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Published: April 13th 2013
We arrive in Mendoza at 7am, after a 10hr bus ride from Cordoba. We had travelled first class, as the bus was direct and the seats only an extra 60 pesos each ($12 U.S). This meant that the seats lied flat. However, we only figured out right at the end how to extend the leg rests completely flat, stupid tourists... At least we know for next time. We have also found that a good way to help sleep on these overnight bus rides is to buy a bottle of red wine prior to the trip and fill up one of our wattle bottles, classy eh!
Our hostel, Casa Pueblo, is only 300 metres from the bus terminal, which is great as it is still pitch black when we are walking the streets. We have a nice room, and the price is great. After crashing for a few hours, we hit the town, it is siesta time, so nothing is open and noone is around. It is a good time to get our bearings. After walking for a few hours, we have found Turkish, Thai and Japanese restaurants. So there is some variety in food for us to catch up on. Soon siesta time is over and the shops open and the streets are bustling with locals. We decide that we really like the feel of the place, and decide to stay a while. Apart from the restaurants to try, there are vineyards and trekking to do. There are views to snow capped mountains in the Andes, and Cerro Aconcagua (6992 metres, and the highest mountain in the southern and western hemispheres) is only 250km away, and should be impressive to view.
That night we get talking to an American couple who are travelling for 6 months, working half of the time at various farms for food and board to make the trip last longer. They point out on the map where the local market is, where the locals go to get meat, fruit & veges, cheese etc... We had found one in Cordoba on our last day, and therefore missed out on that opportunity.
Excitedly, we head out after breakfast this next morning to the market, and we are not disappointed. Mojo and i have been trying to find some asian and chilli (for me) sauces in the supermarkets to no avail. But alas, the first stall in the market that we walk past sells Teriyaki sauce and the biggest bottle of Tabasco i have ever seen (350ml). We purchase both for a small fortune, but it will be worth it. The Tabasco should last the whole trip! We are already carrying around with us olive oil, vinegar, salt & pepper and other core ingredients to cook with, so one bottle of tobasco won't matter too much. The market is fantastic and so cheap, there are all sorts of cuts of meat that i do not have the balls to try, and amazing looking steaks and sausages. There are smoked and cured meats everywhere and a decent selection of cheeses, and the widest and freshest selection of fruit n veg that we have come across in the last 6 weeks. We stock up on the necessary veges for a stir fry and high tail it back to the hostel to cook up our feast. We already have some T-Bones in the fridge that we cut up, and this supplements the vege's nicely, making a great meal and a welcome variance for our taste buds.
The local council has arranged a wine celebration week starting tonight to help increase tourism in the off season, so there is free wine tasting and the likes in the main square. Makes for a cheap Saturday night!
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