February 16th, 2007 – by: dan2105
Fountain at the park
As unromantic as our overnight bus journey to Mendoza was, it wasn´t short of incident. First off, we had the stress of making a second bus with only five minutes leeway until its departure. We approached our destination to find the traffic at a standstill and didn’t arrive until half an hour after the second bus was due to depart. Fortunately, it waited for us. We were to later discover from someone from our hostel that there had, apparently, been a murder and the police were sorting it out. Perhaps just a rumour, but exciting nevertheless.
The second event was one of those I-swear-these-things-only-happen-to-me-type moments. I had visited the toilet on the second bus before hitting the sack/semi-upright chair and noticed the handle was a bit loose upon entry, but seen as I had seen the engaged light on the front of my seat on the top floor light up numerous times before, I thought nothing of it.
After going about my business, I went to leave. The door handle fell apart in my hand. Devastation. Not wanting to let out a girly, “Help!” I knocked on the door several times. For about two or three minutes. Then someone let me out, but because of my limited Spanish, instead of saying something quite flippant like, “Couldn’t believe it, the door handle just came apart in my hand,” I had to say, “Muchas gracias,” as the guy just stared at the handle in my hand. At least I got out. And I went off and hid in my seat, very embarrassed, for the rest of the journey.
After that trauma, the rest of the day I intended to make peaceful. After checking in to our hostel, we visited Parque San Martin. We were never going to cover the 400 acres, but had a bit of a walk around on a sweltering day, then ate some food and had a nap.
Our new hostel we are staying at in Mendoza is by far the best we’ve been to. We were a bit fed up with sharing with snorers and other misfits to save money, so got a nice room with en suite. It actually wasn’t that much more expensive in the end and part of me is gutted we’re not here for longer, such is the inconsistency of standard in Argentinian hostels. It’s also a bonus that everyone speaks English, unlike the last place which was the complete opposite. Everyone’s very friendly, and last night we were made to feel welcome at a BBQ where, unsurprisingly, I filled up on meat.
The wine museum
Today we hired some bikes and went for a cycle around a part of town called Maipu (yes, it's pronounced “my poo”, and, yes, when someone says, “Here in Maipu” etc it is indeed hilarious). The attraction here is you can visit a few wineries and a wine museum, to get not only a history of the wine production here in Argentina´s wine province, but also try some. Most people reading this know I’m not a big wine drinker, but still appreciated learning about how it’s made and enjoyed sampling different flavours derived from different manufacturing procedures and different family businesses. Although we started as just two, we were to quickly recognise others from our hostel and spent the day increasing in number, until our group consisted of English, Aussies and Israelis.