It’s an ego boost for a girl from the United States to buy bras in metric sizes--85D? really?--but that wasn’t the most satisfying aspect of this morning’s errands. I realized as I walked home that I had managed to drop off the laundry, get cash, buy thread, pick up roquefort empanadas, print out bus tickets and get new intimate apparel all in Spanish—halting, stumbling, checking-the-dictionary Spanish, to be sure, but without resorting to a word of English. But even that wasn’t the most satisfying part.
The best thing was that I didn’t have to stop and think once about where to go to do my mundane Saturday morning tasks. After a month in El Bolsón, we’ve found the cheap laundry service, located the sewing goods store, learned which stand at the three-times-a-week market has the best empanadas and tortas verduras--and which stand is second-best in case the first one is out. We’ve got our favorite bakery (Marcos, where even the plain grain crackers are hard to stop eating), our favorite waiter (the young guy at Zucchini with the fabulous smile, who started giving us a discount once it was clear we’d be regulars), and a whole pastry case at La Nona that we’ve barely begun to sample.
|The surprisingly good beet mayonnaise, which comes with pre-dinner bread around here.|
Naturally, it’s time to move on. We’ll get on the bus again Monday and head north to Mendoza. I’m definitely excited about it—my daughter and Rie’s son will meet us there, and between the vineyards and the live music and the high mountains and the salsa contests, we should have a blast.
But I’m realizing that this long-term travel thing is kind of like serial dating. You come into a new town all excited and a bit at sea, and getting to know it is both fun and a lot of work. You’re charmed by some aspects, dismayed by others, and maybe you feel a little bit disloyal to the last town because you can’t help but notice that this one has more dramatic scenery.
Then slowly you get comfortable. You learn your way around. You know what to expect and enjoy, what not to bother even looking for. There are secrets yet to be revealed, for sure, but just at the point you start feeling at home, you’re off again, abandoning the now-familiar relationship and starting fresh in the next town.
I know just how lucky we are to be taking this trip. But I’m realizing that at heart I’m a monogamous sort of person, even when it comes to travel. And though I’ll probably always be eager to see more of the world’s wonderful places, I can never move on without a pang.