I am a bit delayed.. 2 countries behind! The fun thing about slacking is that I get to look back and re-remember my travels. So I’m sitting in Sucre, Bolivia but it’s time to remember Mendoza, Argentina. A few weeks and full country in the past. Time to play catch-up!
After my special day with Pepperchinco I assumed that the rest of my time in Mendoza would be quite tranquillo. Mmhm, not really. The next day I found out that Argentina would be playing Australia as part of the Rugby Championship tournament. There are 4 Southern Hemisphere nations that play – Argentina, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. I had wanted to see the All Blacks play outside of Buenos Aires but I missed it so I jumped at the chance to go in Mendoza.
Dani, a new Australian friend and I went on the hunt for the place that sells tickets. It took some doing and another round of sketchy money changing on the street but we found in the end. Tickets are sold in an appliance store so you can get your rugby tickets and pick up a new washing machine all in one go! Feeling quite accomplished we decided to head out to dinner. We went to a super crowd semi-outdoor restaurant. Eventually two girls asked if they could share our table. We of course agreed and ended up spending the rest of the night with our new friends – Mili and Laura. Super nice girls. They were excited to meet foreigners and immediately offered to take us out and show us the city. We ended up at a microbrewery and spent the rest of the night speaking in Spanglish and laughing at each other’s mistakes. It was really nice to spend some time with locals, hear more about their city and tell them about where we came from.
The next day was game day! The tickets were cheap and Dani being an Aussie was a huge rugby fan. We expanded our group to another Aussie and a couple – one from Norway and one from Germany. Solid group. Before the game we decided to go out for dinner and proceeded to find out about my favorite thing in Mendoza – tourist wine. There is some sort of law/ordinance that requires every restaurant to sell tourists a bottle of wine for 35 pesos or about $2.25USD. Tourist wine is not advertised but once you ask they have to offer you as many bottles as you want for only 35 pesos! Every restaurant carries red tourist wine and some carry white. There is no specific brand but the bottle we got was listed on the menu for 180 pesos. Not even close to their cheapest bottle. Once we realized that we decided to each got our own bottle. By the end of dinner we were really excited for the game.
The game was great. Argentina made a decent showing in the first half and then completely shut down Australia in the second half. Argentina won! It was a huge upset over Australia. The fans went wild, it was a blast to see! The only thing we were disappointed by was finding out that they only sold non-alcoholic beer inside the stadium. No tourist wine either. What is the point of that? Not cool Mendoza, not cool.
The next day I got up early, said my goodbyes to Argentina and headed for Chile. The bus ride takes you all through the Andes. It was without a doubt the prettiest bus ride of my life. The buses are quite nice – they serve you breakfast, later a sandwich and finally coffee and cookies. Can’t complain! The roads were insane. I felt safe but we took the turns pretty fast so I found myself squeezing my eyes shut and saying a little prayer a few times throughout the ride. I arrived in Santiago, Chile safe and sound. From there I immediately booked a bus to Valparaiso, Chile. Long day but eventually I made it to Valpo, checked into a hostel and went straight to bed. I had been to Valpo on my work trip to Chile and knew I loved the city. It certainly did not disappoint! More to come on Chilean adventures!