A Travellerspoint blog

MENDOZA!!!

Part 1: Wine, food and more wine

sunny 24 °C
View Otatu - Our Trip Around The Universe on TADtheband's travel map.

After we finally managed to pull ourselves away from the magical Cool Raul hostel in Rosario, we boarded a luxury bus to Mendoza, the wine capital of Argentina. Dave Blainey had now joined us with a load of fruit for the 24 hour bus journey. The bus was fully equipped to entertain us for the long trip, huge reclinable chairs, hot meals, a selection of The Rock's best movies and bingo! That’s right, bleedin’ bingo on a bus! We were given little slips of paper with a bunch of numbers. Then the bus conductor began pulling numbers from a little bingo machine and reading them allowed, in Spanish. This really tested our newly acquired Spanish skills as most of us couldn't even count past 10 or so.

We arrived the next day in a sunny Mendoza. We managed to avoid all the awaiting taxi drivers who would have loved to rip us off. There were an abundance of hostels to choose from but we couldn't overlook the words “Point” and “Break” since we still hadn't found a copy of the Keanu Reeves epic Point Break. The hostel was called Break Point and it was totally overpriced but if any hostel in Mendoza was going to have a copy of Point Break, this was the one. It didn't.

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A hard day's work

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Endless grape vines

After settling in we headed out to "Bikes and Wines" to start our tour of the wineries. Our cycle took us through fields and fields of vines which were all destined to end up as fine bottles of Malbec. There were wine museums, wine cellars and huge buildings with endless corridors of massive barrels. Of course, there was also plenty of sampling to do. We were even taught how to sample the wines... although we did have a tendency to forget to spit the wines out after tasting them.

Random Fact
Dublin’s O’Connell Street Bridge is wider than it is longer and therefore known as a “choad”.

There was also a place that produced a range of spirits too. That’s when things started to become a little blurry. The owner used to produce whiskey, rum and absinthe as a hobby for 18 years before turning his "hobby" into a business. So we simply had to try some of the absinthe before getting back on the bikes. It was disgusting. When we got back on the bikes Tilly had noticed that his bike felt a little different... but not because he was locked, but it was actually missing a pedal! We found out that some toss pot had stolen Tilly's bike and left his broken one for Tilly to ride. Some of you might remember that Tilly is a member of the all male bike group The Cobras. He quickly informed the other members who he happened to be rolling with. The Cobras had to react with vigour and stealth.

We could only presume that the thief would have cycled to the next winery and that’s exactly what he did. After identifying Tilly's bike we needed a plan. We wanted to go into the winery and get even drunker but we also needed to get the bike back. After a quick impression of Horatio from CSI: Miami we scoped out the area and found a load of crates stacked 6 feet high. We decided to hide our bikes behind the crates and swap Tilly's bike with the original. Then after downing a couple of glasses of fine wine we left the winery to find that the culprit had been out smarted by The Cobras. We rode out in glory and celebrated the retrieval of Tilly's bike by visiting yet another winery.

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Home made absinthe

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It smelt as good as it tasted

The next winery, where they produce Tempus Alba, was by far the finest. This modern facility looked more like a space aged science laboratory than a vineyard. There was also some really hot chicks both working and drinking out on the sun drenched patio. But the highlight was the room which looked like the facility level of Goldeneye on the N64, where Trevelyan (played by Sean Bean) is "killed" after Bond blows up the remote mines a little earlier than expected.

After visiting the last winery we had the long cycle home to contend with. So we made an executive decision to buy a bottle of wine and a cork screw and cycled home while handing the bottle between each other. I'd say the founder of the vineyard would be turning in his grave if he saw us swilling the wine straight from the bottle. Dave even managed to lob the bottle to Jack as they were cycling down the road.

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Facility level of Goldeneye on the N64

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Enjoying drinks at Tempus Alba

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The long cycle home

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Dave necking a bottle of wine

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I lost my John Deere hat only days before this

When we arrived back at the hostel we met a couple of Irish girls and shared a few more bottles of wine. Then Conor began to tell the greatest story ever told. As we all chatted we started talking about the river Liffey which triggered something inside Conor's head. He delved deep into his memory and recalled his most life changing experience. Before the tale had left his lips he must have known that this tale would surely change how all of us would see the world. Some say that this legendary story explains the meaning of life... I'll let you decide...

"...yea, when I was at French college I went swimming in the Liffey and eh... the next day... I didn't"

You might have to read it a couple times to truly understand the meaning. Conor's ability to describe whole cultures and the feeling of a nation at a certain point in time can be quite overwhelming. Don't let this intimidate you, it’s a god given talent that he has and we, as mere tenants of this beautiful world, should embrace these words. We were just blown away by the yarn he had just told, Jack even feel to his knees with emotion. From that point onwards our journey totally transformed as we now saw the world in a different light. God bless you Conor, God bless you.

We frequented the restaurant next to the hostel nearly every night and by the time we left we had sampled everything on the menu. They had this strange little dish called a steak pizza, which was a pizza that’s base was a steak instead of pizza dough. We also had the pleasure of having the beautiful Connie as our waitress every night, who found our attempts at Spanish very amusing. The only phrase we had truly mastered was thank you, to which Connie would reply "De naaaada" in a playful fashion. She also knew that after a steak dinner we were divels for a peach daiquiri.

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Derek, Connie and another one of the waitresses

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Conor & Jack

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The lads and Dave

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Trina and Tilly

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This was taken at about 6am

We hit quite a few night clubs in Mendoza and even saw some live music by mistake. Every place you went to would give you huge glasses of vodka with no room for your mixer, which is a complaint that I don’t mind making. We met a couple of people we knew from Buenos Aires, Trina & Dave who were delighted to see us wearing our Irish style tuxedo t-shirts. We were happily dancing the night away until Dave Blainey jumped up on a glass table and went straight through it. Then some other Irish fellow picked up Conor and dropped him on his head. Other than that, it was a great night. In a strange turn of events Tilly had arrived back at the room first and went straight in to the bathroom. Derek arrived minutes later only to hear a strange buzzing noise from the bathroom. He was intrigued and cautiously approached the bathroom door only to here the buzz become loader and more violent. The door was unlocked so Derek crept in to see the source of the eerie sound. He found a very surprised Ian looking like he had never done before!

... to be continued

Quotes

"Well we are averaging 3 bottles of wine a day, each" - Tilly working out a little maths at lunch.

“3 every half hour? Thats like one every 8 minutes or so” – For once Derek’s maths lets him down.

“I feckin’ love this ad” – Conor, as he watches an ad for Cif.

“One thing I’ve always wanted to do is blow glass” – Conor, as we discuss how our careers might pan out.

“I can’t remember the last time I had a beer... oh yeah, last night” – Conor, just after waking up in the hostel.

“They love their military dictators down here. Ye know with the economy goin arse ways in Ireland, I bet ye Willy O’Dea is planning some sort of military coup... and he’d have my support!” – Jack and Ian brainstorming

Next time on The Lads Go Around The World...

What was Tilly up to?
The lads go horse riding
18 year old girls
Ireland Vs England
and find out if the lads finally find a copy of Point Break!

Buy the Willy O’Dea t-shirt at...
http://t-shirts.cafepress.com/item/willies-coup-dark-tshirt/300231033

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PS
Apologies for all the mistakes in the last blog and thanks to all who pointed them out. I was far too hungover to proof read it at the time, but I've done my best to make sure that this post is mistake frree.

Posted by TADtheband 03:57 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Rosario 2: The Virus Hits Manhattan!

The conclusion to the nail biting Rosario blog! (it has nothing to do with Manhattan or a virus)

sunny 23 °C
View Otatu - Our Trip Around The Universe on TADtheband's travel map.


Last time on Tilly, Conor, Derek and Jacks World Tour…

The lads headed out night before their sky dive and got a little too drunk. Jack was fast asleep in bed. Derek and Conor fell unconscious after wrestling all night. All of Tilly’s head stands and the alike had left him exhausted and sound asleep. And Omar, who had promised to wake us or he would pay our deposit, was fading as his eyes grew heavy only minutes before our pick up time.

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The doorbell rang. Omar sprang to life. He opened the door and ran to the kitchen, then rushed into our room holding a jug of water. After a few slashes of water and 10 minutes of shouting and rushing around, we were out the door. Little did we know but we were delaying at couple of perfectly sober Israeli guys who were skydiving with us. We eventually got into to the waiting cars and headed off to the air field slightly drunk but definitely hung over. Unfortunately Dave Blainey was nowhere to be found… apparently he was too hung over but others speculated that he was a big girls blouse.

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Omar and "his women"

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Derek absolutely besotted

The sky dives were done one by one which meant there was a lot of hanging around before hand. The Israelis went first so most of our time was spent asleep on the grass. The lads went to find a shop and Adam tasted his first Oreo and loved it. Spiderman came to visit us again and we talked about the sky diving scene in the Keanu Reeves & Patrick Swayze classic Point Break. Because Jack was fast asleep he was elected to go first after the Israelis had finished. Probably because Jack was soooo hung over Jack hadn't a drop of nerves and jumped on the leapt plane. As the plane gained altitude the co-diver kept tightening Jacks straps. Jack found that straps were much too tight but when falling out of a plane he wasn't going to start questioning the experts and before he knew it he was jumping out at 1500 feet or so. As he fell through the air at 200kph he totally forgot he was hung-over and enjoyed the incomparable rush of hurdling towards the ground while strapped to an Argentinean man. The co-diver then did a tumble so soften the blow of the shoot opening and they began to float down to earth.

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The lads before the jump

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Spiderman and Adam's crotch

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Jack's hair after jumping out of a plane

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Anna lying on the sleeping boys

The co-diver, or whatever he’s called, then asked Jack if he wanted to do some twirly-wirlies and of course he did. I might of failed to mention that Jack has this little "thing"... when his head tilts back to far, he becomes a little faint and on one or two occasions he has completely conked out. But this happens very rarely as Jack doesn’t have a tendency to tilt his head that far, that often.

So, as they twirled around and around, Jacks head was being forced back further and further until he gently feel asleep. The co-diver didn't have a clue what had happened and was trying to wake Jack by smacking his face. After a few minutes had past and just before they landed, Jack came to and was able to lift his legs and land safely. Jack was still buzzing from the sky dive but was white as a ghost. He was also unaware of what had just happened. To Jack, it had felt like a blink of an eye when in fact, he was gone for about 2 or 3 minutes. Fortunately this didn't put the other lads off and we all ended up jumping out of the plane. Tilly got on the plane but obviously wussed out of the jump because ten minutes later Spiderman parachuted down to the air field shooting his webs of love.

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Downtown Rosario

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Derek doing the limbo at one of Cool Rual's many parties

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We did do a little sight seeing

That evening we treated ourselves to a fancy steak dinner. We headed to Lattuella, a fancy restaurant in downtown Rosario. We had great fun with our waiter as we attempted our broken Spanish and he attempted his broken English. Every waiter in the place seemed to be a jolly old Argentinean man, each one of them a real character. He convinced us to by a bottle of Champagne “and with our economy we would be fools not to”. By the end of our 4th course the restaurant began to empty and we were well on our way. Our words began to slur and every comment we made sent us into fits of laughter.

As the restaurant was beginning to empty, one of the waiters leaving waved to a couple he was serving earlier. He clearly wasn’t waving at us, he wasn’t our waiter nor did he even look like our waiter, but Conor leapt up like a salmon, waved dramatically back to waiter as if he was in the airport scene of Love Actually and nearly fell to the ground with his enthusiasm. But it wasn’t just a wave, it was like an emotional lunge of desire. It was as if Conor wanted to embrace the waiter like a mother to her new born child. It’s hard to describe Conor’s compassionate response as it was so sincere yet totally misjudged. We fell about the place laughing at him as did the waiter and the remaining customers in the restaurant. Conor had to leave the restaurant as he was in incontrollable hysterics; he face was cherry red as he struggled to breathe. He spent the next 10 minutes outside trying to calm down. And every time he tried to renter he would see us still laughing at him and he would break into another fit of laughter.

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Yet another hot girls in Rosario

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They love the Irish here

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Dave & Conor droppin' some moves

After another night out celebrating our sky dives, we headed back to the hostel at about 4am absolutely plastered. Most of the hostel had already gotten home and were wrapped up in bed. As Jack went to bed and Til watched telly, Derek and Conor had a bit of a wrestle in the lobby. This got the lads blood pumping and with out a moments thought Derek had jumped in to Friya’s bed (a young innocent English girl). She was quite shocked to find a drunken Irish man jump in to bed with her as she was sound asleep. She shouted "There's an Irishman in my bed" to her friend Jane in the next bed, who simply grunted a profanity and rolled over. This left Friya at the mercy of our smooth talking Derek.

"Are you sure you want me to leave" asked Derek.

"YES" Friya replied promptly, to which Derek responded "But your hair smells so nice".

The next morning everybody was having a laugh at Derek's expense. Omar rushed upstairs to our room (which was a filthy disgrace) and woke Derek up shouting "Why you rape my women??!!" Jane and Friya no longer called Derek by his name, instead they used Rapey McRaperson. Then Omar convinced us to stay another night for the 2nd time.

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Friya and Derek

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Tilly and Jane

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The lads

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Did somebody say Appletinis??!!

There was an Argentinean guy staying at the hostel for a couple of weeks. He had met some other Irish guys a couple of nights before who had gave him a nickname as they struggled with his real name. He was failing to remember his nickname until he recalled that it was the name of the only Irish footballer he knew. After going through every Irish international footballer he jumped with delight as Tilly said the magic words… Tony Galvin!!! Why was Tony Galvin the only Irish footballer he knew??? We’ll never know.

Random Fact!
If you dived out of plane without a parachute 15 seconds after somebody else, you could catch up with them before they deployed their parachute... just like Keanu Reeves caugh up with Patrick Swayze in the cinematic epic Point Break.

That night, after a few games of Irish Mushroom, we hit a club down by the river. Copious amounts of Vodka and Speed were consumed... by the way they call Red Bull 'Speed' in Argentina. Conor managed to befriend a taxi driver so our lift to the after party was sorted before the bar closed. This was not the first time Conor had ended up chatting to a guy, it was beginning to become a habit. Derek chatted up some really hot Argentinean girl only for her to point out that he had already chatted her up the night before much to Derek’s surprise. He rarely chats up girls twice, so she must of been something special.

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Conor and his Taxi driver friend

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The legend that is... Omar!

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A couple of weirdos

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Conor enjoying one of many beers

Every now and then we'd leave the dance floor to get a drink until Omar started complaining that he'd get bored without us on the dance floor, awww bless him. Our dance-offs, flirting techniques and moon walks kept him entertained all night. We also found out that most of the locals would only have one drink before moving to bottled water. This was not because they we all snorting charlie and the alike, but it was because they don't like to get too drunk incase they'd embarrass themselves. We were obviously a breath of fresh air, we didn't care what we did or how we looked doing it... basically we were the greatest thing in the world, at least that’s what we thought at the time. We probably pissed off everybody that wasn't in our extended group of newly found friends... which was a lot of people. But most of them simply stuck their noses up at us and we didn't really notice at the time.

We ended up and this really dodgy place that stayed open until about midday the next day. Omar told us to “cool it big time” going in here, so we did... for a while. The place was full of... characters... but it was packed so it was still a lot of fun. Derek was told by Omar's number 1 girlfriend that he looked like Toby Maguire and with that comment Derek's night was made and he was bursting full of confidence. We all got home at different times with different stories which are far too explicit for this blog. It was a great night to finish off Rosario.

Quotes

“I f&*king love Oreos!” – Adam’s instant reaction after taking his first bite of his first ever Oreo.

“Did you rape my women?” – Omar after Derek’s late night invasion of Friya’s bed.

“There’s nothing like a fight to get you all rapey” – Derek’s “excuse”.

“That’s the last time we have a little rapey session Derek” – Friya, although she may regret only specifying this to Derek. She found Tilly crawling into her bed the next night.

“Hombre y Hombre” – Conor accidentally telling the taxi driver that he was gay.

“I’ll actually have to do a little origami before I can wipe my ass” – Derek after a little bout of the mud slides.

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Posted by TADtheband 21:04 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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