A whirl wind returned to Mendoza to wish in the new year.
Once again this festive holiday was celebrated with Jorge’s wonderful family. A vegetarian asado (barbecue) and one whole Tuna was cooked on the embers.
The plan had been to continue the celebrations well into the early hours at a house party but at 02:30 we were only just leaving the family home and too tired to go on.
We returned home and opened the late remaining bottle of wine, meant for the party, for one final salud to wish in the new year. Two hours later and many more saluds and we are dancing around to YMCA.
The 1st day of the year and I was back at the bus station, I’d only just arrived 24hrs earlier. I sorted my ticket for cordoba, purchasing a seat on the last bus that evening.
The day was spent with family, eating the remaining asado and a short siesta back at the flat before our meal at Maria Antonieta.
I’d been looking forward to this, it’s Jorge’s works and I’d heard so many good things about the food and had already experienced hiss cooking.
Luna and Mauricio picked Marta and I up, me with my luggage for the week’s trip ahead.
The starter and wonderful, a warm salad and a bottle of red. Looking at the time the sudden realisation that my bus was due to depart in 45 minutes. 15 minutes later and there was no available taxis, the mains hadn’t arrived and poor Mauricio would have to drop me off at the station and mess up is own meal. Just as we picked up my bags the food started to arrive. They offered to pack my meal and amazingly a taxi showed up from nowhere to take to the station.
I love the taxi drivers of this colourful country, we must have gone through no less than three red lights, weaved and dodged the traffic to arrive at the station 6 minutes to go.
I speak every little Spanish and only know the basic layout of the city. The drivers could take full advantage of we foreign tourists and take detours but I truly believe they take the quickest and most direct route available. I’ve seen this many a time when I’ve known the route but my bags have been to heavy to do the journey on foot.
What I truly love about these drivers is our exchange of cash. I hand over a note to cover the fare and wait for my change. I know the amount as it always shows on the meter. They pull out their wallet. It’s fully of small notes, they clearly have the correct change 10 times over but always leave me short handing over a 10 or 5 and looking blank or replying something inaudible to me to indicate they don’t have the correct change to give me.
Getting me to the station on time and the small amount of change they hold back is around the tip I would have left so never have cause to make a fuss but I enjoy the blatant lie game they play regarding their change and so will never offer a tip and wait to see what happens.
I pulled out my jeans and fleece out of the bag, for the overly air-conned bus, when I arrive at the station before handing it over to be stored in the storage hold and off we went, 10 minutes late.
The food was amazing, perfectly cooked pasta with a wonderful pumpkin filling. My only criticism would be its need to be washed down with that delightful red left back at the restaurant with my friends in a much more fitting environment than the seat of a coach with an overhead light on as they’d turned off all the lights for the other passengers to sleep. Still you can’t have it all as they say.
Around 10 hour later and I’ve arrived, a short taxi ride later, and yes short changed, I step into my new home for the next few days.