I was finally able to visit Mendoza last weekend! I have spent the last eight months hearing about how awesome this city is and I finally was able to see it for myself. Mendoza is about the size of Seattle (and in many aspects almost exactly like it) and it two hours south of our house. It was my great-aunt´s birthday so we decided to visit her for the day. Sofi and Paula had other plans so they didn´t go but we did take my grandma along with us.
We left at about nine in the morning and began the long ride in the middle of no where. The surprising thing about all my Argentina traveling is that as soon as I leave the city - WHAM! Nothing. I mean like it is the desert for miles and there is maybe one house every half hour. It is like Argentiníans can´t live in anything but clumps which make up the cities. :)
As soon as we finally got to Mendoza, we went straight to my great-aunt´s house. We spent a little time with her, left my grandma there to chat, and went off to explore the city. First we did a general tour of downtown. We drove the main streets and gave me an idea of the layout of the city. It is a lot like Seattle in that the streets are packed with little shops and the traffic is crazy. The only difference is that in Seattle I always got a neck ache from having to look up at all the skyscrapers. In Mendoza there isn´t a single one but it is a lot bigger in area. So kind of like taking Seattle and squashing it with a spatula. :)
Later we went out of the city a little bit to visit a monument. It is on the top of this little hill out in the country with a beautiful view. To get there we got to drive through a giant park where I saw evergreen trees for the first time! I was super excited and took pictures of them just to prove that they do exist here. I hadn´t really thought about it but the only trees here lose their leaves in the fall. We don´t have evergeens in San Juan! The monument was about San Martin and they told me the story of it but I don´t exactly remember. It has something to do with them traveling over the Andes to get to Mendoza and then having to break free of the chains that were keeping them from freedom. Anyways, when we got there I ran into my friend Rosie from Italy! It was such a random coincidence that we would both travel to Mendoza the same weekend on the same day and visit a monument at the same time! It was pretty funny.
Afterwards we went to the mall to do some window shopping and eat lunch. What is so interesting about San Juan is that giant stores don´t exist unless it is the grocery story or Walmart. When visiting the mall, each store is about the size of your living room and nothing more. It makes it a pain to go shopping because often they have only one size of a shirt so you have to be really lucky to find something in your size, the color you want, and at a price you can afford. I deffinetelly miss some of the giant stores in Bellingham. We spent a while looking at stores and went to the food court to eat lunch. It was already three o´clock so I was starving! We bought "lomos" which I have to say are one of my favorite foods in the world (after Mike´s Grinders) and I could eat them all the time. Unfortunetelly we don´t get to eat them a lot so I jump at the chance everytime I have it. They are like a sandwhich but so much better! It has eggs, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, mayonase, and your choice of pork, steak, or chicken. Mi papa also bought french fries covered in eggs. I don´t know if I have mentioned it but Argentinians are obssesed with eggs. They put hardboiled eggs on pizza, fried eggs in sandwhiches and scrabbled eggs on french fries! And the weirdest thing of all is that they are actually so much better with eggs! It was really hard for me to get used to at first but after I make some of them for you guys when I get back, you will see what I mean.
We got back to my great aunt´s house at around six and I was SUPER tired. I went an slept for an hour on an extra bed after I practically fell asleep on the table. When I woke-up, other family members had arrived that I didn´t know. I got introduced to everyone and they asked me the normal questions about how I am doing here, do I miss my family, and what are the things that are different between Argentina and the U.S. You might think that I would have gotten tired of those questions after seven months but I actually still enjoy answering them. Most exchange students come up with an answer that they just automatically give every time but I really try to think about it and give different answers. It makes it a lot more fun that way. Since we still had a two hour drive back home and I had school the next day, we had cake and then left at about eight-thirty. As we were driving out of the city my family told me to look through the back window of the car. I could see the whole city layed out in tiny little lights! It was super pretty and was just a fantastic way to end the day...I then quickly fell asleep until we got back home. :)