Vive le dépaysement

I’m not particularly a fan of touristic packages. But sometimes you have no choice. And sometimes, they’re just too tempting. My hotel was offering one called “Horse riding at sunset with asado.” And who says “asado” also says “vino”. I’m just a human being, like all of you. I couldn’t resist it.

It was a one hour bus ride to the quite isolated farm organizing the activity. Nothing but arid plains and dry bushes all round. A few hills on the horizon. I was with a group of foreigners but, other than that, the “dépaysement” was complete. I once read that there’s no translation for this French word. Just as the Spanish “sobremesa” or the German “Waldeinsamkeit” do not have a translation in other languages. “Dépaysement” just describes the feeling that comes from not being in one’s home country. What you see and experience is very different from everything you are used to.

We were welcomed by a guy with a hat named Javier. Very authentic. Very “couleur locale” – another expression I can’t translate. And a lady named Caroline from Namur, Belgium.

So far for the “dépaysement”.

Javier, his hat and his horse.
Javier, his hat and his horse.

We were asked if we had ever been riding a horse before. I had. 21 years ago. But I assumed it would be like biking. Once you’ve learned, you never really forget. In any case, I must have looked like an experienced rider because I got paired with a big horse named Kung-Fu.

Pretend you feel at ease with the situation. Pretend you know how to handle a rebellious horse. Everything under control.

The ride was spectacular. Through the bushes. Up hill. Down hill. Impressive view of Mendoza in the setting sun. But when I took my leave from Kung-Fu after two hours, what I felt in my legs made me wonder if human beings are really supposed to ride horses.

Taking a nice picture while riding Kung-Fu.
Taking a nice picture while taming Kung-Fu.

The day finished beautifully with an open fire outside the farm, meat as you only find in Argentina… and the unmissable local beverage.

Not a bad sunset.
Not a bad sunset.
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