Happy New Year 3.0

Trip Start Mar 14, 2004
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Flag of Argentina  , Mendoza,
Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Happy New Year!   My 3rd new year on the road finds me in Mendoza.... Argentina's wine country.   And of course a good, cheap, steak dinner is never far away either.  I made the long 18 hour bus journey from Buenos Aires with my buddy Yngve from Norway only to find that the coolest, most recommeded hostel was booked solid through the holiday.    Perhaps someday I'll learn how to make a reservation.  Until that day, however, I'll have to take things as they come.  But good things did come our way, especially in the form of  new friends we made to celebrate new year's eve. The weather here is perfect and almost too hot but the hostel's swimming pool is what saves us each day. 

And a visit to Mendoza would not be complete without spending time in the many wineries just a short distance from downtown.  Yngve and I teamed up with Tricia and Zara from Ireland to spend a day staggering around from winery to winery... for Yngve, it was to find the perfect bottle of red that was so excellently crafted and nurtured with the utmost care from the grape vines to the day it was bottled.  For me and the Irish girls, it was to drink for free!    And so it went... we had a great time trying all the different varieties and I actually learned something!  
  Now, I might even be able to tell you if a wine sat in barrels made from French oak or American oak (I said "might").  I also learned to say things like "hmmm, this one smells a little woody", which cracks me up.  Or  "this one is clearly their entry level wine as it's too fruity" and "this one lacks structure", which makes me sound like I know what I'm talking about.   

I enjoyed the afternoon but had a difficult time accepting the fact that proper wine tasters do just that... they taste the wine...then dump out what's left so they can move on to the next one.  Where I come from, this concept is barbaric.  If I learned one thing in college, it was that this is alcohol abuse!!!!   To appear experienced and cultured in this exotic society of wine tasters, I played along at first, dumping my used wine into the bucket with everyone else.  But eventually I learned to fake it and wander off like I had something important to
observe in another part of the room so as not to commit this original sin of wine drinking.   Needless to say, we felt pretty good by the end of the afternoon and we made it home with the day's purchases of our favorites. 

Next stop... someplace south of here.  Still traveling planlessly. 
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