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Daily Life in Mendoza

Time September 17th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

This is gonna be a long one, so brace yourselves….


Today I’ll be talking about:
I. Daily life in Mendoza
II. Places to check out
III. Things I didn’t expect
IV. Things I did expect but are still weird
VI. Musica
VII. Links to previous posts
VIII. Sometime in the near future…


I. Daily life in Mendoza


I’m finally settling down into a sort of pattern.


Of course, everyone’s schedules here vary depending on what kind of family they live with and what classes they take. But this is what my life in Mendoza looks like so far…


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9 am – Breakfast


Usually coffee (or tea) and toast with an assortment of cream cheese (ish), jam, and of course, dulce de leche.




I’m already addicted to the stuff and scheming up ways to bring home as much of it as possible.
The past few weeks, breakfast has been happening without me, because I’m such a bum and can’t seem to drag myself out of bed before 11.


12:15 am – Scramble to finish getting ready




Quickly eat what host mama left for lunch/dig around for a Tupperware and take it with me, then run to catch the bus.


Lunch is most often a tortilla [THIS, not the kind you see in Mexico], maybe chicken and rice, maybe some kind of quiche, sometimes squash with cheese and marina sauce. Something quick and fairly simple. Sometimes dinner leftovers.


One of my friends almost always has a burger served on what I call “fris-bread” because it’s perfectly round and hard like a Frisbee. It’s still tasty, but it’s also funny.


1pm – Class #1


Learn things.




Chat with friends, explore. Coffee? Ice cream?


6 pm – Class #2


Learn more things. Depending on which class, I bus home between 7:30 and 9pm.


10 pm – dinner


I think my mom is an unusual Argentine, or maybe it’s for my benefit, but dinner is usually the bigger affair at my house instead of lunch. Lately, it’s the only meal we’ve been eating together


Midnight – Take the town by storm


Definitely on Friday and/or Saturday, possibly on Wednesday or Thursday, my friends and I meet up somewhere in town, maybe go out for drinks, maybe dance. It’s so bizarre for me to go out 2, maybe 3, nights a week, because at home I go out maybe once a month, if that. I don’t have the time or the venues back in the U.S. like I do here. I still don’t drink much—I think I like being able to buy drinks whenever I want more than I like drinking them. It’s just not my thing. I think I spend the most money on cab fare…but even the taxis are super cheap compared to in the U.S.


12 pm is “previa” (pregame) time. If you want to dance, nothing really gets started until about 2 am. Let me tell you: if you want to do the night scene, you gotta get serious about siestas. That’s what will keep you going at 4 am when the music is still hopping and you’re maybe not so much anymore.


I spend 90% of my time hanging out with three amazing girls from the program or scheming and plotting with them on Facebook. That was’t my intention when I left–I wanted to hang out with only Argentines, blah blah blah. But I’m really grateful to have these girls in my life. When I’m not in class or hanging out with my friends, I’m usually being a total bum, laying around haciendo fiaca (doing nothing.) I go to the park sometimes, because it’s only about a block from my house. Sometimes I also like exploring the city just to find a new cafe or store I hadn’t been to yet. Regardless, I’ve been really, truly enjoying all of my time here so far, so I’d say I’m doing pretty well for myself.


II. Places to check out


Going out


Depending on what kind of scene you’re looking for, you’ve got a few options.


Aristides (A. Villanueva on the street signs, turns into Colon when you cross Belgrano) is a street lined with almost nothing but bars, restaurants, and boliches. Lots of good ones, and I could probably write a separate blog entry about my misadventures in each. There are plenty of stores and business that are open during the daytime too, but for going out at night this is the place to go.


RumboPerdido (which translates into Lost Way) is another one of our favorites. I think my friend Lorri described it best the first time we went there and too it all in, the haze of smoke, the crush of gyrating bodies, the music… “It’s like a 90’s Latin house party.” It’s a good thing. They play a lot of kumbia, reggaeton, salsa… things like that.


Iskra is neat because 1) before 2 am, they sometimes have a live band, a la rock nacional 2) it’s spacious—there’s room to dance 3) they play EVERY kind of music, so if you don’t like what they’re playing you just have to wait 5 minutes for it to change.


Chakras is a hassle to get to because it’s outside of the city, but it’s nothing but boliches, a lot of the most acclaimed ones.


Ice cream


My friends and I learned the hard way that ice cream is one of those cases you shouldn’t buy the cheap-o version. We had an…interesting experience at Grido: the mint chocolate chip flavor there tastes exactly like a trip to the dentist’s office, gloves and all. But, no worries, there are good ice cream places here: Mailho, Perin, and…there’s another up in the sexta seccion, but I don’t know what it’s called. It’s up there though, a little beacon of frozen dairy hope.


That’s not even half of what Mendoza has to offer, but I think half the fun is exploring and finding your own new favorite places.



III. Things I didn’t expect


1 – Clothing is dictated by calendar more than the day-by-day weather. I’ve had people stare at me for wearing a t-shirt when it’s 70 degrees outside. “Aren’t you cold?” they ask.


“How can you stand to wear a jacket right now?” I reply


My host family also thinks it’s weird that I walk around in socks, even weirder if I’m barefoot. They worry about me being cold, constantly.


When I was packing, I had this attitude that, if I forgot something or ended up needed something when I arrived, I could just buy it in Mendoza. While that’s still technically true, I really don’t recommend putting yourself in that position with clothing, because it’s not cheap here. Partly this is because it all gets shipped to Mendoza from Buenos Aires, so part of what you’re paying for is the price of gas. I feel like the quality of the clothing is also not as high as the U.S. equivalent.


I ended up buying a pair of heels here for $65 USD (the last pair of shoes I bought at home was like….$12), but that’s relatively cheap for shoes here. Argentines have good taste in shoes though, at least.


Other clothing trends are a bit more dubious.




Leggings are very popular, especially in crazy patterns, especially with boots. Scrunchies still exist—very 90’s. Fashion here is more…mixed up. I’ve seen shirts with lace AND tie die—so much happening in one article of clothing!


2 – Milk and eggs sometimes hang out on the counter for a few hours. You know, casual. In fact, you can buy dairy products on a normal shelf in the store, not always in the cold section


3 – The selection of veggies is pretty pathetic looking sometimes at the grocery store. L Sad lettuce. I have seen big, green, luscious salads here. They’re beautiful. But I also have definitely had all yellow-beige meals too.


4 – Clothes dry on line.




It makes sense when you think about it, but it hadn’t crossed my mind before I left. So I’m a happy environmentalist…except for when it rains. Don’t let anyone tell you that it doesn’t rain in Mendoza. So, I recommend you bring LOTS of underwear, in case of laundry mishaps.


5 – You pay for your ice cream, THEN you claim it, rather than picking it out and paying for it after. We had an awkward moment before we learned that…



So much hair.


7 – It’s common for many families to skip dinner (or eat only a light, snacky dinner) Sunday nights. I’m sure it’s because Sunday is also ASADO DAY for most people. Asado = never ending food, super heavy food, and you feel like you need someone to remove you from the table via construction crate. I don’t blame them for not wanting to eat more. Your host family is required to have food for you somewhere, but they don’t have to cook for you Sunday nights. My friends and I have taken it as an opportunity to eat out together. This Sunday we’re hunting down Mexican food if it kills us.


IV. Things I did expect but are still weird


1 – Food goes right into the fridge, usually no lids, no tuperware, no saran wrap.


2 – Guys in clubs don’t understand the words, “no, I don’t want to dance with you, go away.” A guy grabbed one of my friends by the face and just planted a kiss on her. The good news is that most guys here know how to dance at least a little bit and they’re not all grabby jerks, but you might have to drop an elbow on a few people.


3 – Toilet paper is almost unheard of in public bathrooms. Some of the best advice I got was to bring hand sanitizer and tissue packs from the U.S.


4 – Clubs—you’ll stink like all the world’s cigarettes. Like in the U.S., it’s illegal to smoke indoors here. Unlike in the U.S., nobody cares.


5 – Not all Latin American food was created equal. Beans, chiles, corn chips, flour tortillas—that’s what I’ve been trained to expect. Argentine food usually isn’t like that. Think Italian food. And, of course, red meat.






que garron – That sucks
hacer aguante – (from aguantar, to hold onto) this is what it’s called when a guy tries to set his friends up with your friends in a club so that he can have you to himself.

gavilan – 1) hawk 2) a good-looking, macho man
mina – chick, girl
lomo – 1) sandwich with thinly sliced cuts of beef 2) a hot bod
flaco – 1) skinny 2) a dude, guy, chico (slang)

manzo – (Mendoza slang only) awesome, great

Tal qual = asi es (That’s how it is / Yes, that’s right.)


VI. Musica




Calle 13 – Baile los pobres


This came on in the club last night. Enjoy.


VII. Links to previous posts


1. Antes de que me voy (Before I Leave)

2.  Host Families and Fun with Public Transportation

3. “Are You the Girl with the Blog?”

4. Playing Tourists in Buenos Aires

5. Looking Good, Mendoza!

6. A Detailed Guide on All Things Micro

7. Trip to Las Termas


VIII. Sometime in the near future…




Keep your eyes peeled for entries about:


The great Argentine road trip
A student’s life in Mendoza
Trabajo voluntario (volunteer work)
Trips to Chile and Neuquen

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