Santiago to Mendoza (Day 1) - Valle del Maipo
Leaving St Jago in the morning we rode over the great burnt up plain till we arrived at the mouth of the valley of the Maypo. This is one of the principal rivers in Chili; the valley is bounded by the high mountains of the first Cordilleras; it is not broad, but very fertile. The numerous cottages are surrounded with Grapes, Apples, Nectarines & Peaches; the boughs of the latter were bending & breaking with the weight of the beautiful ripe fruit. In the evening we passed the Custom house, where our boxes were examined. The frontier of Chili is better guarded by the Cordilleras than by so much sea; the mountains on each side of the few narrow valleys where there are Custom-houses, are far too steep & high for any beast of burden to pass over. — The officers were very civil, partly owing to my carrying a strong passport from the President of Chili. But I must express my admiration of the politeness of every Chileno. In this instance the contrast is strong with the same class of officers in England. — I may mention an anecdote which at the time struck me: we met in Mendoza a very little, fat, poor Negress, with so enormous a goitre, that ones eyes almost involuntarily were fixed with surprise; but I noticed my two companions after looking for a short time took off their hats as an apology. Where would one of the lower classes in Europe show such feeling politeness to a poor & miserable object of a degraded race? — We slept at a cottage; our manner of travelling is delightfully independent; in the inhabited parts, we hire pasture for the animals, buy a little firewood, & bivouac in the corner of the field; carrying our cooking apparatus, we eat our supper under the cloudless sky & know no troubles.
Mapping: Revista de la Asociación Geológica Argentina