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Where's Jonny? Care to dine with me? You would think that 11 years of daily food tasting for a living might put me off?......au contraire! Chomp away with me across 6 continents. Seduced like a bloodhound to the scent of good food, I anticipate the misty waft of steaming broths, the satisfying crunch of mudbugs and the vibrant aroma of freshly pulverised lemongrass. Buon appetito

Return from the moon

ARGENTINA | Saturday, 8 September 2007 | Views [1009]

perfectly round stones caused by a ¨phenominom¨ - or said our Spanish speaking guide

perfectly round stones caused by a ¨phenominom¨ - or said our Spanish speaking guide

There were no lamps on the road and what seemed like a desert land devoid of all life suddenly awakened by nightfall. We were alone.

A meteor storm of moths bombarded the windscreen as I drove, their white wings illuminated by the headlights. Things scuttled across the road in all directions as bats fluttered rapidly towards us, then arched away at the last minute.

There were eyes too. Watching, waiting in the darkness. It was like a cartoon sketch where the lights are turned off and only eyeballs appear amongst the pitch black - what were these creatures of the night?

Juddery and lightheaded I slowed for fear of hitting something. We began bouncing over bumps, but instead of enjoying the ride like we had done in the daylight, it intensified our anxieties. What might lie ahead? Does the road turn sharply here? I cannot see.

At the last minute I saw a line of wild horse’s trot across the road ahead and braked sharply. It was too close. Maria's eyes were beginning to glow like the ones around us and she was badly dehydrated.

The sides of the road were now indistinguishable from the mountains or even the sky. The stars were intense, but we had no time to admire their flickering beauty.

We came off the road on occasion as there were no markings and the tarmac gave way to gravel at the sides.

Maria was saying nothing. She appeared to be saving all her energy focussing on the road and getting home.

Without warning, something large ran out in front of us. Braking to an emergency stop, its body became apparent for only a few seconds. Catching a glimpse of its rear and tail Maria became neurotic.

¨A LION, a LION,¨  she shouted, as its form melted into the undergrowth.

I was not convinced, but accelerated away nonetheless.

We reached a remote police checkpoint some hours later. It was well into the night and we expected to drive straight through. No Amigo.

An authoritative figure in a green uniform appeared ahead, his arm was raised high in the air. Slowing to a halt he spoke in Spanish and gesticulated that I get out of the car. I did so without hesitation.

Summoning me to open the boot, the pistol brandishing paratrooper seemed in no mood for games.

¨Fruta? Fruta?¨he demanded.

¨Errrrrr como¨

¨Fruta? Fruta?¨ What the hell did he want from me?

Guessing he was after fruit, I opened the back door and grabbed the only food we had for the 8-hour journey home - two apples.

Handing them to him it seemed to do the trick. His face looked happier and he immediately confiscated them and charged me 1.50 pesos for the privilege.

I was happy to be alive and he appeared happy with his healthy snack. Poor bloke, I thought. He´s been out here alone for goodness knows how long and all he has to eat is beef, beef and more beef. He was clearly craving fruit like a lunatic.

We continued on without a map and directions for many more miles and hours.

There were more police, fruit patrols and dangerous animals.

We arrived back in Medoza from a day of extraordinary interplanetary exploration. We had survived a trip to the moon, or so it would seem.

Maybe this was the place the Americans used for the fake moon landings in 1969? Come to think of it, there was a Stars and Stripes flag there.

Tags: Adventures

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