29.12.2006 - 05.01.2007 38 °C
Mendoza is a lovely city of wide tree lined streets, many plaza´s, night craft markets, friendly Argentians and many restaurants and cafes.
Main Plaza de Armas
Usual spot for a quick 1 pound cocktail before dinner!
Travellers come to Mendoza to experience the wines of the region and the many activities it has to offer from horse riding to rafting.
Rob and I tend not to plan much of our travelling details and take every day as it comes so when arriving in Argentina we were lucky to find accommodation. The trusty lonely planet guide book, or not so as we have discovered, stressed that Jan and Feb were the most busy time and everything is booked up quickly. This was correct but we ignored the advice and continued on anyway.
We came to Mendoza for a bit of activity and night life. It was New Years eve and we had not yet found a decent bar to spend it in. We checked out the 5 star Hyatt Hotel in true backpacker style! Asked the price and the important dress code and walked out tempting by the offer but realisation set in that we didn’t have any clean clothes let alone a dress or suit!
New Years eve turned out fantastic. We had a 3 course meal at one of the nice restaurants. The offer included free wine and champagne so we took full advantage – 3 bottles of champagne later and we were well into the new year spirits.
Em realised that drinking straight from the bottle was far quicker!
The fire works in the street began and Rob and I headed outside to see the new year in. I attempted to sing "Auld Lang Syne" and dance around Rob in excitement however failed miserably with a comment from a US dude saying ´keep trying!´.
New tshirt for christmas. Looking good.
Back inside to finish off our meal and of course more champagne. On the table next to us I noticed that two old Italian dudes had clearly hired two young ladies for the night. Unfortunately one of them decided to take an interest in my feet! In my drunken state I was comfortably sat with my legs on the couch. While I popped off to the toilet Rob got talking to the guy. No problem as he seemed nice enough…………..until Rob went to the loo and left me alone. I heard a voice say “I noticed you feet and how sitting there seductively!!”, I burst into laughter and immediately checked out my feet to see if they were dirty!! “I said “why are they dirty?”. Rob returns and he says to Rob “Your girlfriends feet are gorgeous, I hope you suck them!!!” Arrrrrrrrrrgh, thankgod we were both so drunk and just laughed. We continued to talk to this guy, received an offer to use his soft top in Italy to drive along the coast and an invitation to dinner the next night. Hmmm I don’t think so. The two hired girls at this point were not best amused. Oh well.
During our long stay in Mendoza we took part in a couple of hours of rafting. We have both never done rafting before so we were very excited. A mini bus picked us up and we headed for Mendoza River. The water is so muddy and that day the water level was high due to the volume of water coming of the mountains. We passed by some amazing rapids but were told that these were too huge (grade 4-5) and we would not be riding these. :-(
We arrived at the camp where we prepared for the rafting. Full thick wetsuit and booties, a windproof jacket, life jacket and helmet. We were about to get very wet and muddy. Back onto the bus with the group to go further up stream. We were told the rules of rafting and signals that would help us ride the rapids safety. A lot of time was spent on what to do if someone falls out and how to rescue them!!!! Great, as Rob would put it "my bum was twitching!!".
We hopped onto the boat, took our positions at the back (yes I was too scared to go at the front!) and held on while we started to float down the river.
Front paddle............Back Paddle.............Stop.........Front paddle!!
About 40 minutes later we were told that we had finished. Our adrenalin had just started and that was it :-( What fun.
We will miss Argentina when we leave. The importance of family and friends is so strong. Its normal to kiss all friends and even strangers on meeting. Even men.....not sure Rob was up for this.
Wine and beer is so cheap! A litre bootle of beer 50p, a glass of wine about 1 pound (bottle same price!). There are many wine farms near Mendoza so of course I had to drink it to try it out. Why not. This is a typical wine cellar in some of the nicer restaurants. Not that we eat there much! Honestly. When steak costs about 3 pounds for one bigger than your hand its hard to resist.
As normal we had run out of clean clothes during our stay in Mendoza. I think the last wash we did was before christmas. Rob pants had been turned inside out many times ...... and mine, well, I decided to clean and dry my own rather than carry on wearing them. The room fan was a perfect drying machine!
After the success of drying the pants it was time to start on the clothes. The fan wouldn´t hold the weight so the entire contents of our backpacks were taken down to the cleaners and within 24 hours and 3 pounds lighter we were all clean and ready to go again. The smell of clean clothes is the best!