Monday, November 15, 2010

Road Trip Part Uno - Beware the Parking Brake

One of the highlights of GT so far were the 6 days we spent driving around northwest Argentina, a road trip that will be covered in a three-part series:

Part Uno - Beware the Parking Break
Part Dos - South Siiiiiide
Part Tres - The Northern Circuit (aka, the Nikon Death March)

Here you can find a map showing our route - each day is a different color.

View Northwest Argentina Road Trip! in a larger map

Part Uno - Beware the Parking Brake

We spent a few hours in Salta shopping around for the best deal on a week-long rental car, and ended up working with a woman named Laura at a small mom and pop rental shop, Anta Rent a Car.  Laura was super nice and helpful and provided us with our very own 2010 Volkswagon Gol.  Our whip was sporty (sort of) white (it was a rental car, after all), two-doored (cheapest option)... and had a manual transmission.

He was never this clean again.
About a week before our GT departure Dave headed to Brooklyn for an hour-long lesson in driving stick.  He told me he felt pretty good about it.  The night before we were due to set off on the road trip, I found him deeply engrossed in something on the computer, clicking furiously, mumbling to himself, and beginning to sweat profusely.  This clearly was not his normal internetting routine (which consists largely of boring lexis nexis legal articles, economics blogs and the like), so I asked him what he was doing.  "Reading manuals on how to drive a stick shift."  Just the sort of inspiring talk you hope to hear from your soon-to-be chauffeur.  He was up very late.

Anyway, after reading and completing various forms in Spanish (and handing over our credit card) it was with great trepidation that Dave sat down in the Gol driver's seat and prepared to pull the car out of the parking garage and into the insane Salta traffic.  It did not help that Laura was standing by the garage door waiting to wave us goodbye.

Dave getting into gear
(Note, this photo was not actually taken in the parking garage. 
That would have created an unbearable level of stress).

Dave put the car in gear and I buckled my seatbelt extremely tightly and noticed that there were no passenger side airbags in the car.  "Please don't stall, please don't stall," Dave was repeating under his breath, like a mantra.  And lo and behold, he jerked us into first gear and we began to make our way across the parking garage to where Laura was standing, as a horrible grinding noise filled the air.  Laura knocked on the window and I rolled it down.  He had left the parking brake on.

Finally on the road!


  1. I'm very excited for Part dos - "South Siiiiiide"

  2. At least you didn't have to drive on the other (British) side of the car!

  3. Josh - that's our next challenge, when we get to south Africa!

    Mags - duh, totally named it in your honor


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