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Horseback riding in the Andes

and a lot of hard work!

sunny 32 °C

iHolaaa!

In the meanwhile I have survived my first week here in Mendoza. What a week it was!

On Thursday I had my first day off. Me and Katrien were planning to do and see a lot of things, but eventually also Leo took some time off and we spent another afternoon by the pool. Leo came back as a lobster, haha :p We decided to have an asado in the night in the building next to the pool that is meant for common use. Asado is like barbecue, but they bake the meat on la parilla, which is more of a built-in grill made of stone. Even though it was past midnight when we could finally eat, it was delicious and a nice start for our time living together.

During the asado Leo had some exciting news for me: I could go with him, Juan and 5 tourists on a horseback riding trip in the Andes the next morning. I was normally scheduled to work from 10-17h, but he changed my hours to 17-24h. This meant it was gonna be a loooong day! Looking back however it was an amazing day I wouldn’t have wanted to miss for the world. We had a couple from Ireland who just got engaged that was coming with me and Leo for half a day (+/- 2h horseback riding) and 2 Dutch girls and 1 Australian girl who were going for a 2-day trip, with overnight stay under the stars.

First we drove up to the Valle del Sol (Valley of the Sun!) to the house of the gaucho (the Argentinean cowboy). It was exactly like we Europeans think South America is, he lived in a very primitive stone building, with his 25-year old wife and their 5 (!!) children. Next to that he has a ranch with about 15 horses, pigs, chickens, roosters and a lot of dogs (and 2 super cute puppies!). First we drank maté in the house. I saw from their faces that the other tourists also weren’t so enthusiastic about it, but like me, they bravely finished their cup.

After playing a while (well, a long while, because everything goes even more tranquilo here than in Spain) with the animals and the adorable children we got on our horses and on the mountains. Daniel, the gaucho, and his dog accompanied us. I was happy, because I have rarely sat on a horse in my life. I have to say, if you ever get the chance to go to Argentina: YOU HAVE TO DO THIS!!! It was one of the most unforgettable experiences in my life. You are high on top of this horse, at 2700m height, it makes you feel like you are on top of the world. I can’t say that much more about it, the pictures I uploaded probably say much more than words. After half of the road me, Leo and the Irish couple returned to the gaucho’s house, where his wife baked us a typical sweet pastry which was delicious.

What made the day also so special was the connection I had with one of the gaucho’s kids, Camila. Once I pushed her on her self-made swing she wanted to spend every minute on my lap. The Irish couple gave them some candy and they were so happy with it, it was beautiful to see.

Far behind on our schedule, we returned to the city. On the way back we made a little stop at the lake, which was very clear blue. Very tired, hungry and dirty me and Leo arrived back at the hostel and got to work.

Even though the office sometimes is very quiet, I love the work. The tourists are mostly young people, with all different nationalities and a million stories, and the majority is so nice. Talking with them is like a part of the job, and I’m happy to do it! During the excursions also I got to know a lot of things about many other parts of the world. It surprises me how some girls my age or younger are already travelling the world alone. Ending up at a hostel like ours, though, makes you feel everything but alone. I could almost compare it with an Erasmus. Everybody asks where you come from, where you have been, what you are doing in life. At night we had, like every Friday, another asado, so after work it became another very pleasant evening. Also Luc’s wife Virginia was present with little Jamaica and I finally had a nice talk with her :)

I do have to admit I had a rough time the last couple of days, because they let me work alone for some time already. In that time there were many things I couldn’t solve because I hadn’t been informed about them or I hadn’t been practicing enough yet, which makes you feel kind of helpless. Fortunately I could talk about it to Leo (in case it wasn’t clear yet, he is the manager of the hostel and agency and my flat mate) and he arranged that I could work with Claudia some more. Unfortunately this means she has to work longer hours only because of me. Thank god she is an amazing person who seems always happy to help.

Saturday I had my second day off, which in the end I spent doing not much in particular. I bought a SIM-card, so feel free to ask my number for whatsapp or anything else. I also spent lots of time talking to family and friends. I really miss everyone because it’s so hard to get on the internet. When I got home again I spent the last sun-hours at the pool before I decided to go out. Since I still haven’t met anyone outside of work (even though work consists of amazing colleagues and new guests every day) I decided to go back to the hostel. Since Saturday we had company of Reyn, a Belgian guy from Sint-Niklaas who is doing the bar sometimes to earn his nights at the hostel. Another very nice guy and also very energetic!

I had a bit of a problem with Leo when I left the apartment though, because he feels he should protect me. As we are so used to taking the bus at night I also wanted to take the trolley, but the streets are really empty here at night (outside of the bar street). So apparently he called Claudia, who was still working, to let him know if I had arrived. The next day he told me he would like it more if I took a taxi the next time, which is about 10 times more expensive. I don’t know what to think of it. It’s sweet, but I’m 21 and I would like to be able to decide about these things myself.

Once arrived at the hostel we decided to go out with a bunch of guests. Three Dutch persons, three Israeli, one American, one French and also Claudia and Reyn joined us to the biggest bar street of Mendoza, Arístides Villanueva. It seemed like the whole town was gathering here. Past one o’clock, the mendocinos were still tranquilamente having dinner, drinks and eventually went dancing. I didn’t like the place (better say music) where we went so much so I sat outside with Claudia for a while (I’m getting really close to her) before the others joined us. It was really cool to talk to the Israeli guys. Unfortunately they always seem to cause problems in the hostel, and many other guests have had problems with them in other places too. Apparently all of them start travelling after they come back from 2 (girls) or 3 (boys) years in the army, and they don’t feel like accepting rules anymore. Anyway I had a great talk with him, but the next day they all got kicked out of the hostel. I couldn’t say if it was rightful or not because I never really understood the story. Finding myself in the middle of this conflict, I did discover a bad side about my job.

Finishing my blog it’s already Tuesday, but I will post it now because I finally have a moment of access to the internet. Again I miss all of you and I’m sorry if I don’t (immediately) respond to messages, I really want to but until I have internet in the house it’s very difficult.

iUn beso REgrande!

Helen

Posted by ElenaMaria 23:29 Archived in Argentina

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