Catamarca to Mendoza was a long day. We started late, got lost on the way out, but made it 750 kilometers by 8:00pm. Argentina is another hour forward, four ahead of home. The sun stays up well into the evening. On the way there we met two Argentine brothers on BMW’s. One of them spoke perfect English and it turned out he had played pro basketball for the San Antonio Spurs. He was at least 6’8” with hair to his shoulders towering over us. The R1200 looked normal sized on him.
They said we could make it to Mendoza so we went for it. We pulled in late, but had a relatively easy time finding our hostel. It was owned by an older couple who made their money in the U.S. We parked the bikes, unloaded, and went to McDonald’s. The next morning Eddie and Lizzie arrived. Together we went out and chose a new place to stay. We ended up all four in a dorm outside of downtown in an overpriced, but convenient hostel.
We stayed in that room four nights, but didn’t do much. Argentina has turned into a trip completely based around food. We drank a lot of good coffee, ate out daily, and cooked cheap feasts every night. It’s nice to get a big weekend in every once in a while. Argentina is also a ‘siesta’ country. The whole place shuts down for a nap between 3:00pm and 7:00. You can’t buy anything, so you take a nap. It’s brilliant. One day we skipped the nap and took Eddie and Lizzie as passengers up into the mountains for a picnic to a place called Uspallata. The little ski town was a great break from Mendoza and we’ve ended up there again tonight.
Mendoza is a great city, but after Cafayate the wine town feel was lost in this city of over 100,000 people. Mendoza’s easily the best big city I’ve been to since Cali, Colombia. It’s clean, bright, and colorful. Full of life all day long with lots of pretty girls. But after five days of sloth we had to leave. So this morning we all got up and moved to a cabin in Uspallata. For $18/night we have a full kitchen, couch, satellite TV, internet, and Eddie and Lizzie finally have a private room.
We met a Californian named Andrew while buying dinner tonight. He came over for Charlie and Lizzie’s big roast cook. It was a full meal with plenty of great food. Tomorrow’s menu is already in the works and it will include sweets from the bakery.
I haven’t taken a single picture in Argentina. It’s been such an entertaining place to be on vacation that I can’t be distracted with a camera. People watching and eating are plenty. After waiting for so long for this atmosphere, it’s very rewarding. We’ll spend at least another night here and then head into Chile to explore. Then I plan to arrive in Santiago by the 10th to start sorting a bunch of stuff out. Bus schedules, bike shipping, bike selling, and when I want to go home. I could see myself hanging around a bit longer and getting all I can out of this part. Getting home for ski season with a little spare cash and starting a routine would be a good change of pace too. I don’t have a plan, but it’s becoming clear that the trip can’t go on forever. My mom is bringing down a new shock and bar risers, though. I’ll have to test them out.