Welcome to Mendoza. Land of wine, wine and more wine. Look, I'm sure there are other things Mendoza is well known for. But this was the part most people told us about... We just HAD to hire bikes from Mr Hugo and visit the wineries of the Maipal region. So on our first full day in Mendoza. We did just that. If you have a few spare minutes. I would like you to read on to learn about the injury, the English "stud" (or so he thinks), the sneaky Swedish slappers and the Dutch bottle opener that will change my future.
Once our bikes were hired and our maps were on hand, we embarked on our journey joined by Magnus, our friend from Norway and a wine lover from way back. (Side note. Justine and I met Magnus in Punta del Diablo. He really enjoys red wine...)
Stop one. The wine bar where five wines were tasted and two free bottles of wine were received. The gang decided they should continue to where they were told they could also get food. As wine on an empty stomach could make for dangerous riding. It was on their way here they had their first encounter with three English lads. Who seemed to be massive t*** ... But, we gave them the benefit for the doubt and spoke to them occasionally.
Stop two. I will refer to this as hitlers winery. There was a museum tour and wine tasting. We decided we only wanted to do the tasting and we asked an employee for directions. When a second employee emerged and yelled at us (in front of her tour group) that we HAD to do the tour and pay 100 pesos before we could taste wine... So, we joined the tour. It was in Spanish. So it was a waste of our time. We waited it out until we were standing near an open door... This was the moment we backed away slowly and slipped out of the door before running to our bikes and pedalling out of there.
Stop three. Not technically a location. But there was a small jump we all rode over. I went first, no issues. Justine second. No issues. Magnus third. No issues. Kim came up, and we blame it on the fact she is taller and has bigger feet, but her toe hit the ground and nearly ripped the nail off. Like a trooper. She insisted we keep going and just get her more booze to disguise the pain and throbbing. We iced it with beer, water, any cool beverage we could get our hands on. We don't think it's broken... But will let you know.
Stop four. It was hot. So we decided to make a stop at a craft brewery as beer is far more easy to consume on a hot day than red wine. It was delicious.
Stop five. This is where all the drama occurred. We found a nice vineyard with a rooftop bar and decided since we only really had an hour and a half left, we would stay. We happily sat there in the sunshine and one other pair of Dutch girls were also in the bar. Then, the three Englishman t*** ) from earlier turned up. With an extra lad in tow. They were complaining about the Swedish girls they had been with and wanted to get away from. Apparently one of the Swedish girls had a flat tyre. (Remember this fact... It will be important later...) So was coming along a bit slower...
Their new recruit (the "stud") was straight away interested in the Dutch girls sitting behind us, and went over to work his magic. It appeared to be going well for him, until he gave one of them his camera. And somehow, she deleted. Every. Single. Photo. We all felt bad for him... For about 15 minutes. She was exceptionally apologetic. But he complained and complained... (Damn whinging poms). He moved tables and sat with us. Probably hoping for some sympathy. We were trying to tell him there were worse things to worry about and that this would be a funny story tomorrow. He wasn't having a bar of it. He kept saying how the Dutch girl was flirting with him and wanted him but blew her chances when she deleted the photos. It was at this point she piped up and said "actually I wasn't at all interested in you... I am a lesbian and this is my partner" - referring to the girl she was with.
The bloke was shattered/humiliated. So he wrote them off completely and tried his luck with the Australian girls. One of us made a passing comment about having a boyfriend to which he threw up his arms and practically stormed off to go back to the recently arrived Swedish girls he had just been complaining about.
The time came for the bar to close and we all happily went to our bikes after several glasses of wine. But lo and behold... Miraculously, all the Swedish girls had fully functioning bikes. Where suddenly, my bike had a flat tyre. The sneaky swedes (with the help of an English twat) had swapped their tyre with mine! Justine was ready to wage war and chased after them to try and push as many of them off their bikes as possible while Kim, Magnus and I went to the servo to see if they had air I could pump it up with.
Stop six. No luck with the air. But made a call to Mr Hugo to come and rescue us when the Dutch couple appeared. We told them about the act of war from the Swedish that had occurred and we all decided it was necessary to open one of the free bottles of wine from earlier. But alas. No bottle opener... One of the girls said "no matter" and took off her shoe, put the bottle of wine inside it and hit it against the wall. Once. Twice. Three times and pop - the cork was out. We spilt a bit of red wine, but got a cheer from all the locals in the servo. But were quickly kicked out by the staff and resorted to drinking our bottle of wine on the side of the road until our rescue in the form of Mr Hugo appeared.
We reunited with Justine who told us about her bike chase with the English and Swedes and her confrontation. Allegedly, no one would look her in the eye and acted very coy when she explained to Mr Hugo that one of her friend was waiting for a rescue truck... a******s.
At the end of the day, makes for a great story though. Just like the Dutch lesbian deleting all the English guys photos!
Day two we went white water rafting. We were put on a boat with Oscar who made a deal with us right from the beginning. In hindsight... We shouldn't have agreed to it. But we did. If we fell in, we had to buy HIM a beer. Yes, like I said, we didn't think it through. There were three rafts total going along the rapids, yet somehow, only ours seemed to be hitting every rock, getting walls of water hitting us in the face, going backwards down rapids and having to steady ourselves when Oscar cried "get down"!
There was one moment when he said "if you would like to swim in the rapids, now is your chance". Justine jumped on in. Kim was still harbouring her cycling toe injury, so stayed put and I didn't fancy getting in the freezing cold water (not that it would have mattered, I was drenched anyway). Oscar called me over to pull Justine back in the boat and "perform a rescue" he said. I thought I was already pretty well practiced at rescuing Justine after the Tulum incident... But this time, I had someone working against me. As I steadied myself to pull her back in the raft, two hands shoved me from behind and I went A over T and landed on Justine in the rapids. f***ing Oscar pushed me in! It was all fun and games and was actually hysterical and we did get rescued eventually...
But now we say goodbye to Argentina and hello to Chile.