash my feet (sandals, dirt roads, need I say more?). The hubby wanted to shower but while there was plenty of water coming down in the form of rain, there was none coming out of the faucet in the form of a shower. Apparently my teeth and feet had used up what water had been left in the pipes and there was no more. So we just went to bed.

Things looked much better in the morning. Water once again issued forth from the faucets so we both enjoyed refreshing showers. Hotel Salta has a nice dining room where they serve a continental breakfast so we fortified ourselves with café con leche, crescent rolls, yogurt and fruit. Then back on the road. No more downed trees (the road crews must have been out all night) but we did see plenty of flooded fields.

Now here we are, sitting in a café in Belgrano where they have wifi and delicious fruit smoothies. We arrived in Santa Rosa around 5 p.m. Friday and I just crashed. I was (embarrassingly) asleep when our friends arrived that night. But since Pola had a headache and went straight to bed, I don't feel too badly. The hubby and Jorge stayed up for a while talking but even they didn't make it too late. And Saturday morning we enjoyed breakfast together before they had to take off. We've really enjoyed these opportunities to see old friends and catch up this week.

This weekend we are just relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet. The house is in the country about a city-block distance from the river (which is running high because of the rain) and not too many neighbors. We weren't able to find bubble bath but bought a big bottle of cheap shampoo which we discovered works about the same. Because -- joy of all joys! -- the house has bathtubs!!! A good hot soak with a book was just what the doctor ordered.

I'll be back on Monday. I have missed y'all! I haven't had a chance to read anyone's blog in days and e-mails have been short and sweet by necessity. I hope everyone had a really great long holiday weekend with friends and family and look forward to reading whatever you've been writing about!


rita said...

I never know whether your life is more adventure-filled than most or you are just such a great writer ;)! Wish you had your camera and we could see some photos of Santa Rosa.

Lhoyt said...

The description is delicious! A good hot bath (or better yet a while in the Rio Santa Rosa) sounds like a heavenly treat right about now (temp here= 27 degrees this morning). And Oh what bliss to see the house and smell the eucaliptus trees and walk down the gravel road etc., etc.
Your experiences sound like three or four years worth of excitement.