Healthy Mendoza‏

Winery, Mendoza, Argentina
Winery, Mendoza, Argentina

12 Dec 2002

I’m in Mendoza, beautiful Mendoza!  What a welcome relief from the tourist-trodden Lake District.  This is a spotlessly clean city;  shopkeepers seem to sweep constantly (although this unfortunately makes for some dusty air when passing by).  And it has beautiful plazas, with grand elephant palms, regal statues, splashy fountains, and plenty of benches perched conveniently beneath shady trees and alongside blooming flower beds.  The acequias (irrigation canals) that line nearly every street add a distinctive flavor to the city (but also pose somewhat of a danger if one were to misstep), as well as nourish to the trees that provide much-needed shade during the blistering midday siesta hours.

The canals are leftover from the indigenous Huarpes who ingeniously turned a virtual desert into a thriving agricultural zone (which the Spaniards were quick to capitalize on) by effectively channeling the runoff from the Andes to the West.  Despite many earthquakes over the centuries, it still has some decent colonial buildings.  Agreeably familiar, it feels very much like southern Spain.

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