A Travellerspoint blog

The arrival

sunny 27 °C

iHoooola!

I have safely arrived to Argentina!

Where will I start? Maybe first I will tell you about my airplane adventure. The first flight to Madrid was over very quickly. Once in Barajas I had to take this awesome metro inside the airport to get to the next terminal. It must be huge! I had left the house at 16h, and got on the plane to Santiago de Chile by midnight. The flight would take about 13h30. I was impressed by the huge plane.. It’s the first time I got on a plane with different classes and I think it was about twice the size of a short distance plane. We also got blankets and pillows :) Once we took off they served us dinner (at 2 in the morning). When we finished they turned off the lights and there were 3 big screens where they played movies that recently played in the cinema, like Life Of Pi. I was so excited about what was going to happen and occupied with the movies I barely slept, haha. Right before we landed the captain pointed out that we could see the Aconcagua underneath us. Too bad I didn’t have a spot next to the window! Arriving in Santiago was sooo exciting. I was immediately searching for differences but actually it looked pretty much the same as any European airport, even though maybe a bit less modern, and besides the fact that we had to wait for a very, very long time to get on the airplane because they seem to be extremely slow and unorganized (shocker!).

Finally I arrived in Mendoza! At that time it was about 17h30 Belgian time. It took me about another hour to get through passport and luggage control and out of the airport. There an (xtrmly gdlckng) Argentinean addressed me and said Luc (my boss) asked him to come and pick me up. After 20 minutes we arrived at the hostel. Luc presented me to the whole staff who look like absolutely amazing people. I also met his wife and little Jamaica of 2 weeks old. She’s so tiny :)

A day before I left home I got a friend request on Facebook from Katrien, my new roommate. I didn’t know it before, but she said I was going to stay in a room with her. I was very happy because we immediately had a great click. The click with the room unfortunately was a bit less great since it’s about 4x3 meters big and you have to go outside for the shower and toilet. The outside area with pool and bar is really beautiful by the way. The hostel has an amazing homey vibe. Back to the room, I was afraid to give any comment about it since I think I should adjust to the circumstances, until Katrien started about the topic. She told me that there might be a solution for us since everybody agreed that it was not a good thing working and sleeping in the hostel at the same time. There is no space to get up in pyjama’s in the morning and the kitchen is shared with 40 different people when the hostel is full. Besides that, the room is situated right next to the bar. You can imagine I was quite happy when she proposed we could stay together in a room in the apartment of Leo, our co-worker (the executive boss). We immediately jumped in the car to check it out. It’s a very modern apartment with a balcony, a nice garden and even a pool. Katrien was almost jumping in the air (she had been staying in the hostel for about 1 week already). I also think this will be much better! The only thing is that it doesn’t have internet, so I hope I can find an operator which allows me to use internet on my phone.

The typical thing which is always a shock arriving to another country is the first trip to the supermarket. This time no different! First thing that I noticed was: they have about 100 products of the same thing. The point of that, no clue, because the store wasn’t filled with people at all and they were all buying about 5 things and looked at me like I was crazy for buying a whole basket. They also had a funny aisle filled with powder-packages to mix with water to make lemonade. By the way, here it’s not piña but ananá, not melocotón but durazno and not fresa but frutilla. In the beer-part I discovered the only Belgian beer they have is Stella Artois. The price for a 1,5 L is 21,65 pesos or 3,10 euro. The most exciting (in a negative way) for me was of course, for people who know me well, finding soy products. Which I didn’t… I asked the supermarket guy and he said something like “you are complicating things”. Haha! Thanks. I am well aware of that… :(

Back at the hostel Luc, Leo and Katrien threw me a small welcome party in the bar! I met with little Diëga (Luc’s daughter) who is a real showstopper. She is so sweet! After that we decided to have a drink close to Plaza de la Independencia which always has these cute stalls with artisan products and entertainment. I had another funny fruitdrink and went back home, midnight in Argentina, already 4 o’clock in Belgium, which meant I hadn’t really slept about 43 hours. A bed never felt so good!

At about noon the next day (today) Katrien and me woke up. Me with a serious headache, which fortunately was quickly gone after taking a pill. The sun was shining, the weather was sweet.. It was amazing waking up here. After taking a shower me and Katrien went for breakfast where we ordered some facturas, which are Argentinean pastries. Something typical are the media lunas, half moons, which are a bit like croissants. It was delicious.

At three Katrien had to start working, so I started writing this blog. I quickly decided though I had to go out and see the city. One of the guests, a 24-year old Argentinean from a bit further in the province would accompany me. We went to see a few of the different squares (because there are many) and walked through the elegant lanes. The thing that stands out most here are the trees. They are everywhere! It must be the greenest city I’ve ever seen. It’s also a pretty small city of course, and it doesn’t have much old buildings at all. They have told me though that there is an old city center too, probably a part that wasn’t destroyed by the big earthquake of the 19th century. It was funny to see the fountain water colored red in some places, a sign that they are celebrating the Vendimia (harvest) festival. Of course I felt most at home at the Plaza de España :) Yesterday, by the way, they crowned the Venidmia queen. Unfortunately I discovered too late that you have to pay to see this show, because I think it would have been amazing. During the day I also caught a glimp of a parade while we were driving to the hostel.

When we came back home Amadeo, the Argentinean guy, convinced me to try some mate. This is very typical herbal tea. You put the herbs in a small goblet and add sugar and eventually water. Then you use a straw made of metal to drink it. Each person needs to drink the whole goblet (like a small cup) before he passes it to the next person. Every time they fill it up with new hot water. I was a bit scared it would make me feel bad afterwards because Amadeo was telling me, while I was eating an empanada, that it’s bad to mix unhealthy food with the mate, but fortunately it didn’t. Still I must admit it’s true what they say: you have got to learn to love mate!

Here I am, midnight again, finally ending the story of my first two days. Tomorrow I will know more about the new place and everything will probably change again. Tomorrow I will also have my first day of “work”: a wine tour by bike. This will be so much fun. The only worry is not to get a sun-burn. What a luxury, right! ;)

A very big kiss,

Helen

Posted by ElenaMaria 03.03.2013 19:33 Archived in Argentina Tagged argentina mendoza culture_shock internship wine_tourism adventure_tourism

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUponRedditDel.icio.usIloho

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint