Life is going by so fast here in Mendoza, it's already April and I turn 21 in 10 days!
These are the main events that have happened in my life recently:
With the coming of April, came Easter and along with it my parents! After a flight delay they arrived only half a day late and we started the day of with a leisurely lunch then stroll around San Martin Park followed by a trek up to Cerro de la Gloria. They stayed almost a full week and we packed those days with adventures on the public transportation bus system, hiking, eating, drinking wine, strolling, and waiting. Some of the highlights included renting bikes from Mr Hugo's and biking to several different wineries in the district of Maipu. We tasted several different Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon wines along with a fantastic hamburger at one of the vineyards restaurants. I only want to eat hamburgers from this place for the rest of my life, everything else would be a disappointment. We followed some random persons internet instructions on how to take the bus to get to a hike up Cerro Arco. It proved as sketchy as I'd thought but fortunately there were people around to ask directions and a pleasant electrician/government worker showed us the way. The internet instructions said to walk down a dirt path, pass a clubhouse, and then hike up to the peak and all that would take a bout 1.5hrs. Well, for us that took 2.5 hours. The trek was very steep and kept going and going and going. We had straight sun for a large portion of the trek up, then as we began nearing the top we got clouds (Thank you Jesus!) The peak was so beautiful and it was very cool to see my city and the expanding provinces that I now call home. Dad was a bit behind, but we got to the top and rested, took photos, and ate lunch. Then the clouds looked a bit too menacing so we began our hike down, which was went by soooo much faster than the way up. The menacing clouds ending up letting loose some rain so we waited it out at the 'clubhouse' by drinking some wine and playing cards until the sun came out and the rest is history! We also did a horseback trip in the mountains that was absolutely gorgeous and we had an asado afterwards-just the three of us on the trip! There were so many fun inbetween details that made their visit funny, ironic, scary, nerve wracking, exciting, relaxing, fullfilling, and full of love and emotions. I couldn't believe how fast the week went and all of a sudden I was saying goodbye again, except for it was me staying and my parents leaving.
But on to other recent adventures!
A few weekends ago the other students on my program went to San Rafael, 3hrs south of Mendoza. We left not so bright and very early in the morning and after taking pit stops at a gas station for coffee and alfajores, at a station to check our passports (even though we were still in mendoza), and other stops on the side of the road to explain these weird road-side shrines, we finally arrived at the beautiful San Rafael! We had time to settle in and look around a bit then headed to a quaint restaurant for a 3 course lunch with a beautiful salad bar spread of various veggies, meats, cheeses, and greens followed by pasta (I chose ham filled ravioli type pasta with bolognese sauce that was to die for), with a fruit salad to finish up. I ate all of it and was so stuffed afterward. We went to the beach in the afternoon (luckily with enough time to digest the huge meal i'd just consumed). The beach ended up being a man-made lake that was dammed up, but don't let that make you think it wasn't beautiful because it was! We had to take a ferry to the beach and there were kayaks we could take out and a freaking huge and steep sand dune to hike up. I was glad for the opportunity to hike, swim and kayak because I knew I needed to work up an appetite for dinner :) needless to say I did and on our way back across the lake we got a mini tour around the lake. That night after numerous showering debacles (cold water and improperly functioning drains) we had dinner of the same decadent salad spread followed by milanesa with ham and cheese on top with Mendoza's version of tater tots. and of course, flan with dulce de leche for dessert. I ate it all plus my friends portion of dulce de leche. That night we all got together and played fun games and learned so much about one another it was the best! The following morning was a spread of pastries, alfajores, yogurt, cereal and fruit for breakfast then a great hike! I had some really great conversation with some of the other girls during the hike-I LOVE PEOPLE AND BONDING! The hike took us through the valley-up and down and winding and weaving. We ending it with a run down a sand dune! Lunch that afternoon was a simple salad, empanadas as an appetizer, then asado! <3 Asado is THE best thing ever, a bunch of meat to eat up and we did. Turns out this weird stuff that looked sketchy was actually delicious and my favorite and we later learned it was goat! Dessert was a fruit spread :) That afternoon we went ziplining, it sounds way cooler than it actually was. But we did our best to have fun. It was five different lines, over a dried up river. The height wasn't anything compared to what i've done in the states and neither was the speed. It was only $15, so i guess we got what we paid for. I was gonna use my 'go pro' but brought the wrong mount, the footage wouldn't have to great anyways. I went last out of all of us and whooped and yelled and enjoyed it. After returning to camp we had a bit to chill and pack up so we played some games that left our stomachs hurting from laughing so much. All-in-all it was such a great bonding weekend with mis companeros. they are all such interesting, unique, and lovable people! i couldn't imagine a better group with which to spend my semester here!