Spanish school, falling down drains, earthquakes and muggings!
23.03.2010 34 °C
The day after we arrived we headed straight to the wine region of Maipu on the bus for a tour of the bodegas (wineries) aon bicycles. It was great fun cycling around the vineyards on a stretch of road 9km long and popping in to some of the bodegas for tours and tasting. Our favourite was a small family run bodega called Carinae, where a sweet girl gave us a tour and explanation about how all the different wines were made and then let us taste some. I know nothing about wine and it usually all tastes the same to me, but I cactually liked this stuff and could clearly taste the difference between the 3 that we tried - Mum and Stephen, you should be proud of me, haha!
The mixture of sun, cycling and wine menat that the cycle back was rater more fun then the way there, but we got there safely and got given even more wine to try when we returned our bikes to the hire place!
The next night, (so within 2 days of arriving in Mendoza) I managed to ensure a stay of 4 weeks by falling down a 4ft concrete drain outside Caríllo Boliche (nightclub)! So I waited on crutches to see a Traumatologist after the weekend and the very handsome doctor took one look at my ankle and put me in a cast for 3 weeks telling me to come back every week to see how it was healing - luckily it wasn't broken though!
Josh and I started Spanish School that day too, it felt great to be finally learning the language proeperly and learning all the rules of grammar that we had been unsure about. I managed to hobble out to a bar on crutches with Ashley and Alastair, an American girl and South African guy we had met at Spanish School that week. We met at a live music and wine event on the roof of the government buildings. It was beautiful to see over all of the city and we didn't have to queue; we had just arrived and got in the queue of about 30 people and a man came over and immediately took us to the front and up the lift because I was on crutches! I had no idea what was going on and when we eventually realised that he wasn't taking us up a different way, but just pushing to the front, all we could do was apologise to everyone else who was waiting!!
We experienced again the lateness that Argentinians go out - the nightclub didn't even get started until 2am, so that ensured a night out until 7am and with a 8.30am start at Spanish School it nearlly killed us!
I did a second and a third week of Spanish lessons, but Josh got ill and then decided to go and check out Cordoba whilst I continued with Spanish School. The last weekend I was there was an eventful one. There was a wine harvest festival starting the next week so they gott started with a huge wine tasting open air even along one of the main streets, Belgrano. We had to pay only 25 pesos (about 4 pounds) to taste 6 glasses of wine - it was great and I really started getting into the wine tasting. None of us knew what to try and there were hundreds to choose from so we asked around and ended up trying some really good ones, and some not so good ones - my favourite being Trapiche's Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend from 2007 - yum (and this is me saying yum to red wine so it must be good, or similar to Ribena, one of the 2!) I unfortunately had to give some of mine away though as I had been really ill the night before and didn't want to get ill again!
The next day we had an asado at Spanish School and then at night we celebrated Steve's birthday at the new Underground Boliche. I had the cast off my leg, which actually made dancing more difficult as I had nothing to protect it from girls heels and no restriction to how crazy i could dance, lol. At 3.30am that night the earthquake hit, the funny thing was, we were all dancing away and Alastair fell over, and we just laughed at him thinking he was too drunk, but it turns out that was the time of the earthquake - crazy! I felt the aftershock the next night though, I was so scared and all acdvice about getting into doorways went out of my head and I just lay there on the bottom bunk of a bunk bed and waited for it to stop - stupid girl!!
The last eventful thing was being mugged in an internet cafe and spending hours in a Spanish police station Not a good ending to my saty in Mendoza. But luckily Steve, Tom and Alastair, whom I had made friends with at Spanish School, lent me money and took me bowling and to play pool to cheer me up. Then on my last night there we went to an Italian Fayre in Plaza Italia and ate take away pizza whilst listening to Italian Opera - it was lovely and I felt like I was at a concert at home.
I said goodbye to Steve and Alastair who are staying in Mendoza for a while, and got the bus with Tom and Jessica (a Swedish girl from my hostel), to Salta to meet Josh.