Argentina

Crossed the border into Argentina last night. Seven hour bus journey. Border crossing at high altitude. And the instant I had my passport stamped saying I was in Argentina – the attractiveness of people skyrocketed. No kidding – I didn´t see a single attractive person in Chile. In Argentina – my initial impression that every single woman was beautiful. Today, in the light of day, that may have been a little hasty, but not terribly far off the mark.
On the bus coming into Argentina, the attendant chap suddenly pulled all the curtains. Through a girl translating for her american friend – I learnt that this was because we were coming into a bad neighbourhood – where people regularly throw rocks at buses if they can see the lights inside. Charming.
I made the mistake of sleeping a lot on the bus – so after arrival in Mendoza, despite walking a zigzag the full width of the town – I was fairly awake. Next thing I know, it´s six o´clock in the morn, and I´m just bringing a rather stilted conversation with a german (with little english) to an end. Therefore – hungover today. Have wandered around a little. Ate about 6 mouthfuls of a steak. And slept all afternoon in an hammock.
Other news:
– strange bruise-graze on my forehead. I think I smashed my head into a bunk in Chile – but the memory is too hazy to be sure.
– Rutger Hauer starred in a strange prison escape movie on the bus. Half the people managed to escape, the other half died. 50% is a pass rate, I guess.
– In response to Nat´s question regarding beer. In Chile a 1 litre bottle of beer cost me the same as a 1.5 litre bottle of tonic water. It was a true moral dilemma. Do I throw the duty-free gin away? Or buy tonic water, with the same amount of money that could buy a beer. Buying water for the same price as beer strikes me as abhorrent – but after some quick maths, I gritted my teeth and did it. That was 1,000 chilean pesos. About NZ$2.67. In Argentina, about 5 pesos. About the same, according to xe.com. I´ve been going under the vague memory that the Argentinean peso was about the same as the NZ$. Now, I´ve suddenly realised that everything is a hell of a lot cheaper than I thought it was. I was distraught at paying $25 for a hostel. And thought that the extremely tasteful restaurant with $25 steaks, and rabbits, and trout was perhaps not for splurging on this early.
– Haven´t tried any wine yet. That may be for tonight.

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