Vino for mio
So here’s the thing in Argentina: You go to a restaurant at the normal Argentine hour of 10pm because of course that’s the normal time to eat dinner. You sit down and the waiter starts taking your drinks order, and he asks if you want wine or water. In Argentina, despite the fact that the drinking water is completely safe, they only offer you bottle water. Each bottled water costs 70 pesos, con or sin gas, so the other drinking option of wine is 30 pesos for a copa. I sit there and think, well since it is only half the price, and I am in Argentina, vino it is then. Thus starts my grand Argentine drinking problem, where I personally blame the country because the alcohol is cheaper than the water, and as an economics major, I have to choose the most economic option. The best place to get this lovely vino is Mendoza, the wine city of Buenos Aires. This lovely city is located all the way on the other side of Argentina right next to the Andes mountains that border Chile. Mendoza is also known for its gauchos in the Andes mountain where they have plenty of wine and horse riding.
So per my usual trips in Argentina, Mendoza was another last minute trip where I heard that other student from my program were heading to this lovely town, so I thought I would be a good way to chill with some gringos and get drunk while we bike around this beautiful town and take pictures as one normally does. On the first day, I got to the airport at 7 in the morning and right away we went off on our first excursion: biking through Mendoza. This was an activity I didn’t take seriously when I signed up, because I didn’t actually think we would really be riding bikes while we were drinking wine, but of course I was wrong. Once again, Argentina was setting me up another scenario to possible kill me and amaze me at the same time. So the plan with this excursion is to take these bikes and bike through 4 bodegas and drink wine at each bodega while we tour. Well first off, the scenery was absolutely beautiful, but all that biking clearly showed me how much bad shape I’m in. Like god I really gotta start hitting the gym when I get back to Buenos Aires. Also the bodegas we went to happened to be extremely generous on the wine, making sure we never walked around without an empty copa. By the second bodega, getting on my bike didn’t seem like a viable option anymore. At the third bodega, we made the smartest decision of our lives by sitting down and having a nice meal. The only thing on the menu of course was steak steak and more steak. We pigged out on so much asado, and it felt so great. I could finally walk in a straight line and bike back to where we started. The coolest part of this trip was that we were able walk through the back of the vineyards and take pictures and eat some of the juicy grapes too!
On our second day of the lovely Mendoza, we all decided to go white water rafting. I have to admit I was nervous going on this trip because Mendoza in April can be kind of cold so the idea of plunging into even more freezing coldness made me want to vomit. So, we set off and it was so much better than I anticipated. First off, our original group doubled in size when we met these traveling english girls. Then, when we got there we met our hunky Italian tour guide Rafael. He would make us do this dog chant randomly everytime we were about to hit a big wave, and we always had to remember to “piso” so hit the deck when the waves were too strong. The best part of the whole experience was that I wasn’t even cold! They piled on us countless layers of thermals followed by sweaters.
On our lovely final day at Mendoza after we spent an amazing asado with the hostel was another asado. This time, the asado would be at an actual gaucho where we would horseback ride through the andes. This trip was my dream, I could already see my future profile picture in the back of my head. The mountains were unreal, in fact I never really how tiny I was as a person until I saw just these huge green mountains. The horses were relatively friendly, some more aggressive than others, kind of like general Argentine men. At one huge stopping point in the middle of the trip, all the horses decided it was their potty break and that’s when we could all know the genders of our lovely horses. I named mine azul, and it was a lovely beastly thing. This was a cool trip, probably low key the best experience of my life.