I am prone to neither violence nor culture shock, but sometimes… I just want to punch something, preferably inanimate and cheap.
Map buying was such an occasion.
I want to get some really nice maps of Mendoza while I am here. Detailed topographical maps are the goal, and in a city that makes its subsistence money off of farming, food production and mountaineering tourism, one would thing that this would be a tangible goal.
It is not.
Downtown contains many bookstores. I went to all of them. There was one whose name kept popping up, so I went there.
The book department sent me to the paper department- whatever that means. The paper department sent me back to the book department. And by department, I mean lady. She looked honestly unpleased at my return. When I asked her if she had any books of atlases, she sighed. She sighed. She sighed as though I had just asked her to babysit my 2 year old triplets. She sighed and did not turn around to look at her shelves of books for a very, very long time.
If I could have jumped the counter without being thrown out, I would have at this point.
She looked around her shelf for long enough to think that she had appeased my incessant need for her to do something, and then she pulled out the book that happened to be under her index finger when she had had enough.
It was a road map book of Argentina that focused on highways in the 8th largest country in the world.
Mendoza was indicated by a red dot.
So I went back to the paper guy who sold me a child’s map poster the size that most tend to use for Hillary Duff images on a 13 year old girl’s wall. Let me just say that I feel very sorry for any little girl whose parent gets her one of these for her birthday or any other special occasion.
I folded it up and went on my way. Something tells me that I’ll have to go straight to the Instituto Nacional Vitivinicultura just to get what I’m looking for.
My one concern, and it is a valid one, is that agronomists only know where the next vineyard is because you turn right and then left at Pedro de la Iglesias de Carmen Jose’s vineyard and go until you see the black cow and turn left. As for altitude… it is what it is.
In a country that absolutely pops out engineers and masters degrees, it is sometimes alarmingly difficult to nail down some facts.