Buenos dias me amigos (cor, I’m getting a handle on this Spanish, or "Castellano" as it is called over here).
Today ends our second day in Mendoza, the heart of Argentina’s wine country. We arrived here yesterday morning about 7am after a 20 hour bus ride from Bariloche. That was quite a trip. The buses here are pretty flash with seats that can recline into beds, full meal service and in-flight movies. Not all the buses mind you. There still are chicken buses but you have to be mad to take one, especially as the good bus services are actually pretty cheap. Still, 20 hours sitting very still is pretty tiring (sounds a bit pathetic I know).
After finding some suitably cheap accommodation we wandered around the town (pleasant in a non-descript regional city kind of way) and then took a winery tour. Mendoza produces 70% of Argentina’s wine and most of it is red (vino tinto). This was bad news for Shelly but good news for me. Their winery tours are very different to home. They walk you around the vineyard and show you the whole operation. It was very interesting to see how differently they do things. They don’t seem to get many "inglese hablas" here, although at each place there was at least one guide who could translate the tour for us. As for the wine - it was okay. Not as good as a Margaret River red blend. Malbec seems to be the specialty. One really odd observation for the day - we had commented to each other that petrol prices were really cheap over here and wondered where they got their petrol from. Then at the first winery the guide points to a massive pump sitting right in the middle of the vineyard - the vines sit directly over an oil field! Extraordinary.
We got the low down from the young tour guide on the places to hang out in Mendoza, which turned out to be only a few streets away from our hostel so we cruised down there suitably late - say around 9.30pm - and everything was empty. Almost. The pubs barely tick over until 11.30pm when people START coming out for dinner. START!!! On a WEDNESDAY night!!! Don’t these people have jobs to go to in the morning? Most night clubs don’t even bother opening until 1am. Being the party stayers we are we went to bed about 12.30am. Honestly, we’re just not on the same par as the Argentineans. We’ll have to try much harder in Buenos Aires.
We spent today wandering the shops and looking over one of the museums. One of the girls at the museum guided us around the whole place because everything was in Spanish. Very nice of her. We also met an interesting fellow in the park (sounds a bit suss??). An Argentinean mathematician out for a walk (probably mad as a hatter) who gave us a run down of Argentinean politics and society. Said something about Argentina being along way from being right again and it would probably take alot of bloodshed to get it back on track. That was the Argentinean way. Strange sentiments but I guess Argentina has a bloody history.
We’re shortly off on another overnight bus to Buenos Aires. Woo who. Only 14 hours this trip. I wonder what movies we’re going to see??? Our friends Rick and Ally claim to have seen "The Passion of Christ" on every single leg of their journey last year. Fortunately, we haven't seen yet but I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunity coming up!
Lots of love to everyone. Take care and we’ll write from Party Town BA!!!
Paulie and Shelly