Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mendoza (Wine Country)

This past Thursday and Friday were holidays (don't ask me which ones...haha) so a bunch of us took a weekend trip to Mendoza.  What should have been a 13-14 hour bus ride turned into a 19 hour bus ride because we got held up for 5 hours in the middle of the night due to a car crash in the middle of the road ahead of us.  It was alright though, because I met some cool girls (Americans) on the bus and we ended up hanging out the rest of the weekend.  One super awesome thing about the bus ride was the fact that we played bingo! and the winner got a bottle of wine!  One not so awesome thing is that the winner was not me or any of my friends.  No bus wine for us.  And apparently only that bus company plays wine bingo (so I'm for sure booking more trips with them!).  However, ALL buses thoroughly enjoy screening terrible American movies with Spanish subtitles, so we watched Plan B and Hitch.  

After FINALLY getting to our hostel in Mendoza, we found out that they were having a free dinner that night (free food = best gift ever for a backpacker).  So that night 6 of us drank 4 bottles of wine and ate yummy chorizo sandwiches.  Then we made our way to a bar that sold hardly alcoholic beverages, where we received a hand-written letter in English from the group of Argentines at the next table.  We talked to them for a bit so they'd give us some french fries.  

On Friday, we went on a wine/bike tour!  I was a little apprehensive about riding bikes while intoxicated, but it actually made the ride along the dirt path much easier, believe it or not.  First, we took a bus from Mendoza to Maipu, a neighboring city.  There we rented bikes from Mr. Hugo, who gave us wine as soon as we arrived.  Then we began our bumpy ride down to some of the bodegas (wineries).  We went to three in total, and tasted a variety of wines.  The first winery we went to was very sleek, modern and really beautiful; very different from the second one, which was much more rustic and old-fashioned.  Obviously the wine was great at every place we visited!!  The first place had some delicious breaded brie (we all know how much I love fried cheese) and the second place had really great empanadas.  By the third place, I was drunk and starving, so we skipped tasting any wines, ordered the cheapest bottle on the menu and devoured 2 plates of food between the 6 of us.  Then we were back on the road, riding along the vineyards in the beautiful warm sunshine, trying not to get hit by passing vehicles.  Mission accomplished!  [The drivers in Mendoza and Maipu are much more conscious/aware of pedestrians than in Buenos Aires]  When we arrived at Mr. Hugo's with the bikes, he offered us even more wine!  But by then, I was wined out.  So we finished the day by getting back to Mendoza, making dinner in the hostel, and crashing out before 11pm.  
Renting bikes at Mr. Hugo's

Mr. Hugo, what a guy

First bodega

First bodega, wine barrels?

Wine humor!  Get it? Instead of "bienvenidos"....

Second bodega

Leaving the third bodega

On Saturday, I decided to conquer some fears and be super adventurous... so I WENT PARAGLIDING IN THE ANDES!!  And it was awesome, relaxing, and exhilarating all at once.  It's basically my new favorite pastime.  If I could somehow travel from LA to Michigan via paragliding, I would.  But sadly, there aren't many mountains to jump from in Michigan.  
I'm saying how much I love it now, but before we actually jumped off the mountain I was a nervous crazy person.  We were originally supposed to go at 9am, but the weather wasn't conducive to paragliding, so we waited until 3pm, which gave us all plenty of time to freak ourselves out about it.  When we finally went, we had the world's bumpiest ride up to the top of the mountain.  And of course, once we got out, I decided I had to pee.  Not wanting to tell the instructors -- in Spanish -- that I needed to find a bush to pee behind, I held it in and prayed I didn't piss myself during the flight.  Once my legs stopped shaking and the instructor told me, "You have to run until I tell you to sit.  If you sit before we take off, we'll fall off the mountain," we took off and it was AMAZING.  It only lasted about 10-15 minutes, but it was still really really fun and I can't wait to do it again!
Ride up the mountain

Terrible picture... but that's me, my instructor, and our parachute!


Also, while I was in Mendoza, I stumbled upon a wood-carving exhibition in the park.  It was actually really cool.  It's amazing what people can make out of a tree trunk.
My favorite :)

No comments:

Post a Comment