Specialty for evil mosquitos: flesh a la sage. Seriously. I saw this on the menu at the local water hole. They have it out for me and there is nothing that I can do to protect my self from the vermin of the sky. I am currently sporting over fifty mosquito bites on my body, for some reason they are aligned into rows, the constellations of pain on my red raw flesh. My wandering fingers bring me no peace. But all is not lost, Orin is very good at kicking my ass when I need it and making me not scratch. Don't scratch. Don't scratch. Maintain.
These constellatiosn of death were obtained in Che Gueveras house, oddly enough, but that story will come after. First comes Mendoza.
Mendoza was pretty cool. It is a big city with an absolutely massive park. We visited it one day, and walked around for a while, where we found a nice patch of grass by a small lake. It was very peaceful and we were model citizens, playing cards, writing in our journal and just generally relaxing in the sun. There was a bunch of trees that were just covered with carvings inscribed by passerby's, mostly the typical Jose y Maria. Te amo siempre (I love you forever). And we all know that Jose left Maria after he found out she was knocked up.... by a different man (slut!). Oh the tragedy of the tree carvings. So of course we carved our names into the screaming bark, the good old Sage and Orin enclosed in a heart with an arrow peircing through it. Oh yeah baby! We will not share the same fate as Jose and Maria, as I am a smart girl and use birth control so I can sleep around discreetly. Joking. After chilling for a while we walked over to this crazy carosel that didn't just have horses, it had a crazy town lion and a car and a plane and other things. There was also a little race track that had 5 year olds whizzing around on scooters. Very terrifying.
Our time in Mendoza was awesome but crime was always looming over the city. A very nice couple from america that we befriended had their passports and money stolen. Very sad, but they were a positive couple so they didn't let it upset them too much (though she was close to tears telling her story) and they had plans to get new passports in Buenos Aires so that they could make their flight to Colombia in 5 days. Yikes! I would have been freaking out if I were them but they kept it calm. We bought them a beer to change the tides for them, and they just fell over themselves in appreciation. It was really sweet. They went on about how there are so many good people in the world that it was just a reminder not to let you down....man...the things you can do with a 3 dollar beer! Haha, awesome. I hope that it has all worked out for them. Just before we left a couple of girls from our hostel got mugged just around the corner. One of them screamed and kicked and got away, while the other just got cleaned out. They seemed pretty shaken up, and I felt so bad for them. Hopefully they can get past the fear that must be embeded in them after such a freaky experience and enjoy the rest of their travels. The most profound thing that happened while we were there was the shooting of a taxi driver. We were trying to go out on Saturday night, but no taxi's would stop for us. When one did he only muttered that they were not working tonight and then sped off. We tried another and another, but got the same pissed off response. It took us a while to find someone who would explain to us what happened. A taxi driver was robbed and murdered that evening, while making a routine drive. Apparently this had been happening more and more often in Mendoza, and the taxi drivers were pissed the fuck off. You could see the darkness in their faces, the anger throught their bodies as they moved around town.
We made it out that night as South american rules were followed, where money can be made, make it. So there was a number of citizens now taxi drivers whizzing around in their cars picking people up, but they were still relatively scarce. We got ride with one of these, a very nice and talkative guy who explained a few things to us. He dropped us off a couple blocks before the downtown core, as the taxi's had blocked off the streets. They were everywhere, blocking off main streets with their yellow cabs and stone stares, daring you to confront them. No one would. No one even honked. Behind them in the street there were tires burning. As we walked down the main street we saw they blocked off every single road leading to it, forcing cars to turn around one by one and leave. It was pretty crazy. For us, we had a good night. We were with a couple of weird europeans, but they kept themselves amused flirting with eachother, and we played some pool and drank beer. The beer was pretty cool, they served something called a torpedo. It was a big tube of glass with a tap off the side that you poured your own beer out of. Probably had 8 or 10 beer. Awesome.
Another excellent aspect of Mendoza was the fact that our hostel had a little movie selection, so we got to be complete nerds and lump out on the couch, watching the second and third lord of the rings. It was awesome.
Ah, and last but not least, we did a sweet little wine tour. We took a city bus out to the small town of Maipu (the name was mocked numerous times, especially when I acidentally called it Maipoop) which is littered with winerys. There we rented a bike from an excellent place called Mr.Hugos, and spend the afternoon pedalling around the country side. First we went to the wine museum slash winery, where we learnt a lot about the history of wine. They showed us all this crazy gear that the Jesuits used back in the 16th century, all made out of animal hides and such. Pretty neat. Then our guide told us about all the improvements and gave us a little tour of their winery. Then we were given a glass of wine to taste, which was pretty good. And all for free! Wow. Next we rode about 7km, which is about 6km more than I wanted to, and found myself an olive orchard, or whatever you would call it. Awesome. I felt at home. Though it was not harvesting time it was neat to see the olives on the tree. They also gave us a taste test of little peices of bread with their olive oil drizzled over, some with very tasty sun dried tomatoes on it. Plus a little bowl of olives on the side. This whet our appetites and we spend a while lazing under an olive tree eating sandwiches and laughing like maniacs for no reason at all, until we got kicked out. Inevitable.
We rode most of the way back to find that all the wineries were closed, though we kind of heard you see one you've seen them all, plus the others were quite expensive. We stopped off at the chocolate factory for a little tasting, which was really just quite weird. They started you off with your choice of liqueur. We both got a chocolate based one, and they were quite delcious. Next they gave you a little bowl of suprisingly shitty chocolate, which we had to hide half of (it's actually still in my back pack come to think of it...). Then we got to choose a couple of types of marmelade to try. Now here, any rational person would be thinking, oh, that's nice. A little marmalade on a cracker or bread. Tasty. Not so. They just gave you the jar and a little spoon and you ate it straight. Odd.... I tried an olive one, which was tasty, and a dulce de leche con chocolate. Which wasn't bad... it was just like... eating marmalade... straight. If we'd have known we would have brought our own bread. haha. Rental time was running out so we returned our bikes to find them handing out free wine, so we took a seat. We drank a glass but had to flee as we got corned by a Vancouver yuppie that kept on going off about how awesome the west side is and how she is so sad she has to move to toronto....yeah.... too....bad. not.
We bussed back to town, and by then it was time to catch our bus. We got the 1030 pm out, which meant we arrove at Cordoba at like 8. There we caught up on some sleep and then caught the afternoon tour to the nearby town of Alto Gracia, the location of Che Guevara's house now tribute museum. First we randomly stopped at a Jesuit estancia for fourty minutes, which was neat, but kind of lame as we didn't have enough time to fully explore the museum. It was fairly well set up, lots of pictures and a map showing you where he travelled to. We have followed a very similar route actually. Boo ya. Good taste Ernesto. They also has his old Norton, which was pretty damn awesome, though missing a lot of parts. (This is a motorbike folks), as well as his pedal bike which he also did a small but awesome tour of Argentina. All in all it was pretty interesting, but extremely lame that they wasted all your time on a random Jesuit estate, resulting in us getting kicked out before we were done. I was just starting to read his letters to his kids! nooooo! I guess it might have been for the best as I may have ended up with a hundred bites instead of fifty.... lucky me...
The next day we left at noon for our lovely 22 hour bus ride. It went quite smoothly, they played a couple movies, one possibly being the worst movie ever. If you are ever feeling suicidal please, go rent this movie, as you will feel the need to live so that you can find and kill the people who made this movie. It is called Little Man, and may be the stupidest movie I have ever seen. Who the hell would ever mistake a midget for a baby. Pubic hair people. Come on! This was the third time we have had to endure this trial of a movie on this trip, and if it is played on another bus, and enclosed space that I cannot escape, I am going to scream. Other than this piece of garbage movie, the bus ride was pretty good. They served us dinner at like midnight, randomly waking us up and kicking us out of the bus. We didn't know what was happening, but wandered into the restaraunt where they sat us down, gave us empanadas, mashed potatoes and a milanesa, all for free. That's a bonus about buses down here. They include all your meals (most of the time). Usually it is like a white bread butter sandwich, no crust, like they served for lunch (no joke), but sometimes you get lucky.
I awoke this morning as we pulled into Puerto Iguazu. Awesome. We found a hostel fairly easy, which we were worried about as it is easter weekend. Here in Iguazu there is a massive and gorgeous waterfall. Today we went to the park, but avoided the extremely busy waterfall, as it is supposed to die down tommorow. Instead we went for a walk through the jungle to a tiny waterfall, which Orin described as being the equivalent to him pissing off a building. It also had a colony of gigantic flying red ants, the massive kind that only jungles can produce. I am not a bug person so we flew the coop pretty soon after scarfing down a sandwich, eye on the giant red ant that was lurking beside us. Not cool. Though this was anticlimatic, the walk was beautiful. We saw massive ants, massive spiders (it gets better and less terrifying), a big ass praying mantis, some pretty birds, hundreds and hundreds of butterflys, which were a little too touchy for my liking, and my favourite, a pack of anteaters practically ran into us! It was awesome. They were so cute and fearless, coming so close to us. There was some babies with them, and they climbed around trees, jumping off randomly, and raided the jungle floor for those massive tasty ants. I cheered for them, eating all the creepy bugs that were out to get me.
We returned home to cook up some gnocci and lentils (i thought it was pasta sauce...) which was pretty good. Now for bed! Happy easter everyone. I hope that you have a good one, and seriously, cherish your family and friends and the ones you love, the ones that love you. Don't forget what you have right infront of your eyes, though it may become invisible under the guise of time. I love and miss you all so so much!