Argentina 2: Mendoza

So confession – I’ve been operating an hour behind all day.

I woke up this morning at what I thought was 9:00 am and casually went to breakfast.  GREAT breakfast here at Hostel Lao, by the way, with danishes and biscuits and good coffee.  However, midway through one of the girls starts wondering if it’s okay if she checks out a bit late, saying it’s getting close to 10:30.  I finish up breakfast, go back to my room and… my clock says 9:50 am.  So I’m thinking this girl is just getting panicked for no reason by the time.  I didn’t figure out until about 4 in the afternoon that it was actually 5…. good thing, since showing up an hour late for my night bus would kind of sucked.

Anyway kind of sold by Mendoza as a city in terms of layout and aesthetics.  Started my day getting a good sense of the new Mendoza by looking at the foundations of the old Mendoza at the Museo Fundacional (Foundation Museum).  Shows the old foundations of Mendoza, pictures of what things looked like after the earthquake, exhibits on the indigenous people of the area and some other historical items.  There was an AWESOMELY racist “Hierarchy” of the time with “Indios and Mulatos” on the bottom – crazy to think somebody actually painted that, just in case people couldn’t figure out racism without visual representation.

Kept walking around the town, past a neat church an on to Avenue Saint Martin, looking in to a bunch of stores.  If you wanted discount, Stitches type clothing, Mendoza would be the place to buy them.

Lunch time came and, of course, HAD to go with this one.  Mr. Dog!!!

First off, better than DoggiS.

Second of all, only a few hot dogs on the menu – mostly hamburgers.

Third of all, there was a DOG sleeping in front of MR. DOG!!! 

For all the love of hot dogs down here, gotta say, none of them taste any better than hockey arena dogs.  I think I could take a few packs of Shopsy’s and a pot of boiling water and hit it reasonably big down here.

Kept on going past Saint Martin and into the Plaza Espana (Spanish Square), which had a bunch of neat tile work and some cool pathways.  They also had some really sweet looking designer stores that I tried to return to later, but didn’t seem to be open.  Too bad, as my pant situation is currently suspect, with one pair missing a belt loop, one pair having a broken zipper and one pair having a leg sewn up by Peruvian porters on the Inca Trail.  We’ll see what happens later.

Now, on to the big trip for today: Cerro Las Glorias.

Cerro means hill, by the way, because I haven’t climbed nearly enough hills on this trip.  This one promised “Great views” of Mendoza, according to Lonely Planet.  It also offered a chance to kill some time before the bus tonight and an opportunity to tire myself out a bit.

So off I went.

For a LONG time.

It took about half an hour to walk from Plaza Independencia to the entrance of Parque Saint Martin, where the hill was located.  MASSIVE park, full of fitness buffs, massive jogging and aerobics groups.  Got a map of the park and started walking what I was told was 3 kilometres to the hill.

Again, TOLD it was 3 kilometres.

Really, it was 5.2  I know because I checked later.

Now, the view was pretty nice up at the top.  Huge bronze memorial to the Independence of South America and the wars that were fought to get there.  The path was paved, steep as all heck, definitely a good waste of time.  There was a sign up at the top that told me I had made it to 980 some odd meters about sea level.  Had a good laugh at that one.

Started the LONG walk back to the city, walked past some more squares, figured out the time, tried on some Stitches-style jeans and a crap looking jacket and had a massive burger before coming back here to the hostel to chill a bit before the bus.

The bus tonight takes me to Cordoba, which was the “Cultural Capital of South America” for a time.  I have one night there, then another overnight bus, and then finally Buenos Aires.

Everything before then just seems like appetizers.

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