Good Mendozian Wine, Friends, and Boliches

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August 16th 2010
Published: August 27th 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

We arrived in Mendoza last Friday (8/13) to snow flurries! I couldn´t believe it was snowing in August...I´m still trying to wrap my brain around that. Snow means that it was cold, so we were happy to get to Chimba Hostal, which was very warm and cozy. That afternoon we met with Gaby and Fede, who we had met on the bus from Peru into Bolivia, and drove up to the mountains to drink some mate out a gourde. All Argentinians do this--they are always carrying around their thermos and mate gourde everywhere they go. On our drive up, however, we got pulled over randomly by the transit police (random checks are apparently normal) and Fede had to give in his license and registration etc. Turns out he was driving with his lights off (you always have to have your lights on apparently, even during the day). The police was about to give him a really steep ticket, but Fede wasn´t having it so he actually bribed the officer. Fede demanded that it was wrong, but it was the only way to get out of the situation and pay 50 pesos instead of 700. So similar to Russia--wow.

Luckily it didn´t put a damper on the snowy mountains, which were breathtakingly gorgeous. Moreover, I was excited to try the piping hot yerba mate--but it was bitter! They put so much yerba mate and so little water that the flavor is overwhelmingly potent. Apparently it speeds up your metabolism, even though it has no cafeine, and Argentinians drink it so much that Sim and I have decided that is the reason why Argentinians are able to stay to thin when they eat so much and so late (dinner is from 10-11pm typically). We got cold quickly so we made our way back into Mendoza and stopped at their house to meet the rest of the Blasco family. They were so lovely and it was great to be in a welcoming home.

That night we went to our first boliche, Voodoo, with Gaby and a few of her friends for a birthday. Boliches are massive clubs in the middle of nowhere in Mendoza (probably so there won´t be noise violations) made out of various tents and rooms. The crowd was young, which was refreshing, but we only arrived at 2am and the party only picked up by 3am so Sim and I were exhausted! The music was also really old-school, which is nice in small quantities, but not alll night. So we were relieved when the girls decided to go by 4:30. When we got back to our room, we thought the guys from Cordoba, would be sleeping. However, their beds were empty so they were clearly having a better time than we had.

Saturday afternoon Sim and I did a wine tour to the big Grenata vineyard and the smaller Don Cabos vineyard. The vineyards were bare because it is winter here, but they were still gorgeous. The wine was also really good. I learned a lot about how to tell if the wine is good or bad depending on the richness of the red or the quality of the ¨lagrimas¨, which was really interesting. Then we finished the tour off at an olive oil factory, which was particularly interesting since I had never done that before. The process was very crude and at the end we got to try 4 or 5 different types of olive oils of different filtrations and flavors. My favorite was the sundried tomato with rosemary olive oil--yuuummmyyy!

That night I took a nap from 10-11:30pm because we were going out to another boliche, Scanner, with Fede and his friends. They picked us up at 12:45am and we made it to the club half an hour later. When we went downstairs, there was a really good live band playing so we were already liking the place. Then when the band finished, they cleared out the tables and the dance floor filled up. We danced until 6:30 in the morning! We got back to the hostel by 7:30 and stayed up until 8 to get some breakfast because we weren´t even tired. During breakfast the Cordoban guys came back, and recounted how they got lost for 3 hours trying to get home. Ridiculous. We went to sleep by 9am--that is a record for both of us.

After we slept away the morning and woke up in the afternoon, Sim and I walked through downtown to get to know it a little bit and then met up with Gaby, Fede, and Fede´s girlfriend to go to Villavivencio. This is an old abandoned hotel and chapel in the mountains with fantastic views. The air was crisp and fresh like real winter and the mountains made me so happy! However, it was cold so we didn´t stay long. By that point it was already early evening--that´s what we got for sleeping through half the day--I don´t know how people do that on a regular basis. In the evening we went out for dinner at Irish Pub on Avenida San Martin in town with Fede and Gaby. It´s was so fantastic spending the entire weekend with them--we didn´t want to leave! But Monday afternoon we left on our final bus ride to Chile...

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