That Time I Left All My Shoes In Mendoza

If Andrew Lloyd-Webber ever does a musical about my travels in South America, the title song will be called I Left All My Shoes in Mendoza. He’s already halfway there because, just like Elton John rejigged Candle in the Wind for Diana, this conveniently fits with the melody of Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.

Evita: Ileft all my shoes in Mendoza

But that will never happen. There may come a time when A Nerd at Large: The Geektastic Musical brings my zany antics to the stage (cuz they totally make obscure blogs into musicals all the time), but sorry Sir Andrew, you get on my nerves.

So yeah, I did indeed leave all of my shoes in Mendoza. The wine-crazy city of Mendoza, Argentina was our next stop after the unfortunate events in Iguacu. It’s not that far between those two places, but at the last minute the airline insisted that instead of a direct flight, we needed to fly to Buenos Aires and have a three-hour layover there, and meant that travel dominated what would otherwise have been a day for sightseeing.

Our one full day in Mendoza was packed to the gills with winery tours and tastings, which I will tell you about separately because it was one of my 1,000 Things. After we returned from dinner I came back to my hotel room and set to work on the computer. It was novel to be able to work in the room and not have to slink down to the lobby to work while Roseitta slept. I was wired from all the emotions of the preceding days and, as often happens, I got carried away and stayed up very, very late.

Alright, so I was late in Rio. Blame the caipirihnas

In Rio, Roseitta and I got a withering look from the tour director for arriving at the tour bus 90 seconds late one morning so from then on I was super conscious of being precisely on time for things, and I’m obsessively punctual to begin with. The morning we left Mendoza we were to set our bags out for collection by 0730, and I was a bit under the gun after having stayed up late and left the packing until morning.

I frantically jammed things into my duffel bag and made a sweep of the room to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. I awkwardly dragged it out into the hall just at the last minute, as I swore I could hear the porters on their way. While I was trying to straighten it out so that my bag didn’t occupy the entire corridor, the door shut itself behind me. I had no key card. I was locked out. In bare feet.

After suffering the humiliation of having to call down to the front desk and own up to locking myself out of the room, I sat there waiting and my neurotic side started to wonder if there were any shoes left inside the room for me to put on. What if I’d packed them all and they were locked away with our luggage? My mind got all swirly and fish custardy while I contemplated the ramifications until a smirking bellhop came and let me back into my room.

I was relieved to find my beloved purple Converse hi-tops waiting for me, and I had just enough time to put them on, and zing down to breakfast and scarf something before being on time for the tour bus, albeit covered in crumbs.

I left my shoes at a hotel in Mendoza

In Buenos Aires the next morning it dawned on me as I was dressing that something was missing from my bag. It didn’t feel as full as it once was, which was surprising given my non-optimal packing procedure the previous day. Then I felt around inside for my bag of shoes and realized they weren’t there. In an instantaneous flash of insight it hit me that I had left them all in the drawer inside the closet of my hotel room in Mendoza.

Mendoza wine glasses
This is how we roll at lunchtime in Mendoza

Shoes are the one thing I have difficulty packing lightly. I can rarely get away with fewer than four pair, not because I’m any kind of fashionista, but because different situations require different footwear. At a minimum a gal needs something dressy, something for the beach/pool/shower, a pair of running shoes for walking around and doing active stuff, and I’m sorry but I’m not going anywhere without at least one pair of chucks in tow.

I mentioned it to Marcela and she did what she could. I didn’t really expect to be reunited with my footwear, as I have a regrettable track record for losing things and have observed that once something is lost it hardly ever returns. But she had proven to be somewhat of a miracle worker so I let her do her best.

For the middle third of the South America trip the status of my shoes figured prominently in most of my conversations. Most interactions would start with “How are you?” immediately followed by “What’s happening with your shoes?” or “Any news on your shoes?” to the point where it became akin to the usual pleasantries about the weather. Outsiders observing our group could be forgiven for concluding that asking after someone’s shoes is a customary greeting among Canadians.

It took days and days to find out one way or another whether I could get them back. No one could get through to the DHL office to find out how much it would cost and whether it could be sent to any of our upcoming destinations. In the end I think they just pulled a number out of the air. It was going to cost $200 to get my shoes back and by then the trip was nearly over. Forget it. By then I was sick of talking about my damn shoes, and I hadn’t paid that much for the lot of them combined!

It’s been six months now and I haven’t replaced the three pairs of shoes I lost. I’d like to think that my favourite dress shoes have a new life tangoing away in Argentina. I do miss them, but I can’t bring myself to go shopping. Perhaps this was the universe telling me to wear chucks all the time. Or that I’m an idiot.

chucks santiago converse hi-tops
Chucks forever!

Image credit: Original opera singer image by FaceMePLS


  1. I think when I moved here I bought 4 pairs of shoes too, I had it down to 3, but had some extra space, so decided to bring an extra pair (which I’m thankful for now!). Normally it would be between 1 and 3 depending on what kind of travel I’m doing.

    1. I bet you are! Extra shoes are very handy and worth packing if you’re not moving around a lot. These days size and weight definitely factor into my shoe purchasing decisions.

  2. My last trip round the world was just two pairs. One reasonably presentable for flying – and getting into lounges – and one pair for actual walking. Shoes take up a lot of bulk in the bag that could be better used for the other junk I tote with me. Books and Tim Tams and about a bazillion cables.

    And hankies. Like Bilbo Baggins, you need to be prepared for the cold that will inevitably strike.

    1. I respectfully submit that guys have it waaaaay easier. You could probably even get by with one pair in a pinch of they were both smart and comfortable. I am very envious of the simplicity of mens wardrobes. I would love to have more room for books and TimTams! Good point about the hankies. I’m part hobbit and I always get a cold sooner or later when I’m travelling.

  3. Haha aww Steph that sucks! I would be bawling and having some sort of hissy fit (which Kieran can attest to, its happened before!) I totally feel your pain, its awful to lose things even if they didn’t cost too much.

    1. Hahaha, thanks Karin! It was just one many crazy mishaps during the trip (for example, not long after the shoes issue was finally resolved I lost my glasses and my passport got locked inside a malfunctioning safe.)

      I was annoyed with myself, but I think I would have been much more upset if I had left my chucks behind. Still, I really miss the dress shoes I had. They were small, comfortable, and versatile which made them perfect for travel. It also burned me that I’d just bought the beach shoes a week earlier. I wish I’d known in Buenos Aires that I wasn’t going to get them back, since it’s a good place for shoe shopping. Que sera sera.

    1. LOL, you are too kind! I tend to think of my life as Bridget-Jonesian, but being compared to Seinfeld is a huge compliment 😉

    1. Hmmm, that’s all well and good for Argentina’s net shoe inventory, but it’s cold comfort to me. I’d ask if you could spare a pair, but I don’t think we have the same size feet. 😛

    1. Whoa! That is an uncanny coincidence! Or is it? I think we need to put Mulder and Scully on the case to investigate the possible existence of some kind of paranormal phenomenon that gives people the impulse to abandon their shoes in Mendoza, Argentina. We could be on to something here.

    1. Thanks Nicole! Yes, it has indeed put a rather large dent in my wardrobe. I’m left with four pairs of chucks, a pair of Doc Martens, a pair of high heel boots, an old pair of stodgy grandma dress shoes, and a pair of freebie Expedia flip-flops. So you might not see me out clubbing anytime soon. 😉

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