Currently sitting in the domestic airport in Buenos Aires waiting to fly to Salta and then travel by road up to Colomé where there are what the owners (the Hess Collection) claim are the highest vineyards in the world. Are they the highest? Colomé’s neighbour (and former owner) Raul Davalos might challenge the claim, as might some of those who are trying to put Bolivian wine on the map. But no matter. I’m filling up my MP3 for what promises to be an ‘interesting’ 4 hour journey by road to a part of Salta I’ve never ventured to before, and am anticipating a fascinating visit.
But on another matter, just spent the night in BA at the Ayres de Libertad, a clean and efficient establishment, and the third hotel I’ve stayed in on this jaunt to Argentina. Now if any locals are reading this, can you explain something to me – why do your hotels have no plugs in the bathroom? Not electric plugs, but plugs to stop the water running away. At the Executive Suites in Mendoza, I asked for a plug at reception and I might as well have asked for a team of strippers and a marching band. One begrudgingly arrived – a plug, not a stripper – but it only fitted the bath. I went and asked for a sink-sized plug – three days later when I left, it still hadn’t arrived. Then at Valle Perdido in Neuquen, there was no bath, but there was a sink – but again, no plug. Finally at the Ayres de Libertad, a bath and a sink, but no plug for either (although there was one for the sink in the adjacent kitchenette).
Why? Am I supposed to dry shave? Or shave with the taps going and waste a precious resource? I ended up making do by wedging various of the bathroom bottles into the orifice, and managed to remove the stubble, although I had to keep the taps tricking to maintain water level. So a message to Argentine winemakers. Thank you for the gifts you have given me on this trip, among them a box of chocolates, an asados knife (perfect for those tense encounters at customs), a bottle of olive oil and enough pens to stock a small stationery store. But if you really want to win the hearts and minds of UK wine writers and plug the Argentina cause, you now know what it is that we really would like….