Mendoza or a weekend in "El Suizo"

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January 1st 2016
Published: July 16th 2017
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Geo: -38.4161, -63.6167

On 1st of January 2016, Alex and I left very early Valparaiso (8 AM) to get to Santiago where he went off sightseeing and in the evening catching a plane to Montreal and me I took a bus to Mendoza. Now, when I started planning my trip, there was no mention of Mendoza, so why did I go there? Because (or better thanks to) Adrián. We met during the JCI World Congres in Kanazawa (Japan) in November 2015 and he immediately invited me to visit him in Mendoza when I told him about my tour. Him seeming like a nice person and me always taking the offer to see another place, I decided to go there for 3 days. I thought, 3 days are absolutely enough to visit a city, but my visit turned out to be quite different than I expected and in the end I would have loved to stay a few days (or weeks, months, who knows) longer....

From Santiago it was only 8 hours by bus and since there was no trafic on the border, we even arrived 1 hour early. I waited patiently until the official arrival time I had communicated to Adrián, but he didn't show up... 45 minutes later I was really worried he wouldn't come anymore. Maybe he sent me a message to tell me he would be late? Maybe he wrote me that he couldn't make it? Unfortunately there was no wifi, so I connected via the telefone line (roaming is sooo expensive still, I hate that!) to sent him a message asking him where he was and if he would come. After some time I got the answer that he was on his way but in a huge trafic jam to enter the city.... I was really relieved to know that everything was ok and that he would come, so the next 30 minutes waiting were nothing.
He came to pick me up with his friend and collegue Javier who was very welcoming, friendly and sympathic from the first moment (and I don't just write this because he will read it!). We went across the city trying to find an open shop, which was not easy. But this way I saw a big part of the city at least. Adrián explained me that we were going to spent the weekend with Javier, his wife Silvia, their kids, Adeli, Ricardo and their kids in the mountains next to Mendoza (30 minutes drive) in the summerhouse of Adeli's mother, Zsuzsi. On the way there, Javier told me about his passion for language and linguistics (he works in communication) and I explained what exactly I study. Adrián told me about his work in his branding company and they both explained me the parts of the city we were crossing on our way. The most surprised me the dancing area outside of the center (quite far : you have to take a car, taxi or bus), but it seems to go out you have to go there.

When we got to "El Suizo" (so called because this place was first inhabited by a colony of people from Switzerland), I was a bit nervous, like I always am when I "intrude" in a group of people. But I think this is normal, isn't it? Getting to know a lot of people in a short time who all know each other already... It turned out to be quite easy to enter their group though : they all gave me a warm welcome and were very friendly and open-minded.

The first evening, first the men cooked dinner and I talked with Silvia and Adeli and played a game with the girls. For dinner we had very good vegetables, potatoes and chicken and some good argentinian wine (that was present all weekend BTW, just like Fernet Blanca and other drinks). We talked until late in the night (3 AM) about everything and nothing, me learning a lot about Argentina and them some things about Belgium.

The next day, Javier, Adrián and I got up early (I discovered to my great pleasure that Javier is like me, always getting up around 5-6 AM!!! :-D) and we went on a 10 km trekking tour. It was a very beautiful landscape and quite green (with a lot of spiny plants) so tgat it was difficult for me to remember that we were actually in the desert! I had a great time with them and thanks to Javier I learned a lot about the plants and birds there.
We spent the afternoon relaxing in the pool and I net Zsuzsi with whom I could talk a bit of german. In the evening we gad a barbecue and ate "chori-pan", that is chirizo saussage cut open and put in grilled bread with salate, tomatoes and sauce. It was very good, even for me who doesn't like meat very much. That day we also had a visit from the "Trilicos", a famous boy group (rock band), because one of them is Adeli's nephew. They were quite nice, especially Matthew who is 30 years old and makes the lights for a lot of events everywhere in America. He told me about his travels and about his love for his country (even though he wouldn't want to live there all the time - a thing we have in common). He has quite a strong opinion on what concerns the colonization and is in fervor of defending the side of the conquered people, his people (the "loosers" like he sais). Ok, that's his right, but it's no like his blood was 100% pure indian. Well, everyone his opinion as long as you don't hurt anyone with it, right? He gave me a few book recommandations, we'll see how they interprete the history.
We went to bed quite early, everyone beeing exhausted.

On sunday 3rd, we had breakfast together and mostly relaxed in the morning. Adrián and I went for a walk and he explained me the political situation in Argentina (too much to explain that here).

We had one last meal all together and then around 4 PM Adrián and I left with Javier, Silvia and their daughter Dolo. In the city we had a delicious icecream together before they dropped us off at their office. Adrián's appartment is being renovated so that we went to a hotel that night. Juhuuu, a clean bathroom and bedroom for only 2 people, that changes after 3 weeks in 8-12 people dorms! ;-)
We went then to discover the city and in the evening we had dinner with Havier, Silvia and Dolo where we discussed heavily if the woman in the music video on the screen is Madonna or Gwen Stephanie (it was Nafmdonna BTW, my bad...). Before going "home", we had one last tea with them at their hiuse whee I showed them on google earth where I live in Belgium.

In these 3 days I got to know and to love all of them. I learned a lot about Mendoza, Argentina and about the vocabulary of Mendoza (my favorite word is "tremendo"😉. I was very sorry to leave, I could easily imagine staying there for a year or so (also because the city itself is really nice). Well, maybe after I finish my thesis. ;-) I will miss my new friends and I'm looking forward to meeting them again next year (and Adrián sooner in Buenos Aires or in Uruguay) !

I have to add that there were 2 things that were very new and interesting for me. 1) They often put 1 or 2 glasses for everyone to share. Not like in other parts of the world where everyone insists on having his own glass. That was interesting, quite a different state of mind this sharing idea, but I like it! :-)
2) The courtesy of the men. It was amazing to see how courteous they behave with the women : opening the doors, carrying my heavy bagpack, serving food and drinks, etc. I've almost never seen that anywhere else but I love it! :-D Not that I don't like doing everything myself, but sometimes it's just nice to be treated like this. :-)

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Weekend in "El Suizo"Weekend in "El Suizo"
Weekend in "El Suizo"

My gifts ! :-D

7th January 2016

Treeeemendo viaje Bianca querida!!!
8th January 2016

Que lindo Bianca!!! Buen viaje
8th January 2016

Tremendoo!! Muy lindo conocerte Bianca y espero que nos veamos de vuelta! Buen viaje!
8th January 2016

Muchas gracias! Era un placer conocerles y espero tambien verles pronto! Siempre son los bienvenidos (Sao Pauli, Belgica, donde sea ;-)) !
9th January 2016

Super schn alles
10th January 2016

Genia Bianca!!!! Siempre sersbienvenida a Mendoza! Daremos tremeeeendo paseo!

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