Photos: Argentina’s Road to Nowhere
Somewhere between Mendoza and Uspallata, Argentina.
The drive west out of the city of Mendoza towards the Andes may not be the most exciting ascent. There are no hairpin turns or heart-stopping one and a half lane passes. If you’re looking for that kind of vertigo and motion sickness inducing road trip, head over to the Chilean side of the Andes. (I encourage you to check out a satellite image of the road from Santiago leading up to the Andes. Just looking at it makes me queazy.) What the Argentine side does afford however is a gradual incline with plenty of opportunities for reflection and photographs. The bountiful vineyards around Mendoza, framed by a picture-perfect mountain backdrop, give way to quiet desert plains and then to rich polychrome mounds of earth as you cruise (safely) past wide ravines and through sturdy tunnels. Just as you’re beginning to succumb to a sort of beauty hypnosis, one strange scene jolts you into consciousness. You think to yourself, is that a mirage? Am I still drunk from last night’s Malbec? What is a tropical lake doing in the middle of the desert? Are those sails? Where the hell am I?
Those were the thoughts that came to my mind anyway. Suddenly out of nowhere was this Mediterranean blue lake and there were a handful of windsurfers zigzagging across it and a totally normal road leading down to it…well more precisely down INTO it. Where was it going? Why was it built? What happened? I had no idea, nor did I care. The only thing I was thinking was how I longed to be a genie so I could summon a small sailboat with the crossing of my arms and the nod of my head. Naturally I would then sail around the lake in my sexy midriff-baring genie outfit. It’s not like this place could get any weirder anyway.