Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Santiago to Mendoza, Argentina and Back Part III

And then, we were going down and I was quite happy not to be one of the brave souls sitting on the top level. Mountains eventually turned to foothills, then countryside and vineyards, then we rolled into Mendoza and the bus station. We walked out of the station where taxis wait and hopped in to go to our motel.

The motel (which we booked online) was attractive partly because they are a European, multilingual chain. The company that owns then also owns Motel 6, no kidding. And it looked like a European Motel 6-except for the bidet! As I said, the same and different. Everything very basic but a bidet a necessity apparently. Out our window, what else but a soccer field where the kids played as long as they could! By then it was 6 pm and we were starving but were told the restaurant didn’t open until 8 pm-shouldn’t have been surprised because they eat later here but we were a little sad. So we watched TV for a while and went back to restaurant promptly at 8. We had those famous Argentine $7 steaks and fries. It was so good, we repeated the next night. I also had to have several glasses of Argentine wine-for research, you know. It seemed delicious but I repeated the next night to be sure.
Nothing fancy but good to be off the bus.
The next morning, we set off for a day of tourism. First stop, the cambio to change convert Chilean pesos to Argentine pesos. It seems many will take Chilean pesos but I don’t think they were happy about it. The cambio looks just like a bank but isn’t. The exchange rate was actually better there than a bank. Then, we walked to one of the town squares, window shopping as we went. Mendoza has many, many trees everywhere you go. After sufficient walking, we stopped at café on the street and had the San Ramon special which consisted of a piece of ham, topped with cheese, topped with a fried egg and served with papa fritas(fries). Then we wandered the streets some more, mostly window shopping. It’s surprising to me that in both Argentina and Chile, clothes cost the same as in the US. I don’t know how people can afford them. Perhaps they just don’t buy as many. It’s also funny to me that you see stores that cater to hard rock bands-Metallica, Guns and Roses, Pink Floyd and all things black and pierced! Outside one store, a guy does a pretty good impression of Edward Scissorhands….

We hopped in another taxi and stopped at the mall near our motel. It was Argentina’s version of Cherry Creek mall with expensive designer type clothes so we soon decided it was time to go back to the motel and have a nap before dinner. Yes, the big steaks and wine. Michael found a casino and ran off to play his beloved blackjack for an hour or so where he won and came back before he lost. Smart guy.

A lovely old house downtown, a law office now I think.

The plaza-Argentina loves trees.

Edward Scissorhands in front of a store. He moved now and then to let you know he was real.

The next morning we went to the bus station early to catch a bus and soon we were back on the road. I did find some bus station shopping to keep me happy. I buy very little these days but love to look at things. The bus ride back was still fascinating-we even saw a different side and immigration coming back was quicker, maybe because we left earlier. The same and completely different. A trip to do again.

Many, many more photos. Amazing colors.

This one looks futuristic except for the bridge!

Yeah, I just loved the way this looks....
You just can't have enough rocks in photos, I think.
This looks like a digital painting. Nice shot, Michael.
Just so you don't think we were hiking, there's the rim of the bus window!

This mountain seemed to rise from nothing, like a promise.
Checkpoint along the way.
So that's how those rocks get their curves...the wind blows constantly too.
Snow on top and green below. We're back to summer and construction now....