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.
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
- How much we like Mendoza.
- How much we like the apartment.
- 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?
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.
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.
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.