Cama. This describes my first real long distance bus ride in South America, from Buenos Aires to Mendoza. Don’t mind if I do. At $66 for 14 hours on a double decker overnight, with this type of coach, you get a hot/cold dinner with a glass of wine (personally, I think it was jug Carlos Rossi, I took the white and certainly DID look back on that choice) and a breakfast, with leather seats that recline about 120 degrees. Needless to say, it did make 14 hours seem like about 4 or 5. Of course, I did sleep most of the time.
The top floor of the bus:
Food on the Bus, with a glass of wine!:
So I arrived at the Mendoza bus terminal at like 9am. I didn’t actually have too much trouble finding/walking my way to my couchsurfing host’s apartment. I’ve gotten in the habit of picking up a free map at bus terminals and asking directions to where I need to go, instead of stumbling around without any advice. My Spanish has improved enough also to make this easier to do.
Mendoza is situated in a flat valley at the foot of the Aconcagua Mountains (part of the Andes), the tallest in the western hempisphere, that border Chile. If you don’t drink wine, I suppose you would not have heard about Mendoza, but it is probably one of the most famous places in the world for producing wine. If you have a bottle from Argentina, there is a good chance it was made here. The area is also really famous as a base for trekkers trying to scale Aconcagua.
Mendoza seems to be a fairly old city, though I can’t really tell and couldn’t give you the stats. It has about 300,000 people. They have holes & canals everywhere in the sidewalks for fresh mountain water runoff. I am sure that hundreds of tourists fall into these every year, some of them are a few feet deep, and if you aren’t paying attention to where you walk, youll probably break your leg.
Every year here people come at this time for the Fiesta de Vendimia, or wine festival. There are parades, music, and general festivities. It celebrates they yearly wine crop. It’s certainly nothing crazy, though.
Nice Canals that make make for good holes to fall into:
Pizza Cono! (Pizza in a cone).
In other news, I am going camping Saturday & Sunday with my host, her roommate, and maybe some of their friends. This trip just keeps getting better. Should be an interesting experience. It is about an hour and a half south of Mendoza, in the foot of the mountains. I told them I’d make smores, I described it to them in Spanish and they hadn’t heard of them, woohoo for random cultural exchange, hahaha……
I booked a ticket to Santiago for Tuesday, SEMI-cama. I was able to get the front seat on the top level, which is supposed to have fantastic views through the mountains. However, I may change the date closer to March 15th depending upon the status of the easter island flight.
Finally, Marian, my host, has a lot of studying to do, so she said I need to be out Sunday night. I’ve only stayed in hostels a paltry 3 nights out of almost 4 weeks, quite an accomplishment I must say. So I found a hostel a few blocks away for Sunday & Monday. The hostel also organizes tours of the bodegas (wineries), so I am going to do that on Monday. They give you a guide, take you to two wineries for an hour each, and also take you to a place that makes olive oil. It looks like I won’t have time to visit Uspallata, and the surrounding area, but maybe I can come back. This is where the Brad Pitt flick Seven Years in Tibet was shot. Miraculously, I remember this movie very well and the scenery was incredible. Maybe I can come back after Easter Island.
As a side note, I have a second blog I have been doing about staying with Rotary & Rotaract people. Its been getting hits from less people but more countries, but I’ve been enjoying writing this blog more and can be more creative and frank in my writing. I think I’ll be merging the two and just update this one. Rotaryaroundtheworld will float in cyberspace for a year and continue to get search engine hits because of the name.
Ciudad de Mendoza:
Dinner with couchsurfing hosts Marian and roomate David: