Trip Start May 01, 2007
21Trip End Aug 01, 2007
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One of the things that still remains in place from the original desert lifestyle is the work day and eating schedule...people generally go to work from 8am to noon, go home for lunch and a siesta from noon to 4pm (!!) and then go back to work from 4pm to 8pm (similar to spain's culture). Hence, the restaurants in Mendoza don't open for dinner until around 8:30pm, but most people don't eat until around 10pm! This was hard for us as we would start the day early and be hungry for supper at 7pm
One of Argentina's specialties is "parilla" or mixed grill. Even though we hadn't been hugely impressed with the beef, we decided to give this a try at a nice place. It came in two stages...the first stage is what I like to call "parts is parts". It was blood sausage, kidney, something that looked like an ear, etc. The waiter noticed we hadn't eaten much and came over to see how we were doing (we didn't know there was another course) and Jack said "muy bien"...I was thinking "muy vomitus". UGH! Luckily, another plate came with chicken and some steak, but that was it for me and Argentine beef!
Most of the in-town experiences were relegated to lots of walking (where the hell is the look-out point, anyway?), especially since we arrived on the weekend when everything shuts down. Sundays is generally a family day, and we saw lots of picnics and such in the park. One of the best decisions was renting a car for a couple days and getting out into the wine country and mountains. We visited Bodegas Lopez and Family Zuccardi wineries - where we had great english speaking hosts that knew an incredible amount of the wine making process and tasting. Amongst planning for Africa, we drove into the mountains (and into a snow storm) up to the boarder of Chile. It was a beautiful drive, great views and sites such as the orange-stained bridge (see pic) and the cemetery at Cerro Aconcogua (for the climbers who died attempting to summit the highest peak in the Andes).
The last portion of our time in Mendoza was spent preparing for Africa - laundry, planning, etc. We enjoyed our time, but were ready to move on to another continent (and bigger breakfasts and more fruits and veggies for Kate...we've had enough beef -- breaded, chewy, on a stick, etc -- for awhile!).