Wind – Mendoza style

Posted by on April 16, 2011


It’s hard to take a photo of wind, so here is a photo of me in the wind.   This isn’t just any old wind. This is me facing the camera in a Viento Zonda.    We first heard of Viento Zonda in Salta. Jeff’s cycling friends told him about it.  It’s a dry hot wind from the Andes.   Coming from the Midwest where there are tornadoes and Seattle where there are wind storms, we weren’t impressed. We thought it was kind of cute that the Argentinians would name their winds.  We kept waiting to experience a Viento Zonda.

We should have known something was up today when this was the forecast on weather.com

Any time “widespread dust” is the forecast and the sun is blurred out and brown, you know it’s a weird day.  We went outside and it was unusually warm and windy. But, the wind felt great, warm instead of cold.

View from our balcony. Everything looks normal.

As we drank our coffee on our balcony the wind picked up.   We have a great view of the Andes, and by looking at them, you’d never guess that they are causing this crazy wind.   My friend Nati explains both the reason for it and the mythology behind it on her blog  Nomadic Behavior.

After breakfast we went off to workout – Jeff on his bike, me to the gym.   After a few blocks I understood what Viento Zonda feels like.   If Hell is windy it feels like this.  If you put a wind tunnel in your oven, and opened the oven door it would feel like this.  If you had a giant hair dryer and tried to blow your hair on a sand dune it would feel like this.    The dry hot wind whips up all the dust and throws it in your face. It should be called Viento Antipatico. (nasty wind).

By the time I walked home from the gym, my eyes were burning. My hair was full of leaves, and my lungs felt like they would explode.  Luckily Jeff gave up on his ride minutes after starting.

We watched from inside our apt as the wind whipped the trees around, kicked up dust and blasted us with hot dry air.  Luckily, this one wasn’t bad. There wasn’t any damage. Afterward,  it was weird to see Mendoza’s normally pristine streets full of leaves.

But, strangely, a lot of leaves blew into neat piles.

So, while it is kind of nice that they name their winds in Argentina, there is nothing cute about a dry, hot wind whipping dust and leaves in your face and down into your lungs.  Next time the forecast calls for widespread dust I’m staying inside.