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Published: September 30th 2017
One of the empanadas for breakfast this morning.
Geo: -32.8927, -68.8331
Another bad sleep, as we were up WAY early for the bus to Mendoza this morning. No time for breakfast at the hotel, but I snagged a napolitana and ham/cheese empanada at the bus station, and a rollito, a bit like a pain au chocolat, but glazed, and filled with jam. Kinda bad, but the empanadas were alright.
Off to Argentina today! It was a beautiful drive through the Andes - I wish I could've enjoyed more of it, but simply couldn't keep my eyes open. The bus ride ended up being about 6 hours, less than the 7 hours we expected.
We checked into the hotel, and Wade and I ended up in a room with 4 single beds, and it felt more like a hostel dorm room. I didn't really care at first, but Wade pointed out that we were paying hotel prices, not hostel prices! The hotel removed a few of the beds, and it definitely felt much less cramped afterward. The closet was also "unique", as it was only a half closet that ran from waist height up to the ceiling, and it looked more like a place where the electrical panel should go.
We were given some snack packs aboard the bus - some matchstick potato chips that I never ate, and a very dry, pre-packaged brownie that I managed to choke down with the included box of apple juice.
shower stall was quite poorly designed, probably because the bathroom was so tiny. The stall was quite narrow and was placed alongside a wall, but didn't run the full length. The shower curtain did run the full length of the wall, but the problem was that there was nothing covering the back of the shower stall, so the shower head simply sprayed water out the back and onto the wall, leaving a big puddle every time you showered. Plus, there was not a single hook in the bathroom, so there was no place to put your clothes. Wade wasn't very impressed with the whole thing, not so much because our room was poorly designed, but because we seemingly had the worst room in the joint!
B&H, Ranjit & Darcie (hereafter referred to as R&D), Anness, Wade, and myself went off to change some money, and look for some lunch. We wandered over to the central market, but it looked to be closing up, and we didn't see any food options. Starving, we ended up selecting a nearby place with a nice patio, Tito's. It was probably around 17:00 by the time we ate, so none of us wanted a huge
Some beautiful scenery in the Andes ...
meal, given that there was a group dinner planned for 20:30.
Wade and Anness ordered a pizza, and noted that the cheese wasn't really browned. We had a bit of trouble explaining, but sent the pizza back to the oven for more browning. Funny - the pizza came back, but looked exactly the same as before! We joked that the waitress probably just took the pizza back inside, said "Idiots!", then brought it back out 5 minutes later.
There were also some issues with the coffees we had ordered. We weren't sure, but suspected that the restaurant had mixed up the order for Wade and Anness. They explained the situation to the waitress, and she seemingly understood and nodded, but brought out the exact same thing, again. She probably thought we were just being difficult! But our waitress was actually pretty decent; there just seemed to be some communication issues.
Back to the hotel, where I did a bit of catching up on my journal in the lobby. B&H, R&D, and myself ended up ditching out on tonight's dinner - when we first agreed to go, none of us knew that it was going to be a big, all-you-can-eat BBQ restaurant.
Having just eaten, and not wanting another 3.5 hour dinner, we decided to do our own thing. It later turned out that the BBQ restaurant was much better than any of the other two places we went to as a group, and that the portions weren't massive, but it wasn' t a big loss. We'll have many more chances to sample Argentinean BBQ on this trip, and we ended up having a great meal on our own.
We wandered down to a Spanish tapas restaurant called La Tasca de Plaza Espana, which was located just across the street from the aforementioned plaza. But unfortunately, this Plaza Espana wasn't like every other Plaza Espana in Spain (i.e. - filled with Spanish senoritas).
Mendoza is HOT at night - even when the sun is down, the pavement and cobblestones still radiate heat. I should've just worn shorts for dinner, because I was absolutely melting in the restaurant. We decided just to get a bunch of dishes to share tonight. The snails looked very tempting, but they were sold out. No matter, as there was a nice selection of traditional Spanish tapas, as well as some traditional Argentinean dishes on the menu.
a very heavy meal, which is exactly what we all wanted, after all the gorging we've been doing the past few days. The restaurant was nice and cozy, but the ambiance could've been improved by importing a few senoritas from Spain to work as waitresses, hostesses, or just to sit there and look pretty 😊 A really nice thing about this meal was that we were finished in under 90 minutes, and thus had time for a stroll through this lovely town.
Mendoza has a great pedestrian zone, filled with stores, cafes, and restaurants. Walking around town was reminiscent of many great nights strolling around Spain ... so many, but still not enough! We continued walking over to Mendoza's biggest plaza, where there were a number of vendor stalls, a few buskers, and people just out strolling like us, enjoying the beautiful evening.
We picked up some gelato close to the plaza - I went with a mix of almond, and mascarpone with strawberry. The gelato had a bit of a synthetic-tinge to the flavour, and wasn't great, but was good enough for this evening. This is how a perfect evening should be - dinner, a walk, and gelato - not
Kinda scary, at the customs checkpoint between Chile and Argentina - at the bottom, the sign says "If you are forced to work in conditions of slavery and don't know how to escape, even if you don't have documents call us, we want to help you."
being stuck at a restaurant for 3.5 hours!
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