Today was pretty cool. Although we didn’t need to start until 11:30, Lisa and I got up early so that we could go walk around the city a bit and see the sites. We shopped a bit and looked around, and Mendoza did indeed seem much better in the daylight than at night. There were a lot of people around so it was cheerful. The city does remind me quite a bit of any large American city, though, in a way that Santiago didn’t. Santiago was very Americanized, and had a Ruby Tuesdays and a Pizza Hut and Starbucks. Mendoza doesn’t have those, but the way the city was laid out and the types of stores there were all seemed very “American” to me, while Santiago didn’t. It’s just a feeling I had. The parts I liked best about Mendoza are the rural areas.
Which is great, considering what we did for the day! First we started off in the city, going to La Universidad del Congreso, where we had a lecture for a Professor who told us about the political and economic history of Argentina. It would have been nice if he had time to go more in depth, but it was good as it was, and definitely helpful. After that, we hopped on the bus and went to a delicious lunch that was at one of the nicer restaurants at Mendoza, on Wine Row where all the wineries are. The lunch was delicious but if I have one complaint about this trip, it’s that they’re taking us to too many nice places- we’re here to see the country but going to all the best restaurants. That said, it’s not too much of a complaint. :-D One interesting Argentine thing- they served all the women first.
After the dinner, we went to see a company that manufactures olive oil and dried fruit. I never thought I’d know so much about olive oil! The company is called PASRA, and they are small and family owned, as it seems many Mendozan companies are. We walked around and he explained how the olive oil is made, and how they do it mostly in the natural way whereas many other companies use more technology. He also explained the difference between regular olive oil, virgin olive oil, and extra-virgin olive oil, which was interesting. Basically it’s the chemicals used in the process. Also, if you put regular olive oil in the fridge it won’t turn to fat (because of the chemicals) but if do that to a virgin oil, it will. After that we had an olive oil tasting. The company also made olive oil lotion and body oil etc. which was super cool.
Next, we went to the Familia Zuccardi winery. They are one of the largest in Argentina and also family owned. They took us around and showed us how the wine is made, which was very interesting. We got to see the room with all the barrels- they had 5500 in the room! It was so cool. After that we went and had a wine tasting, which was great fun. :-D I really liked every single wine we had- two whites, two reds and a white dessert wine, from their Santa Julia line. Fortunately, they export to the US so I can buy it there- I didn’t want to get any from the winery because of the difficulty in bringing it back. Anyway, it was very nice. We all got a bit drunk from the wine and had a nice time, and the scenery on the way back was awesome.
After we got back, we hung out in the hotel room a little bit and then went out with Mirelle and Maggie for dinner. On the way there we picked up Lindsey, and then after that the Professors came walking by and stopped and sat with us. We had pizza and it was pretty good, and relaxing, which I needed.
Tomorrow we have the day in Mendoza and we’re going to one of the biggest companies, which is called IMPSA. After that, we are going to wander around the city for a bit until we get on a flight to Buenos Aires. Exciting! I can’t wait to get there!
Note: The Argentine men are definitely cuter than Chileans! There was the *hottest* guy at the hotel.
Today was pretty simple. We got up early and I got about 7 hours of sleep, which was nice. Then we headed off to IMPSA, where we had a short presentation and then a tour of the facilities. It’s a really interesting company; they’re involved in just about everything from green electricity to insurance. We got to see models (which were still quite large) of some of the wind and water turbines that they use. Their facility is the only one in South America. It’s a pretty nice, company, I think, though of course it was them telling us about it. They’re only involved in green electricity and they’re environmentally conscious. They are located in Mendoza which is bad strategically but they won’t move because of the unemployment it would create (and also the main shareholder is Mendozan.)
After that, we had about 5 hours to bomb around the city until we got on the plane, so we about 13 people went off to eat. I had a ceasar salad, which was interesting and had more of a honey mustard dressing than a ceasar dressing. Anyway, I was in the mood for something small. Then we walked around and sat at a coffee shop and just took it easy, and as I write this we are in the airport waiting for the plane.
I like Mendoza a bit more now. I wonder if the reason I didn’t so much before was because I saw its poorer areas before I saw the “nice” ones? That’s probably a main part of it, which is probably bad of me, but I think we’re probably all like that a little. Anyway, dinner last night and the restaurant and café today were very nice, so that’s what I did.
Some things to mention:
-inside jokes! “I brought you this delicious bass” and “Mama Bella!”
-Argentines love oversized stuff. Their “normal” bear size is 2/3 of a liter, and their portions are HUGE.
-one of the people on my trip, Julie, knows cousin Rachel! So exciting!
Some other things I’ve been thinking about:
-I really know very little about the current cultures and politics of just about every country other than the United States. This is bad! I need to travel more and learn more, otherwise I shall never b a cultured person.
-What kind of travelling do I like? This trip has been a little hard on me, because there are so many people and all of them are doing their things and I’m just not sure what I want to do, don’t want to do, etc. But this is also a good situation since just about everything is taken care of.
-It’s really interesting to travel and actually talk to people about their views about the country, etc. It can be nerve racking, but super interesting. Another reason to know the current history of the country before you go!
Alrighty, tomorrow is a full day in Buenos Aires so I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say.
Updated later: Whelp, our flight got delayed three hours so it is now 10 PM and we are still at the airport. We should be on the plane in about 20 minutes. Fortunately it was still fun- we had some beers and played a card game called “Dirty Slut”. I unfortunately never got to be the pimp, but I was never the dirty slut either. The game included Lloyd saying the words “Dearie me” and so all was worth it. We also got free snacks and drinks since the plane was delayed, which would never happen in America, and so I got a grapefruit juice drink called “Paso de Toros” which means “I pass the bulls.” So that’s pretty cool.
Added again: Ok, I am in Buenos Aires and I already know that I am going to LOVE this city. Pretty much the first thing that happened when we landed is that a party train came by, named the “Tren de Alegria”, which I think must be very appropriate. It had a bunch of shirtless guys in the front who were about 16, lord, and a bunch of princess-dressed girls in the back. Possibly a Quincinera? Who knows!
Anyway the hotel is great, so that is nice. It is called “El Conquistador” which, I’m not going to lie, cracks me up. The flight was also nice, and we got actual snacks. American just can’t compete. See you tomorrow!