Eric and I have been busy enjoying Malbec, Mendoza's most popular and well known wine. This has resulted in delayed posts. So, we'll fill you in now.
Eric is covered in bites, head to toe - literally! It seems that no matter what we do or where we sleep, he ends up with more bites. I've been pretty lucky, just a few here and there, and Eric has been such a good sport about it. Yesterday he even said, "I'm turning into a bug!" Not quite, but sometimes it seems like that!
On Tuesday we wrapped up our time in Colonia del Sacramento by eating breakfast by the water, playing giant chess again (Eric won, again), then took a ferry ride back to Buenos Aires before jumping on a night bus to Mendoza. We were pleasantly surprised to realize that not only were the “cama” seats incredibly comfortable, but we got to play international bingo (Eric almost won!) and meals were included! We both decided that THIS was the way to travel.... not the night buses I'm used to!
We arrived in Mendoza at about 9am and easily found our hostel. We were standing at the front door, ringing the buzzer, when a girl approached us and said, “Eric?” Greeted by name? Now that is service! We were showed to our room (same as the one we booked, but with a bathroom en suite at no extra cost because the other room is being “disinfected”... hmmmm). We figure that if you're greeted by name, chances are pretty good that not many others are checking in and you may have the room to yourself!
Shortly after we found our hostel, we set out to explore the city. Mendoza is an artificial oasis in the middle of the desert, according to our book. Water is transported throughout the city in elaborate roadside canals, which reportedly are celebrated by the locals. Hmmmmm, is that what all the trash in them is about? They say that Mendoza is one of the most beautiful cities in Argentina. We don't really agree, but are enjoying the city all the same! Its a lot smaller than Buenos Aires, a lot dirtier than Colonia del Sacramento and a lot more fun than Redwood City (sorry, Rdub locals)! We decided to head to Parque Central while seeing what the city had to offer, and found ourselves in the midst of the projects, before finally arriving at our park (not worth the trip, but Eric made the best out of it). This was a lot further away then we initially expected and we were both starving by the time we finally found a restaurant that we both agreed on. I chowed down on spaghetti (not so Argentinean) and Eric tried lomo. We weren't exactly sure, but after he ate it I asked the waitress, and she confirmed that he had just eaten llama! Way to go, Eric! I had a little taste myself, and we both agreed it was delicious.
Later that night we bought a couple beers and some wine at the local store and sat around the common area of the hostel chatting with some of the employees and other travelers. This was quite the experience, and was about the time that Eric and I decided that there was a pretty good chance that our hostel also doubled as a drug house (again, sorry mom). “G” (his name will not be included do respect his anonymity – or because we can't remember it) spent a long time chatting to us about his life in the streets, his lucrative drug selling side job and how to say the best swear words in at least 10 languages. Of the three employees that run Carahue, they all seem to be about twenty two and none of them actually seem to do any work. They have guests that come over, give them some money and then leave shortly after. Meanwhile, there is always a slight scent of weed in the air and and people running around with excess energy.
We had a typical (LATE) dinner at about 10 and got caught in a completely unexpected thunderstorm. Especially because we were under the impression that it only rained five days a year in Mendoza. One minute we were sitting outside feeling a couple light drops, and the next we were huddled under an overhang while the city filled up with water – literally. We waited it out for a couple minutes before deciding to just suck it up and get a little wet. The rain didn't let up, nor did the thunder and lightening. We ended up home about fifteen minutes later, excited, wet and minus one flip flop. I've never seem anything like that before in my life!
Today we decided to hike up to a “nearby” hill to see panoramic views of the city. The walk to the park was a couple miles, once in the park we walked a couple more miles before reached the hill and then headed up the steep incline. The view was beautiful, but Eric and I were mostly focused on the group of about twenty people who were running it! We decided to take the long way home, something I was starting to regret as we entered hour number five of hiking. Now its after lunch and we're relaxing in our room, trying to decide what should be the plan for dinner. We'll probably skip the wine tonight, because tomorrow we tour the vineyards on bikes!