Road Trip Northwest Argentina: Where Gauchos Go To Party

As our rental car began to drift atop a layer of windblown sand, I grabbed hold, down-shifted and noticed the hills around me were swirled in a peppermint twist. All those Ruta 40 signs in Argentina finally delivered on an implied promise: you’ll be impressed, and what once captured your imagination will now claim your full attention.

But it wasn’t the fabled Route 40 of Patagonia that would provide the exclamation point on our time in Argentina. It was a week-long road trip across the quebradas of Northwest Argentina, where chilies dry in the midday sun, llama comes served with wine pressed just down the road, and gauchos hold harvest festivals in the hills.

Road from Salta to Cachi
Landscape in Northwest Argentina

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Dating Advice from Galapagos Birds (or, When Charles Darwin Meets Cosmo)

I've been out of the dating game for exactly 12 years, so maybe I'm not the best person to write about how to snag a man. However, during our recent trip to the Galapagos Islands, I observed the behaviors of various birds and something struck me: their mating habits reminded me of those dating advice columns I used to read in Cosmo.

If memory serves, it's a cruel dating world out there. For those of you still in the game, take comfort that the animal kingdom knows no more forgiveness than our human one.

Were Charles Darwin to lead a voyage into the realm of dating advice, perhaps this is where he’d take us:

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A Road Trip, Some Banditos, and a Dose of Fear

There we were at the dock in San Pedro bargaining for a boat to Santiago. The price seemed prohibitively high for a whimsical afternoon side trip on Lake Atitlan. Natasha, another traveler hoping to take the same boat, also questioned the price.

You know, I have a car here. We could drive. You can just give me some gas money.

Tuk Tuk Struggling Up the Hill - Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Struggling up the hills near Lake Atitlan.

Sounded like a reasonable alternative.

Just as we turned to leave, the boat ticket salesman's voice rose, “Carretera. Banditos. Peligroso.” (Highway. Bandits. Dangerous.)

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Guatemalan Pepian: Please Try This at Home

Learning a new language is great, but doing so through the lens of food and markets strikes us as ideal. So when the topic of Guatemalan cuisine came up during our Spanish lessons (day two, as we steered each of our instructors there fairly quickly), we seized the opportunity and asked if one of our sessions could double as a cooking class. You'll see the results in the video and recipe below.

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Patong Patterns

Patong is not a place we would choose for a vacation – its main attraction is the beach, but sex tourism comes in a close second. We chose it deliberately as a place to get some things accomplished with ADSL internet in our room, few sites to distract us, and a beach within ten minutes walk when we needed a break.

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Bruised Bottoms to Battambang

There are two ways to get to Battambang from Siem Reap: 1) bus on reliable roads, 5 to 6 hours or 2) boat on less than reliable waterways, 5 to 10 hours. We chose the boat option, having read that the journey along Tonle Sap Lake is the best water trip in Cambodia, where beautiful scenery and active floating villages accompany you most of the way.

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