Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Viernes el 28 de octubre – día 103 – continuado

I took the bus to Retiro, however, for some reason the bus decided to end its route 3 blocks from the actual terminal, and I thought I was going to get mugged walking there, but luckily I made it alive and unharmed.  Ludi and I met at el terminal de omnibus en Retiro to await our bus to Mendoza.  We bought some overpriced sandwiches since we decided to save money and get a semi-cama bus rather than a cama bus, therefore they wouldn’t be serving us dinner.  The bus showed up 35 minutes late (gotta love ArgenTIME), but while we were waiting we met two Australian guys named James who were also going to Mendoza.

When our bus finally arrived we boarded and discovered we were right next to the bathroom, which wasn’t exactly a pleasant smell, but it definitely could have been a lot worse.  After chatting for a little, Ludi and I both went to sleep.

Sabado el 29 de octubre
Saturday we woke up and had breakfast, which consisted of 2 medialunas and cafe con leche, at a rest-stop type area.  We got back on the bus and ended up in Mendoza (late, obviously).  There was a strike going on so the bus dropped us off about a block from the terminal.  We split a cab with the Australians and headed off to our hostel.
Upon arrival at the hostel Ludi and I discovered the hostel didn’t have our reservation, and that they didn’t know if they had a room for us because there was a holiday in Chile and all four of the connected hostels were booked.  After an hour and a half wait we finally got confirmation that we could stay there, all be it in different rooms.
After showering we headed off to get some lunch.  We ended up eating at a place called café los 80s.  We split some wine, I got a salad, and Ludi got spaghetti.  The meal was good, then we set off in search of a tourist information center.

Since it was the time of the siesta we only found a few open places, but we took a ton of tourist pamphlets and then went back to the hostel to meet up with Brooke.

The three of us went to a big park to look around and hang out with some of Brooke’s friends from the program.

Brooke walked Ludi and I back to the hostel and we got ready for dinner.  Ludi and I decided we would eat at the dinner our hostel was offering.  Since it was almost Halloween, and it was a Chilean holiday weekend, the four hostels connected with the hostel we were staying at was having a Halloween party.  It cost $60 pesos ($15) for an asado (BBQ) along with “free” tequila.  When I got back to my room I met the 7 Chilean girls I was sharing the room with.  They were all getting ready to go out on the town, and were quite dressed up.  One of the girls had an issue, as you could clearly see her black underwear through her light coral dress, but solved the problem when one of the other girls told her she just had to match it by wearing black boots… I did not know that was an acceptable solution to that problem.

At around 21:30 we headed off in a van with a bunch of other people from our hostel to the party.  When we got there the entire place was decorated for Halloween.  We went up to the second floor to get a table and started chowing down on bread, salad, and potato salad.  After a little while a man dressed as a skeleton brought around huge platters of a wide variety of freshly cooked meats.  Everything was VERY delicious!
During dinner we talked a lot and shared a few bottles of Quilmes with one of Ludi’s roommates (an Irishman named Kevin) and two Americans, as well as some Germans, some French people, and some Dutch girls at the end of the table.

After dinner we decided to play a few rounds of flip-cup, which Team America dominated in (most of the Europeans had never heard of the game, and we weren’t using solo-cups so it was actually pretty challenging).

Some of the hostel workers then announced it was time for tequila.  They set out salt shakers and large bowls of lemons, and then proceeded to pour “tequila” down the throats of those who wanted it.  I say “tequila” because it didn’t taste like straight tequila, it tasted like it was cut with some sort of orange liquor, most likely to make it go farther, and because most people were too drunk to notice a difference.

At one point in the night the Chileans started chanting (chi, chi, chi, le, le, le, viva chile), the hostel workers started spraying foam everywhere, and a dance party broke out.  A few of us decided to take a break from the craziness and play kings, which was also a new game for many of the Europeans.  Side story, for “categories” Kevin decided on “famous Irishmen” and started with “Bono.”  Then the category ended because we couldn’t think of anyone else (I said Jameson, but couldn’t think of his first name so Kevin said it didn’t count).

When the game fell apart we went back to the dance floor for a little before we decided to head out and meet up with the Australians.  Ludi and I split a cab with Kevin and went to a club right across the street from our hostel called Por acá.  Kevin decided to call it quits early (around 2:30).  Luckily girls didn’t have to pay a cover, so Ludi and I went in to find the Australians.  

The place was really crowded but we found the boys and their friends who are studying in Cordoba.  There were also a fair number of Argentine’s there who we talked to as well.  We found out that all of the Australians would be in Buenos Aires for a music festival in a few weeks and made plans to meet up with all of them there.  At around 4:30 Ludi and I decided we needed to go home and try to get at least a few hours of sleep.

Domingo el 30 de octubre
I went to bed at about 4:45, only to be woken up by half of the Chilean girls coming in at around 7:30.  They brought some guy from a different hostel room with them, and he passed out in an empty bed and proceeded to snore obnoxiously for the next half an hour, at which point I gave up on sleeping and got up (35 minutes sooner than necessary).

I got dressed and packed up my things then headed downstairs for breakfast.  There were hostel workers passed out on the couches, half-awake people waiting for a bus to their excursions, and random other remainders of the party from the previous night.

I had some coffee (there was no way I was making it through the day without caffeine), a medialuna, and some bread with dulce de leche.

Ludi met me at 9:00, had some breakfast, then we headed out for out days adventures.

She realized that she left her sweatshirt at the hostel party the night before so we tried to find the hostel with no luck.  After giving up on that we tried to find the bus stop to take us to Maipu for the bicycle tour of the wineries.  This was also futile, and we ended up taking a taxi to the bus terminal. 

We got on a bus (that stole $0.20 from me) only to discover it went to Maipu, but not the area we needed, so we went to an ice cream shop and had them call us a taxi (I had an alfajor helado (an alfajor made with icecream) and Ludi had some medialunas while we waited.  The driver took us to the bike shop, which was closed, even though the company’s pamphlet said it was open 7 days a week.  Luckily there was an open shop down the street.  After we paid the taxi driver (who we’re fairly certain ripped us off) we got out and went to the open bike shop.

The bike shop informed us that only 2 wineries and olive oil farm were open since it was Sunday, so we took our bikes ($30 pesos each - $7.50) and headed out.  The first winery we stopped at told us to come back in 2 hours for the tour.  We made it halfway to the second winery (7 km) away, but I started having trouble breathing and felt like I might have an asthma attack (I don’t really know what an asthma attack feels like since I don’t have asthma, but my chest was tight and I felt like my lungs were on fire – thanks a lot pneumonia), so we headed back to the other winery.  We got there about 15 minutes before the tour and talked with some Israeli kids who were also there for the tour.

It was a really beautiful place!   At 14:00 we started our tour with a short video on the winery, and then got a tour of the old processing area (which was considered very modern in its hay day), then saw the storage tanks and the barrel room.  To end the tour we got to sit on a veranda with a gorgeous view of some olive gardens and then had a tasting of 3 wines (2 reds, and a very sweet, white, dessert wine).

After our winery tour (which only cost $30 pesos - $7.50) we set off on bike with the Israelis to the olive oil farm, only to find it closed (recurring theme for the weekend…), so we made our way bake to the bike shop.

Ludi and I took the bus back to Mendoza (which again stole $0.20 from me because apparently the buses in Mendoza don’t give change).  We took a taxi from the bus terminal to the hostel, Ludi found out they didn’t have a room for her that night (luckily she could stay with Brooke), then we set off to get some dinner.
We stopped at a restaurant/bar but the waitress decided to ignore us, then when we asked for menus she ignored us again, even looking away when we tried to get her attention.  We decided it wasn’t worth the hassle or time to deal with her so we left and went to Subway instead (which was actually really good, I miss legitimate sandwiches with lots of vegetables).  After we ate I walked Ludi to Brooke’s house and then took a taxi to the bus terminal.

I was about 45 minutes early, but I just sat and read for my linguistics class – luckily the bus got there on time (actually, a little early).  I sat next to a girl from the US who is a peace corps volunteer and Paraguay and is visiting Argentina with 2 of her friends from the US.  I talked to her for a little, which was really interesting, then Night at the Museum started.  I was enjoying the movie, but was also exhausted from only having 2 hours of sleep the previous night, and fell asleep before it was even halfway through.

I had the best night’s sleep I’ve ever gotten on a bus, only waking up a few times.

Lunes el 31 de octubre
This morning I woke up at around 7:30 to see that the bus was just sitting on the side of the road not moving. This may have caused some people alarm, but I was still exhausted and fell back asleep.  When I woke up around 9:00 we were moving again, but stopped at a rest stop for breakfast shortly after.  We had some delicious pastries (a medialuna and some other pastry I’ve never had before, but was delicious) and café con leche.

We got back on the bus and I overheard a woman on the phone saying that we would be late because there was an accident earlier in the morning (which explains why we weren’t moving when I woke up).
I did some more reading, and we arrived back in Retiro at around 12:45 (2 hours late).

I took a bus from Retiro and made my way home.  I stopped for lunch at a restaurant near my house and had a delicious salad with chicken, mushrooms, and dried tomatoes, with an amazing fresh juice (acai berries, strawberries, orange, and granola – strange I know).

I got home and showered, then took my clothes to the lavadero (which I wanted to do last Thursday but they decided not be open at 9:20, even though they’re supposed to open at 9:00), and then stopped at the grocery store to get things for my lunch this week.

When I got home I did some reading then went to yoga, which was, thankfully, easier for me this week and I didn’t die of a coughing fit during the class.

I came home and had a really good dinner (chicken milanesa and salad) with Clarisa.  After dessert (dulce de membrillo) I showered and skyped with Kevin, and now I’m off to bed!
Un beso,

Random Photo:
Photo in the hostel bathroom

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