Trip Start Apr 05, 2008
Trip End Aug 07, 2008

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Wednesday, May 14, 2008

We got to Mendoza at about 9.30am after getting the bus from Buenos Aires and were approached by some people trying to sell their hostels I donīt know how they knew we were not from there :-) We eventually picked a family run one and our first impressions were good. After we checked in we walked around the city centre and sat down in Plaza Independencia for a while before heading back to the hostel with some food for dinner. When we got back there was a bit of agro between the owner and one of the guests over the owners 6 year old kid who had pulled wires out of the back of the PC when the guest was using skype. After the owner was told about this he sided with the spoilt kid and told the guest he shouldnīt have been using that computer even though we had been told to use it when it was free. After dinner we played drinking games with the other guests and found out about a fight that the other owners kid had with one of the guests a few days earlier after which the guests jacket had gone missing which the son was now wearing. It was a strange hostel but entertaining for us.

The following day we went on a wine trip to three different wineries and a liquor place that mixed alcohol with chocolate and nuts and different things, they also made chocolates and chutneys, it was really cool and everything was done by hand by 10 people. The first winery was a standard one and we were shown the whole process of how they make wine nowadays we were shown the packing process where we seen the most boring job in the world. A woman had to sit staring at bottles all day (between 7 and 9 thousand every hour) to make sure the labels and caps were on correctly. After the tour we got to taste of some very nice red and white wines. The next winery was a historic one and we were shown all the machines dating back to the 17th century up to present day that were used to make wine. We tasted wine here aswel but it wasn't as nice as the first place. The third winery was an organic one, 1 of the 10 organic wineries out of the 1700 wineries in Argentina. Here we were shown the vine yards and the olive trees they have. We were shown the process of how the wine is made, which was very similar to the previous two, before we were brough to the tasting area. The wine here was very good, so good that we bought a really nice bottle of red wine for 6 euro.

We had planned to go to an aquarium on Friday but when we couldn't find it we went to the park for a few hours. While there someone tried to steal our bag off the bench beside us while one of the thiefs friends distracted us by asking the time. Someone on a different bench started shouting at us when he seen what was going on, Mairead then turned around and grabbed the bag. Later we went to a show (a transvestite show) with a Peruvian brother and sister who have been living in America for the last 19 years. After the show we went to the pub for a few more drinks.

We checked out of the hostel on Saturday to get our bus to Santiago. The bus trip was grand but it took ages to get across the border to Chile. We all had to get off the bus and get our passports stamped by both the Argentian and Chilean border control. Our backpacks were then x-rayed and checked by sniffer dogs for fruit and veg. Mairead had just thrown an apple away but the dog could still smell it so her bag got searched. All our rucksacks were then x-rayed and the bus was searched. After about 2hours we finally got across the border. We had amazing views going up and over the Andes.
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