21.12.2012 - 24.12.2012 26 °C
We made it. Even though we were on the bus for a longer period of time than the Santa Cruz-Salta journey, my feet don’t look as bad. Some swelling, yes; but, overall, it’s all good in the hood.
One thing about the semi cama overnight buses – in all countries we’ve been to so far: The seats recline at different angles. Invariably, the person in front of you will have a seat that reclines further than any other seat on the bus. Also, book seats downstairs. Occasionally, companies advertise these seats at the same rate as the second floor, but they’re actually cama. They are nicer/bigger/posher seats, and there’s less than half the amount of people. You reduce your likelihood of being seated next to a family with a new baby. And a granddad that snores. Loudly.
Because we’re cheap and stubborn, we decided to walk in an undetermined direction from the bus terminal to find our taxi (the queue was ridic). This was probably a bad choice. We both needed a wee (desperately.), and taxis were reading an invisible sign on our foreheads that said FOREIGN TERRORISTS, AVOID AT ALL COSTS.
We snagged one about 30 minutes after leaving the station. I think we caught him off guard. He was letting someone out of his taxi when I asked if he was free. No time to read that invisible sign, sucka.
Once showered and ready, we braved the city of Mendoza. It has lots of nice plazas; we got a map, bought groceries, and walked around a couple of these this afternoon. Woz bought a wallet – you’re going to love it. It’s got some really handsome pink cowboy patterns on.
Apart from that, we’ve been working on catching up this bad boy blog...and drinking more wine.
Warren wants you to know that Andes beer tastes like Snobs smells.
We spent over five hours finishing up the blog to this point today. I’m really sorry for the poor quality of the layout especially, but relieved it’s at least down on paper. So to speak.
Eventually, we escaped the confines of the hostel and this laptop to check out San Martin square. We walked past the San Francisco basilica where there were some children playing in water. I think they were collecting water from the church for their parents who were washing cars and car windows.
We like Mendoza.
The traffic is minimal, there’s wine for sale everywhere, it’s a relaxed atmosphere. There are so many plazas where locals are socialising, napping, and enjoying their friends’ + families’ company.
According to the LP, Mendoza saw a massive earthquake in 1861 which levelled most of the city. When they rebuilt, they made the blocks huge and streets and pavements wide. It doesn’t have a load of old architecture (I suppose that goes without saying), but it’s also managed to avoid huge concrete 60s constructions.
Next, we walked to the mercado central to buy a few groceries. Woz was keen to eat even more empanadas, so we searched around to find a cheap afternoon snack.
They sold ham and cheese empanadas throughout the market, so we tried this new variety.
Woz loved them even more than the others we had tried. I told him he’s going to love ham and cheese Hot Pockets when we get home.
On our way out the door, we looked into the display case of a carniceria. There were vocal chords from an unknown animal and the usual tripe was on offer. Glad we went for the empanadas.
Once back to our hostel we watched a few films off the hard drive and had scrambled eggs (posh ones with cheese and peppers) for tea.
Oh, and red wine.
There are lots of middle class Americans staying here at the hostel. As Mendoza is the International Wine Capital (according to their tourist information center), one can only presume that these guests are here for the wine.
Woz and I have heard them talking about bicycles and Maipu. This combination is solid evidence that they’re here for the wine. Maipu is a neighbouring area that is famous for its wineries. The cheapest way to explore the wineries is by renting a bicycle.
Anyway, any proper wine snob (Beck!) knows that red wine should be served at room temperature, not chilled.
Well, Warren and I (not proper wine snobs, clearly) prefer it cold. It goes really well with posh scrambled eggs.
Boxed wine is dirt cheap here – about US$2 for a litre.
We weren’t worried at all about our fellow travellers sneaking a sip of ours out of the fridge!
After our food and wine settled, we went for another walk (we’re not on vacation after all) and saw Plazas Italia and Espana.
There was some sort of dance practice/crap recital going on at Espana, but it is definitely the nicest plaza in Mendoza – in our humble opinions.
We returned to Plaza Independencia (the main plaza) to wait for the sun to come down and see the plaza at night with its lights. There’s an artisan market here (where Warren bought his pretty wallet yesterday) which we again walked around to see if anything took our fancy.
Not sure what we’ll do for tomorrow as we ticked off nearly everything the guide book mentioned today...
An important fact for today: Today is the last Sunday before Christmas.
Quite a religious lot down here south of the equator. We’ve not been able to get our laundry washed at the last two hostels as it’s too close to Christmas (running dangerously low on kegs now, eeek).
Things are often closed on Sundays anyway, but today...what were we thinking?!
Walked over 45 minutes (who’s counting) to the ruins of the San Francisco church only to find that it wasn’t just shut, but completely inaccessible.
Nee bother, the main purpose of our walk was to see the museo fundacional across the street.
We flagged a taxi to head for the pedestrianised street off Plaza Independencia for a coffee and OJ, sacramentos and medialunas. Medialunas are small croissants (half moon, get it?!), and sacramentos are similar but coated in sugar. They taste a bit like doughnuts. Ace.
After our break, we restocked our water supply to walk to yet another plaza. This one supposedly offers a fantastic antiques market on Sundays.
Well, the plazas are always open! We walked back to Plaza Espana to take photographs we weren’t able to take yesterday due to the dancers/recital thing.
We sat with our drink in the shade until there was a really unsettling act of stupidity and ignorance.
Two young teenage lads stoned a pigeon, pursued it, and stoned it again until it fell into a fountain. Then they chucked its dead/dying body around for entertainment. Occasionally they looked to us for a reaction.
A couple streets from the plaza we were nearly run over by a speeding car that came from nowhere. Woz actually ran across the road – something I don’t ever remember him doing before. The guy thought this was great; he gave us a nice smile as he turned down the road we were walking along.
We’ve been trying to keep cool in the hostel since we got back. We’ve cranked our ceiling fan up and have mostly stripped down to skivvies. We watched American Gangster on the hard drive, and made some “macaroni and cheese” for supper.
I reassured Warren it’d be a piece of piss to melt some cheese and use some butter and milk to make such a tasty sauce!
This did not happen.
The butter and milk were fine, but the cheese just melted and curdled. And there was no flour or anything to thicken up the sauce.
It ended up being pasta with watery cheese chunks - at least it was filling!
Despite all of the trauma of the day, we’re both in good spirits. I think we accomplished all we could for the day really. Mendoza has been nice; if we win the lottery, maybe we’ll come back to do a proper wine tour. I wonder if there’s a boxed wine tour?!
We’re packed up ready for early morning tomorrow. Santiago, here we coooooome!