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My Bags Are Packed, Ready to Go… South America

As I approach this week, I am reminded about the incredible adventures I’ve been on these past 5 years; along with the advice from family and friends.

One piece of advice was to… “Never say no to an invitation”.  That has served me well.

In 2010, I took my first international adventure to South America with Loyola Marymount University’s Executive MBA students.  My very good friend Shelley is the Program Coordinator, and I was able to be her guest.

After refueling in Lima, Peru, we were on our final leg into Santiago, Chile, when our flight was abruptly changed 30 minutes before our scheduled landing; due to a massive 8.8 earthquake that rattled the central coast killing over 200 people.

Clearly a troubling way to start our trip in South America.  But we were able to have an enjoyable time in Lima and then on to Buenos Aires.

I took a ton of pictures.  Here are a few of my favorite ones:

This is the dome of the Gran Hotel Bolivar in downtown Lima.

We had the pleasure of watching a beautiful Peruvian Paso Horse Exhibition followed by a wonderful lunch, with the best Olive Oil I have ever tasted.

They are famous for their four-beat, lateral gait called the paso llano.

In Buenos Aires we visited the enormous cemetery where Eva Peron is laid to rest. She was only 30 years old.

The highlight of the trip for me was going to Mendoza, Argentina. We hired a driver and went up into the Andes mountains where we saw Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America at 22,837 feet above sea level, located in the world’s largest mountain range.  I think we are about 11,000 feet where this picture was taken. It was a little hard to breath. Maybe that’s the true meaning of breathtaking!

But by the far the most interesting thing we saw was the site of the Puente Del Inca, near 8,900 feet above sea level. The Inca Road connected Mendoza with Santiago and Valparaiso, Chile. In 1925 a luxury hotel was constructed, Puente Del Inca, with thermal baths built to take advantage of the healing power of the thermal waters.

Unfortunately in 1965 there was a landside that totally destroyed the hotel. But the sulfuric water remains, leaving amazing sediments.  It’s really beautiful and a little strange all at the same time.

You can still see the bridge with the water below.

But it was the shoes that caught my attention.

Next stop, Europe 2011… But before I go…can anyone identify this bird???

Remember we are up high in the Andes mountain range in Mendoza.