Home > Uncategorized > Mendoza, Argentina – Aug 23-26th

Mendoza, Argentina – Aug 23-26th

Aug 23 – This morning started out bad.  My alarm clock (Nike watch) didn’t go off for the morning we were meant to catch the bus to Mendoza.  The watch has 2 Alarm modes, and after fiddling with it on the bus, I’ve come to the conclusion one of the modes is somehow broken.  Thankfully for us Paul had pulled an all nighter, but I didn’t get woken up until 10 mins after we were meant to get up (in an already scrambled wake up.)  We basically woke up EVERYBODY in our dorm in a mad dash to grab our bags out of our lockers and hustle down to check out and get our deposit back.

We then hustled over to a main road where we hailed the first cab we saw.  Paul jumped into the back with his bag on while I threw my big bag in and went up to sit on the front.  The front set was INCLINED… Now normally front seats didn’t INCLINE, but I was in a rush so I didn’t think much of it.  BAD CALL BEN.  As I went to sit down I noticed he moved a towel from the seat. As I sat down I noticed my bum felt a little wet… (and no I didn’t drop a poop in my pants)…. About 1 minute later I started noticing a strong smell of vomit. Yes – I was pretty sure I was sitting in a pile of peuke.  But we had more important matters to attend to (catching this 14 hr bus), so I sucked it up and went by the motto “If you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.”

We got to the bus station 20 mins before our bus left.  The girls were already waiting.  The bus was on time so we all hopped on and pretty much went right to sleep.  Not much can be said about the bus, just a few things to note.  First off there weere movies… just not understandable movies as the guy put it on DUBBED versions (if I wasn’t already irked by this day bus ride.)  Now dubbed movies are one thing, but I actually witnessed DUBBED MUSIC VIDEOS.  Not just any dubbed music videos, dubbed CANADIAN music videos: Bryan Adams “(Everything I do) I do for You”, and Celine Dion’s Titanium Song.  Now I’d already gotten ‘Bieber-Fever’ on this trip – no really, I put one of his songs: “Somebody to Love” onto my playlist out of Canadian Pride – but the Bryan Adams one I just had to put on my ipod when I got back.

By the time we arrived in Mendoza it was around 23:00, so we hopped in a cab (ripped us off with his “broken meter”- charging us 3x normal cost) and checked into our hostel.  We were starving from the day on the bus, but the only thing open was a sandwich joint, so the girls had some pizza while Paul + I had some terrible sandwiches.

Aug. 24th – This morning we woke up and had breakfast at the hostel.  We decided we needed to go around to all the tour agencies and get a rough idea on the prices on things we wanted to do.  So we walked downtown and split up into two groups of two to check out the tours.  Paul and I had McDonalds for dinner before going off to check out the tours and look around the town a bit.  It turned out to be a waste of time, since the best deal tour-wise worked out to be our hostel.

On our way back we stopped at Carrefour where we picked up various things for dinner.  The four of us opted for some pasta with pre-made Bolognesa sauce, to go along with some wine.  Not being a wine-connoisseur I obviously bought from the label going with a Merlot known as “Benjamin.”  We also treated ourselves to some Milka chocolate.   So back we went to the hostel to eat our food, and sip our wine, and eat some Milka.  We bought our ticket for a daytrip tomorrow from the hostels owner.  We scoured the hostels DVD collection and opted to watch the Jim Carey movie “23.”

My own wine

Aug 25: Today we were up early for our big day of adventure.  We scrambled (some more so than others) aboard a shuttle bus for a 1 hour trip to the mountains outside of Mendoza.  All four of us pretty much snoozed through this, but we were dropped off at a lodge and told (very vaguely) that the shuttlebus would pick us up later in the day.

We were ushered into the lodge where they gave us the usual adventure tour task of signing our lives away via the waivers… I still don’t remember what my blood type is, but by the look of the ziplines, if we did fall we’d be done anyways.  We were kept waiting for well over an hour, which I normally wouldn’t be all that flustered about (with such nice scenery around), but they were grilling some meat on a BBQ outside and it made me absolutely starving.  Thankfully our guides showed, and we were given our harnesses, gloves and helmets, then led up a 10 minute hike to the first zipwire.

Here we were given the basic overview including safety concerns, hand signals from the end of the wire…etc.  The first wire was a little one over a small ravine so we could all practice. I’d done a couple of these before so it was no biggie here.  The ziplines were really good.  We ran through the first little circuit which was roughly 7-8 lines from hilltop to hilltop.  Here are some pics:

View of the mountains

Me Ziplining - Andes in Background

In for landing

Paul

Coco

Charley

The 4 of us

me coming in for landing

After this was the good part: the two long lines that ran over top of the River Mendoza.  You get going really fast on these and it’s really cool looking down over the river as you pass over top.  We did the first one no problem then hiked up a little hill before resting and chatting.  I got in some talk with the guides about Argentinian footballers – notably Toronto FC guys.  I was amused when I mentioned former Toronto FC “Super-Letdown” Pablo Vitti.  Apparently most Argentinian footy fans also know the guy as quite a big letdown for their national team/program.

After this we went along the final wire.  This one was a little different.  I went first and I noticed I was getting a little sideways so I went to adjust with my glove, only to have the guy signal at me to let go of everything and try and right myself with my feet (which I did and worked pretty good.)  This one went the fastest and it was my favorite part of the trip.

The big wire

Over the River Mendoza

Over the river

Me + the entire wire over the River

River

4 of us

Paul + Coco looking at Charley on the line

Next up was Paul, and about 5 seconds after he started the guy beside me at the end of the wire turns to me and asks me if this is my friend… I say yea, and he (disappointingly) says “He’s going to slow, he wont make it all the way across, he needs to let go of everything.”  Sure enough he stopped about 30 feet from the end of wire + platform, so he had to try and shimmy himself to the end.  The guide finally strapped himself up and came out to Paul to bring him in.  Next up was Charley and she did the exact same thing (and the guy said the exact same thing.)  When the guide asked her if she wanted him to come out and pull her in she was dead silent, so he strapped up and began heading out.  As soon as he got to her she started screaming (apparently her fear of heights just kicked in.)  Coco was the last up and she apparently did the best run on it without issues.

Paul stuck on the zipline

Paul getting retrived by our guide

Charley stuck on the line

After this we went back to the lodge for dinner.   It was kinda pricey, but me and Paul had some chicken and fries along with some beer.  The dirty looking stray dogs weren’t an issue for us while eating, but these giant flies around us were.  They were the type that would land on you without issue and wouldn’t move until you actually physically touched them.  Drinking beer out of a glass in such situations is always dangerous: Beware of floaty-flies.

Our mustachioed rafting guide (Juan-Carlos) interrupted our lunch to hurry us along for our rafting trip.  Now I’ve kayaked (river/lake/ocean) and Canoed plenty of times before, but rafting was something I’ve yet to do, so I was really excited about this.  We were given our gear then driven upstream where we were told instructions.  Paul made me absolutely crack up.  First off we were going through our safety instructions, and were given the instructions on what to do when he yelled “Lean In” (In case we’re in an area where someone could fall over, your meant to lean your body in and grab the cord around the side.)  BOTH times we did this Paul forgot the main thing: he leaned in but kept forgetting to grab the wire.  Behind his sunglasses I could see Juan-Carlos’s eyes roll.  Then when we got in the water Paul + I were at the front to start out with.  Juan-Carlos told me since I had kayaked before just to keep my eyes on Paul’s paddling, so I went at it.  2 mins in I began to see how hard this would be… Paul had a tendency to do a good consistantly-timed 3 paddles or so before gradually slowing down his stroked and loosing all sense of rhythm.  This totally confused me (watching Paul to my right) and Coco (watching Paul’s paddle from behind)… And what’s worse was Charley was behind me trying to keep up with my paddling, so when Paul would loose his rhythm, she would get all confused and we’d knock paddles.  Eventually it got so bad we had to have one person yell a count out.

Wetsuit

goofing around with Juan-Carlos

After that was set we all went pretty good.  We played a few games, did a few spins of the raft and had alot of fun.  The only let down was the fact the river was to shallow in the swimming part, so we weren’t allowed to go in for a dip… It was freezing anyways so we just shrugged the letdown off.

Here we go

Splash

Going through

Spinning the raft

Me

Me + Paul laughing

high five

After rafting we got changed and waited for our bus… And I mean waited.  Roughly 3-4 hours we had to wait… The sun went down and we were freezing cold.  About the only fun in this was discoverring a camper that had 4 little puppies in it which we all played with for a bit.  Finally the shuttle bus came and we headed back to Mendoza.  We stopped by the bus depot to pick up our tickets (Paul’s bus for the next night heading back to Buenos Aires and Me + the girls bus onwards to Chile the day after that.)

We went back to the market to pick up more wine and stuff for dinner.  We had a drinking night to celebrate our last full night together.

I've got Winehands

Sipping with winehands

Paul mad at his winehand

I broke my flip-flop playing ring of fire

Charley + Coco with their funnel

Aug 26th – This morning we woke up tired.  The girls were keen on heading to the wineries.  Me and Paul talked about it for a bit, and we decided we needed to grab souvenirs instead since we wouldn’t have time later.  Wineries? We’d already seen those on our trip to Europe (in France)…What could be so different?  So we split into two groups and did our own things.  It worked out good since Paul had a lot of stuff to organize before his bus anyways, and it was cool to have just the two of us hanging out and talking about what a great trip it’s been.

Time winded down and the end was near.  I blared the Bryan Adams “(Everything I do) I do for you” as a joke, and we both got a chuckle out of the goodbye song.  The girls just made it back in time to see Paul off for his night bus.  After Paul left we hung out watching TV and finishing off the wine we had left.

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