Mendoza – happiness is a new dish towel

We’ve made it to  Mendoza, Argentina. Mendoza is know for it’s amazing wine, good food and being close to the Andes.    But, forget sight seeing, wine tasting, white water rafting, horse back riding, the only thing I want to do right now is find a dish towel.

this paper towel is not that absorbent.

Our Mendoza “home” is a furnished tourist apartment, the 5th one on our stay so far.   We’ll be staying here for a week to two months depending on

  1. How much we like Mendoza.
  2. How much we like the apartment.
  3. When and if we can buy a dish towel.

Except for several nights, we’ve stayed almost entirely in furnished temporary rental apartments. These apartments are set up for tourists and can usually be rented by the day, week or month.  They’re perfect for us because they’re big enough for all our stuff and have kitchens so we can cook. They also have the internet because we make sure to only stay in ones that do.  There are some beautiful ones out there and some not-so-nice ones.  We stay at the best ones we can afford on our travel budget. Depending on the city, that can sometimes be great and sometimes worse than the worst college apartment you ever lived in.

We’ve got the move in routine down pat.

Prior to move – secure apartment online. Marvel at beauty of apartment in photos.  Dream of our new temporary home.

Arrive in town by bus or plane – race to a ATM, withdraw rent money.  Stuff bills into our money belts.  Look like we’re doing something very weird in ATM booth with hands down our pants.

Taxi Stand – use spacial reasoning to access which taxi can fit Jeff’s bike suitcase.  Fit rest of our luggage around it, sit in back  on top of suitcase with luggage piled to car ceiling if necessary.

Schlep luggage from taxi to new apartment, pity new landlord – our new landlord is always waiting for us at our new apartment. He quickly  hides his look of horror as we pull up with our luggage. They all paste on pretend smiles as they help us drag it all in.

Frantic apartment once over – Jeff distracts landlord with idle chatter as I race around behind the scenes and check out – are there towels, sheets,  hot water, pots, pans, working toilet?

I should have asked what the knobs are for. The flusher is on the top.

internet password confusion – as Jeff runs out of small talk, I boot up my IPOD and check wifi.  Ask landlord for password, try, retry, ask again, have him write it down, have landlord call friend to reconfirm it’s correct, try again. Try one more time.

rent payment – hands back down pants to get money out of our money belts.  Careful sorting, unfolding and counting of rent money. Detailed receipt issued by landlord.

key handover – landlord hands over keys which look like they last unlocked a 15th century monastery.   Wonder how these will ever fit in our pocket.

landlord goodbye kiss -sometimes kiss, sometimes shake hands, sometimes kiss by accident.

moment of panic – we sink into stained couch, broken dining room chair, cracked lawn chair, or sagging bed and try not to cry.  This looks nothing like the photos.

moment of acceptance – And then we pull it together. We’re in Argentina for God sakes, it’s not so bad, in fact, it’s awesome.  Who needs daylight, an oven, towels, working toilet.  What’s a few bugs, so what if it smells so bad you have a migraine, the bed sags so much you won’t be able to sleep. The pots and pans are rusty? We’ve had our tetanus shots.  Who needs to sit on that couch, we can dry off with an old sock.  We can fashion window screens from mosquito netting, we can build our own desk out of wood.

moment of thankfulness that we carry a small kitchen with us – dish towels, cutting boards, sharp knives, cheese grater, skillet, salt and pepper shakers, spices, spatula, wine opener, measuring cups, can opener.

things from home
things we've bought and take with us from apartment to apartment

moment of sadness – when realize we’ve left half those items  behind.  That beautiful dish towel, shiny cookie sheet, the green pasta strainer, all left behind in the last rental apartment.

scavenger hunt begins -all we need are a few things to make this livable – dish towel, soap dish, bath mat, towel hooks, utensil holder. That can’t be hard, I’ll run out and get them.

city map in hand, ready to find that dish towel

Then the hunt begins.  Time to go buy a new dish towel.  Where would they sell such a thing? Yesterday I looked at a big supermarket (where I bought the last 2 in other cities), street market, bathroom towel store, and kitchen store.  None of them had dish towels.   But today is a new day.  Somewhere out there between the wineries, vineyards,  fancy restaurants and the Andes is a dish towel just waiting to be purchased.

10 thoughts on “Mendoza – happiness is a new dish towel”

  1. ciao Sheryl, ciao Jeff! we are always very happy to read about your adventure in Argentina! you are so agreeable in telling your mishaps that you look like a real story teller as Chatwin for instance! you always make us laugh.
    all the best to you!
    with love

  2. Ciao Roberta, it’s great to hear from you! I wish I had had a blog when we lived in Italy. That would have been so fun. A big kiss and hug!

    1. I’m pretty psyched to see them. Jeff went on a bike ride today and rode through vineyards with views of the Andes. I’m so bummed he didn’t have his camera with him.

  3. I wasn’t aware that you can rent furnished ‘tourist’ apartment in Argentina by day! That sounds like something we definitely would want to do (note to self: shoot Sheryl an email about this soon).

    Anyway, good luck with your hunt for absorbent dish towels! Worst case scenario you can use old tshirts, no? 🙂

    1. Today is day 3 of the dish towel hunt. 🙂 Yes, old t-shirts work very well. Email me when you get to Argentina. We’ve stayed in some great places that are more expensive than hostels, but cheaper than hotels. When you can cook your own food it seems to pay for itself.

  4. and, i’m the ass laughing outloud in the lima airport. i blame you. good luck. think of where you would be if you were a dishtowel, and then think of the exact opposite place. go to the latter. if i’ve learned anything, that should work.

  5. Frankie and I only stayed one month before we actually rented a long term apartment and just furnished it. We work from home so we got a 2 br and got a great deal, but we had our heads set on staying one year and do the whole Vendimia thing. Now we want to stay one more month and they had no problem with a month to month, now that they ‘trust’ us LOL.

    1. That’s good to know. I keep hearing how you need a 2 year lease for an unfurnished apartment and that you need to supply your own appliances.

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