Saturday, February 21, 2015

On cycling, taxidermy, and very little else

There are some days when I think I'm going to die from an overdose of satisfaction. - Salvadore Dali

OMGYOUGUYS. I am having the best day ever and it's only eleven a.m. Get this: I just got a BIKE. And I RODE it.  For five whole minutes, on the streets of London. I never felt so alive. The wind in my face, the sweat under my coat (from terror rather than exertion, it must be said), the ground so far beneath me that I felt like I was flying: it was incredible. I thought I'd die of fright and thrill. I'll obviously never do it again - my heart just couldn't take it, and I don't have the fearlessness in me that cycling in London requires - but I'll be happy when we take it down to France-house and I can use it to get to and from the nearby lake. I'm going to put flowers in the basket on mother effing PRINCIPLE. And also baguettes, even though I can't stand them (I am pretty sure they are only good as baseball bats). It will be so romantic. I will ding my little bell merrily all the way there. Forget towels and lotion, that's for people with no imagination. And if anybody gives me that judgy French look when I pull up, I'm just going to haughtily untie the ribbon of my charming straw hat, slowly reach for the baguette, and then whack them across the face with it. LIVING THE DREAM!

And in even more exciting news, I've got a taxidermy course today! I am going to learn how to stuff and mount a mouse. I cannot wait. I'm going to give him a little stop sign and use him to warn off the living mice that are no doubt lurking in our ancient Victorian walls and plotting to take over our kitchen.

What a day of firsts!

And because it's been too long since I've posted a completely irrelevant photo of Lake Garda, here you are:

Big hugs and lots of love,

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

On ebay, Cafayate, and life on Mars

It's not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing it. - Terry Pratchett

OMGYOUGUYS. Have you heard of this website called ebay? It's like the newest thing ever. I'm currently trying to get us cheap furniture for France-House and for the first time I am entering the ebay-fray rather than just poking around like a voyeur and WHY IS IT SO EXCITING? Every time I enter a max bid, my heart races like I've just gone off a high dive. I FEEL ALIIIIIIVE! The first time - and to be fair the only time, I'm not good at this - I won something, the rush was so great I laughed. Out loud. Alone. In my kitchen. It just bubbled up, totally uncontrollable. I immediately and self-consciously tried to look normal.

Totally worked.

In other news, the Salta pictures are coming along! Check these out:

Doesn't it make you sick?

These were taken in the Quebrada de Cafayate, which is the crazy-scenic drive between Salta and Cafayate. It was 3 hours of 'PULL OVER! PULL OVER!' again and again and again. Alan loved it. He also liked how I invariably had the wrong lens on my camera and spent the first five minutes at the side of the road cursing and dropping filters. I am pretty much a pro. All the trouble was worth it, though*: the terrain was absolutely wild. The red rocks, the red sand, the Andes, some other rocks, etc. - it was like we had landed on Mars. Except with cowboys and cacti. And oxygen.

I think.

And then when you finally get through all that exhausting mother-effing beauty, you land in the CUTEST VILLAGE IN ALL THE LAND: Cafayate.
Also, home of the best steak I've ever had in my entire life. Shula Cata parrillada is a must-do, youguys. There's no sign on the front so it's easy to miss, but you'll know it by the flourescent lighting, plastic tables, and smell of sweet delicious meat utopia wafting out the open frontage. It is located in the residential part of town, a bit off the beaten track. The locals filling the space will look at you, because you stick out like a sore thumb. Either that, or because you've got blood dripping down your chin. I was too busy shoveling in 'todos los carnes' - my highly-specific order - to notice.

Cafayate is HEAVEN. It's sweetly nestled in the mountains, surrounded by dirt roads that lead to lovely wineries, and it has a teeny tiny leafy square and a dozen options for street-food and empanadas and ice cream. I just don't know how a place can get better than this. As a real piece of travel-writing called it, it's 'Down-at-the-Healdsburg.'

Super roughing it.

Just wait until next time I post - it's going to be all the pics from the drive back UP to Salta. They're just like these ones, except in reverse. So, you know. Exciting. Red. Dusty. Full of aliens.

Big hugs and lots of love,

*To me.