Carmelo to Mendoza
23.11.2005 34 °C
Carmelo again is a neat little town, it was also an old smugglers port, cobblestone streets, and a mixture of old and new with really old cars lining the streets and being driven around. There was also the horse drawn work carts being driven around.
Hired some push bikes and rode around the town, and then did a ride into the surounding country which comprised vineyards, cattle, and horses, and an exclusive resort which had a polo field and golf course - didn't go in just looked. It was quite a hot day but it was flat riding although the bikes were pretty basic and couldn't be adjusted too well for us. Sat around the main plaza on the last evening watching the world go by, and trying to get some photo's of the sights that you see like baby's being carried under one arm whilst mum rides the motor scooter, and kids doubling each other in the most unusual ways on pushbikes. It was amazing watching the people arrive at the main plaza around the same time with their maté and thermoses under their arms and then all just sitting around sipping their tea.
Off to Buenos Aires via Tigre on the 0500 ferry which took 3 hours across the river delta, and through chanels around islands. From Tigre we were put in a taxi with a couple of young Uruguay guys who helped us out at the ferry terminal making sure we got on the right transport and we had a good joke about the soccer with them. A fast 1 hour taxi ride into Buenos aires - put our backpacks at the bus terminal and then a bit of window shopping, and coffee shops in the city area watching the clock tick down until our bus. Got on the bus at 8.00pm for our 16 hour trip to Mendoza - and on this trip we upgraded to first class which gave us totally lay down seats so you could sleep on your side - not bad for a bus. We were downstairs with an english couple, a swedish guy with his mum who was from Mendosa and us so there was only the 6 of us downstaris. It was very comfortable. On the way out of Buenos Aires we went through an amazing electrical storm with the associated hail and heavy rain. enjoyed a steak dinner and a glass of wine before getting a few hours sleep before waking with the bus engine stopping. Apparently they were having trouble with the fuel transfer so we ended up waiting on the side of the road for a few hours whilst they tried to fix it and then waiting for another bus to come and pick us up. Finally got picked up but it was by an all stops bus so it took us an extra 6 hours all up befor we got to Mendoza. Pity because our original bus was really comfortable. The bus trip, first class cost us A$40 each for a 1,500 bus trip including wine and hot meal and breakfast - not bad.
Mendoza is a really pretty place with tree lined streets, and our hostel is the best that we have been in on our trip. It is only newish so is nice and clean, with a great kitchen, dining and lounge rooms, and a bar.b.que which we used a few times. Met up with another aussie couple returning home from england and a south african couple on their honeymoon on their way to australia for weddings and wind surfing. The staff at the hostel were really helpful and welcoming. On sunday night the owner and his girlfriend who was an emerican from Chicago had a barby for the guys family and we were included in the gathering and they showed us how to do a barby argentinian style. They were eating these huge rabbits whilst we had the local steaks which were just as huge. Had a good night with the family, trying to communicate with each other. One of the family worked in Sydney in Campsie, and his son went to Campsie Primary the school that Penny went to so that was pretty exciting. Did a wine tour of a small and large winery, and the large one had a really big musuem of wine history which was pretty amazing.
Started our extreme sports here, with a trek to 3 rapelling rock faces of 7,12, and 45 metres in height - Penny did all three. This was followed by watching the Dutch girl, who accompanied us, whilst she did some rock climbing - she was pretty good and climbed some pretty amazing faces free climbing. The rapelling was followed by a relaxing time at some thermal springs, which unfortunately were not that hot although they had a heap of pools and were still quiet refreshing. They had this one circular pool that was about 300m long, and 2m wide, that flowed in one direction so there was a clockwise current that was quite hard to walk against.
The next day was white water rafting - Dib was up the front and we had 7 of us and the guide - 3 other aussie chicks, a german couple and us. The guide was great and had been doing white water rafting around the world and he said the rapids were 3 plus a couple of 4 class rapids - it was really great fun and we ended up totally drenched. This was followed by 'canopy gliding' a series of wire rope runs across gorges and you are hooked to the wire by a carriage system and you control your speed by pulling down on the wire with a leather strip on your gloves. The last two runs are across the river 380m long and 30m high, and then 450m long and 80m up and these are great with the last one where you do not do any slowing down it is just a free speed run across the river. The company was really professional and safety conscious which was good. Got another CD of photo0s from todays events so more to bore you with at some stage. Last day in Mendoza spend in the city area as we don't leave on our bus until 8.00pm tonight, to Bariloche from where we will write again. Last weather report was that it is raining heavily down there and has been for a few days - oh well we have had pretty good weather for awhile so may get to do a bit of reading.