A Travellerspoint blog

Mendoza: the city where God turned water into wine...

sunny 29 °C

it’s been nearly 8 weeks….now 9, after waiting another week to do this, so i thought i better get my act together and contribute something to this blog of ours. besides little old Argentinian grandmother stealing everything i own, things have been going good- in a way it’s good that she stole everything from me because now i really have nothing to hide from the many other thief’s out there. My only bankcard i have left doesn’t work in the card machines here thanks to a magnetic strip that gave up working the day i did. So really if i was to get robbed now all they would be taking is a bag full of unwashed clothes.....good luck with that.
well as most of you know i love this travelling game, it’s a good chance to bring everyone hygiene levels back down to my standard, a great opportunity to drink beer during the weeks and during work hours, and most importantly for me it gives me a opportunity to meet new people every day. Even though we have travelled only a little of the way we have met so many people that have made our travelling experience so enjoyable.......and also a very intelligent American man- who made me realize that i didn’t know everything about everything......much to my surprise. he was a 50 year old journalist who thought he was god’s gift to this world, i must say he was single and it didn’t surprise me, not only because his smelly feet made me nearly throw up every time i spoke with him, but for the fact that there could be no one out there in this universe that could love him more than he loved himself.

any who, looks as if i have to write about Mendoza, since its tonje blog i must do what the boss says- So what can i say about Mendoza, its been one of my favorite places this trip, its the main wine region in Argentina and home of the very famous malbec grape. i was never a big red wine drinker but after a year in Norway and now 3 weeks in Argentina i have become quite the professional.....ok maybe not, but i am really starting to taste the difference between the ones i used to drink out of the box [goon] back home and the quality ones i am drinking now-the red ones over here are world famous and because there is so many to choose from the prices are really competitive which makes them dangerously cheap....my teeth will never be white again... a really quality bottle is about $5 and award winning bottles top of the range is $20. i really am crossing my fingers that i get my passport back soon because i don’t think my liver will function for too much longer in Argentina. our first winery tour was done by bike which sounded like a great idea at the time and turned out to be a great day but as must wine drinkers know, it doesn’t take too much time or too many tastes to make bike riding a very difficult task. Especially if you do mr hugos bike tour which includes a ridiculous amount of red wine before you even start. I learnt a few lessons this day but the most important one of all, was never do a wine tour with a bunch of Irish people ever again. The Irish are designed to drink and even though the sun was shining and there pale bodies were burning they were still drinking red wine like it was water. To make things worse or better which ever way you look at it, when we returned back to hugo’s to drop off the bikes he was standing there with his famous grin greeting us with another few hour’s worth of wine drinking…if it wasn’t for missus hugo (who I must add wears the pants in the relationship) the party would have continued on into the early hours of the morning. Lucky for everyone we were out of there just as darkness hit…….but not early enough for me to slap a good couple of kisses on the neck of mr hugo and a little whisper in his ear wishing he was my father……sorry dad, but this time you were beaten by a good man!!!

Bikes & redwine...maybe not the best combination???
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Lunch time:
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The great man!
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The end of a very succesful day with a lot of wine...
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Besides wine drinking and a day of shopping around to get a new computer, not much else was done. The weather was great so the hostel pool was our second home and after a busy week in Buenos Aires it was exactly what the doctor had ordered. We did hire bikes one day to check out their big and supposedly beautiful gardens but all we saw was car parks full of people making out and even some who looked as if they were wrestling each other, in most cases it looked as if the man was winning. We soon gave up on the run down park and retreated back to the pool to do some kissing of our own. Ok maybe not, but I did spend time with the love of my life……..beer………and it beautiful…..

Mendoza is amazing and the wine unbelievable good so on the last day before our night bus we thought we should head back to the winery that we had been recommended and actually taste some fine wine and hopefully learn something… We took the local bus out there which was nice, if you call nice being starred at for forty minutes by all the locals. When we arrived in the winery district we thought instead of hiring bikes it would be nice to go for a walk. It didn’t look to far on the map and the sun was shining so it felt like the right decision. Unknown to us the two inch space on the map from where we were to where we had to get to was about a two hour walk. We realized this after about 30minutes when we reached the first street that was only a centimeter on the map from where we started…time to hitchhike…after a few failed attempts a now tired, thirsty and hungry oreeeteh was starting to get on my nerves….we were close to fighting, close to giving up on our mission and close to eating each other when a white light appeared from the distance. A car stopped for us and his car door swung open, we were relieved, ecstatic, we couldn’t believe, who would do such a thing? And there it was, the smile that would bring a smile to anyone’s face. The one and only mr hugo… after a lot of not understanding each other he dropped us at our destination and farewelled us with big kisses and smiles. The great man brings joy to us again. After a great lunch and a wine tour and some more tasting we were at the bus station fare welling a great town, a place where wine is king and where mr hugo is major….

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Posted by Oreo 19:38 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Buenos Aires

sunny 28 °C

Ok, time to tell u about life in Argentina...

Since Iguazu falls we have had a stop in Rosario, Buenos Aires & Mendoza...unfortunately I have lost all my photos from Buenos Aires, which is Shit, cause I had soooo many cool photos...anywho, shit happens and I will try in words to describe how amazing BA is :)

We spent 10 days in BA...and there is a couple of things I discovered in these 10 days that I’ll tell u about....FIRST:

Argentinian wine! Ok...since entering Argentina It’s no longer chocolate that is my biggest problem, but I am afraid the wine might start to be a tiny little bit of a problemo! I wouldn’t really say that it’s my fault that I now drink at least a glass of red wine a day(ok, maybe 3 glasses) but whoever it is that puts the price on the bottle. 15 kr(1,5pound!!!) for a bottle of wine? In my defense it is actually the same price as a bottle of water in Norway...no wonder I go a little bit crazy with the wine here. And the thing is, this wine that I’m drinking is also REALLY nice. Like fantasticly nice!! I’m not going to pretend I’m some sort of a wine expert but a few things about the wine here I have picked up….well, why this wine have such a good taste to it is because of a grape called MALBEC! It’s the reason why the Argentinian wine tast soooooo goood . I don’t think I have ever tasted anything quite like it. And if u are now thinking that : oh my god, she has turned in to an alcoholic ...then in my defense, again, the lady from the winery said its actually extremely healthy to have a glass of wine a day, cause its full of antioxidants! So there u go :) BESTO: No need to worry...only 1 week left in Argentina, then no more good wine for a while :)

Argentina is known for their steaks...so when in BA of course we had to go out for a proper steak. Our choice for the night was a classy restaurant called La Cabrera in Palermo...so in this beautiful, little restaurant I had my first rare steak. I never thought I would ever have a steak that is more red than brown…and by red I mean BLOOD - red. At one stage there was actually a little pool of blood on my plate!!! I’m not sure if it was all the bling-bling around me that made me like the steak or if it was the actual steak, but I LOVED it! And I especially liked the price....dinner, wine & dessert at a 5 star restaurant (with a line outside) for 150 kr (15 pound). ME like!!! Not so much the time Argentinian eats they’re dinner though, which is not earlier then 10pm!! At least it explains why they all go home from work around 1 pm and have something called siesta. So yes, in all the smaller cities in Argentina ALL the shops close from 1 to 5 pm. And when we asked one of the Argentinian men we met about what they do in these 4 hours he answered: eat & sleep!! I thought Australians (and specially the man I’m with) was one of the most laid back people on this planet…but now I’m not so sure anymore….

In BA I saw more public kissing in 10 days then I have in my last 10 years in Norway. They do A LOT of kissing…everywhere! And they can sit and kiss forever. With kissing I don’t mean the sweet kissing, put proper full-on kissing! Maybe something I should bring home to Norway with me?? ;) In Mendoza it’s not only kissing they do...our last day there we rented bikes to go and check out this massive park. Well, all we could find was parked cars. Inside: women ¬¬¬plus man = sexy time. Maybe it’s where the men take they’re receptionist in the lunch break????

While staying in BA we took a day trip over to Uruguay and Colonia Del Sacramento. It’s a 1 hour boat trip from BA and its BEAUTIFUL!!!! It’s an old, old town that they have kept as it was since...well, since many many years ago. This day trip turned out to be a little bit of fun challenge. All we had of cash was 700 pesos and James bankcard. When we finally found the boat terminal I managed to lose the bankcard..or it got eaten by the ATM cause I did a mistake or two with the pin number:/ So with one less bank card we also discovered that the price of the boat ticket had gone up over night…so if we actually chose to go we would have 100 pesos left after paying the tickets! (100 pesos is 150 kr /15 pound) So should we really go?? To another country for 12 hours with hardly any money? We obviously ended up going. So for 12 hours James and I were in Uruguay with 100 pesos and our passports...still we had lunch, dinner, snacks(had to be a little bit creative) and even got to go to all the museums!!! Fun day!!! 

There is so much to say about BA...it’s such a beautiful city with amazing architecture and so much culture! It looks like any other big cities...but if u look a little bit closer it’s not at all as beautiful as u wish it were. So here it comes again…the social worker/ human in me have to write some lines about everything I wish I could change. In BA there is so many sweet little children that every night has to sleep on a dirty madras in the streets. I have seen hundreds of homeless children, but in BA it’s just such a massive contrast seeing these children sleeping in between its parents in the middle of a busy, beautiful street full of cafes& restaurants. I don’t understand how a country can spend money on keeping the cities clean and beautiful and they can’t put money in to a shelter for these children. Obviously South America is one of the poorest continents in the world…maybe I am naïve, but it makes me so angry to see a country give up the children. I just realize more and more what a brutal world we live in and how extremely lucky I am that are born in Norway.

At the moment we are in Cafayete, north in Argentina. A beautiful little town…which I just got told have a café where u can get Wine-ice cream!!!! So now I already have a plan for tomorrow!!:)
-Tonje, that feels very, very lucky-

Posted by Oreo 16:57 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Did we just get robbed??!!!!

sunny 27 °C

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I have always believed that good things happen to good people....well, that rule do not exist in South America....

U might have heard about those organised robberies where u get totally set-up and then whitin seconds your belongings are gone...now James and I have a story like that..

Its Sunday afternoon and we both have a tiny little bit of a hangover from the night before. We take the subway to Buenos Aires main bus station to take the night bus to Mendoza. Sooo excited to soon be seeing yet another beautiful part of Argentina...

From the subway to the bus station its a 300 meter walk...within these 300 meters I will experience my first big south American robbery..(well, actually my second...my wallet got stolen too, right in front of me a couple of days earlier...me? good luck?)

So this is the scam:
100 meters in to the walk a man makes me aware of some white stuff that is covering the whole side of my big backpack and the side of my leg. Fuck, is that bird shit???? But doesnt that smell like sun screen??? Im confused!!! But so annoyed...why now? We have a bus to catch! And guess what?? The "bird" have hit James as well. Coincidence?
Well, now we need something to clean this shit up with. And there she is...a 50ish old, smiling and lovely, sweet women. With napkins. Wow...what a nice women. As kind as she is ofcourse she offers all the napkins she has...she even offers to help us clean the backpacks! Our lucky day??? So off our backpacks goes!! James has his little backpack on his front, that ofcourse has to be taken off to get the big backpacks off. So for 2 SECONDS...2 SECONDS (!!) our small backpack and purse get dropped to the ground. Then...the women and the man walks quickly in seperate directions. Do they have a bus to catch???? or? What? The backpack!!!!!! In a second we realise we have been set up BIG TIME. James small backpack is gone! So in 2 seconds we no longer have our fantastic notebook-pc, ipod, our cash, and the shittest part: James passport!

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The feeling of being robbed and lied to...and on top of it all realise that your belongings are gone is unexplaneable. I cant really compare it with any other feeling...u are just so pissed off, mixed with a little bit of hate and sadness. U can always replace your stuff...put the fact that someone made such a big fool of us in front of so many people is maybe the worst....cause they ALL know whats happening. We asked one of the guys at one of the street venders(its a busy little marked on this street) how often it happens? They are here every weekend! Well, thanks for letting us know. So they ALL knew...and NO ONE warned us.


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I comfort myself knowing that we got screwed over and we will be pretty much back on track after 2 weeks...these guys screw over there own country and theyre next generation over and over again every day....what values do they teach there kids??? What will theyre kids grow up to be?

I know a lot of these people live in poverty and that they are desperate people. But can we justify steeling?? And will they ever break there bad circle if we let them? The Argentinian police do absolulty nothing about this crime. (In the police report the police officer wrote down, even before asking : the offended will not be able to point out the women/man...well maybe we can? But then they would actually have to try and catch them)

I guess this is all part of travelling.....but still..we came to South america with open arms and now we pretty much have to use our arms to hold on to our stuff. I like to believe everyone is good in some sort of way....but now we have to be so god damn careful with everyone we meet! Me not like!

I have so, so, so much to tell about my travels in Argentina, it is such a beautiful country.....but first I have to learn to like it again and then Ill give away all my stories;)

-Tonje, that have been pissed off for a couple of days, but is back on track with lovely wine & food in Mendoza-

Ps...these photos are the only photos I have from Buenos Aires, as all my photos ofcourse were on the computer!!!

Posted by Oreo 06:35 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

illha Grande(Brazil) & Iguazu falls(Argentina)

sunny 25 °C

Å vera på tur med australiensk kjærest vil sei at eg snakkar norsk kun når eg ringer heim, så dermed blir det eit norsk blogg innlegg denne gongen...så får eg vedlikeholdt norsken :)
Sidan sist har me hatt 2 stopp, Illha Grande og Puerto Iguazu....

Illha Grande:
Tre ord: sjarmerande, nydelig, jungel. Ok, et par ord til...strender, klar sjø, hunder...

På øya bur også Brasils snillaste dame og me var så heldige at me fekk bu på hennas hostel.(overnative green hostel) Når ein reisar øve så lang periode trenger ein slike plasser innimellom. Som regel er ein og føler ein seg som fremmad i eit nytt land, men hos Christina følte eg meg heime. Kvar dag stod ho på kjøkkene og laga i stand dei deiligaste middager som me alle spiste i lag på kvelden og kvar morgon var det deilig frukost å våkne opp til. Altid blid og smilande. Når jogge skoa mine var våte passa ho på å tørke dei. Ein av dagane regna det katter fra morgon til kveld...då rigga me oss til alle "backpackarene" i stova for film-formiddag. Då kjeme Christina smilande inn med ei stor skål popcorn til oss. Så illha Grande blir huska for altid, mest på grunn av den snillaste damo i Brazil :)

Uten om popcorn og film så var me meir aktive dei 6 dagane på øya enn me har vore dei siste 3 månedane. Ein må nemlig gjennom 3 timar jungel tur for å nå dei nydelige strendene. (Lopez mendes & Dois Rios) På turen til Dois Rios fekk me lojalt reisefølge av 2 søte hundar som gjekk med oss heilt fra sentrum til stranda (2 timar ein vei) og som låg fint å venta på oss til me traska oss heim, då var dei foran oss og guida vei tilbake til sentrum...det som var litt artig var at dei passa sånn på oss. Høyrte dei nåke inne i skogen for dei inn for å jage det vekk, så kom dei tilbake og gjekk fint ved sidan av oss igjen. Eg prøvde eit par gonger å springe foran dei, men det var ikkje på tale...dei sku leda vei, så eg måtte berre vike unna! :)

Reisefølget vårt:
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Ikkje akkurat up to date??!
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Nydelige Dios:
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Spansk oversatt til Engelsk. Klarer du å oversette det til Norsk????
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På Illha grande er det tusenvis av hunder...kanskje ikkje tusen, men det føltes ut som tusen. Dei var nemlig øver alt!! Og ofte i dei særaste fasongar. Pga alle hundane (min teori) får dei tydeligvis unger på tvers av rasene og resultatet blir eit utrulig artig syn...pølsehund er jo igrunn morsomme i utgangspunktet, men tenk deg resultatet av pølsehund og rottweiler...??!!! Ikkje så morsomt for sjølve hunden, men god underholdning for tursistar. :)

I Brazil (vertfall på illha Grande) kan du få kjøpt 1 liter Braziliansk rom til samme pris som 1 liter vann. Så då måtte me sjølvsagt ha caprinha kveld på hostellet...som by the way må vera den skumlaste drinken med tanke på at den kun består av rom, sukker og lime!!!! :) James var sjølvsagt bartender.

Neste stopp på ruta var Puerto Iguazu for a sjå dei berømte fossefallene "Iguazu falls". Det er nesten umulig å få sagt med ord kor utrulig det var å stå på tuppen av ein av verdas største foss...eg var ikkje så veldig høg i hatten der eg stod på ei bru med hundrevis av tonn vann dundrande under meg. Det er slike opplevelsar ein aldri vil klare å fange med eit kamera men som rett og slett berre må opplevast. Eit par bilder måtte eg ta:

Det var millionar av sommarfuglar i nasjonalparken, og dei var velvillig til posering for kamera:
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Sommarfuglar:
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Akkuart no sit me på ein buss til Rosario, ein liten by 4 timar nord for Buenos aires. For øyeblikket er reisefølget vårt snille Boden fra Melbourne! Det er laaaaange strekninger, men her og der så kan det vera ganske så spennande...som for 5 min sidan når James plutselig snur seg og seier "I saw a crocodile!!!" (og det var ikkje i ein dyrepark!!!)
Så langt har Argentina vore ein drøm....det er sååå mykje billigare en Brazil, å då snakke me 20 kr for ei flaska med god kvalitets vin! :) Men meir om vin neste veka.....

-Tonje, that is loving argentinian wine-

Posted by Oreo 15:16 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Rio de Janeiro!!

sunny 26 °C

Right now we are at Illha Grande, the third biggest island in Brazil. There is no cars or roads, not even an atm. Except from a little village(where we are staying) there is only jungle and beach to see. Today the weather is pretty bad..been raining all morning! So instead of laying on the beach Im laying on my bed with the balcony doors wide open...all I can hear is happy birds and the sound of the ocean. Perfect! :) Shit weather = I have plenty of time to tell u about Rio de Janeiro...

When U are in Brazil u get constantly reminded about all the crime and danger that is around the country. Knowing the fact that Rio de Janeiro is one of the most violent cities on earth I have to say I was expecting a massive ghetto arriving in Rio. But it was`nt at all like that...it was actually extremely clean and "updated". Compare to Salvador, where u pretty much live in a favela(shanty town/slum) u hardly see the favelas in Rio. Rio amazed me straight away with its mountains popping up everywhere....

We decided to stay in Ipanama, the beach next to famous Copacabana. Its suppose to be one of the safest areas in Rio. (Still u get warned to not go outside after dark!!?). Strolling up and down the city beaches (Ipanama, Copacabana & Leblon) is a pretty entertaining walk. The beach is divided up in to areas/posts for different group of people. For example post 9, which is for the suntanned, fit people. Then u have the post for the gay people, the favela kids, families etc. The gay section defenitly was the most entertaining one...how often do u get to see a massive group of tanned, muscley, handsom men kissing and hugging each other???....pretty unreal! :)

Ipanama beach: Crowded u said???
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When u are in Rio there is 2 major attractions that is on the must-do list and that is Christ the redeemer, or the massive concrete Jesus as James calles it :) Standing up on this massive mountain looking over Rio was breath taking and seeing the city with these mountains just popping up everywhere just simply makes it the best city I have been to.

Me,James & thebig concrete Jesus:
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Not to bad of a view:
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The other mountain we had to get on top of was Pao de acucar ("suger loaf"). From here I got to see the most unique sunset I have seen so far in my life...

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Our new friends: James,Regina, Becky,me, Steph & James:
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Sunset over Rio:
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When in Rio....
...you have to go samba dancing and drink caprinha in Lapa. Every Friday and Saturday the streets in Lapa turns into a massive samba party, so ofcourse our little group of 6 backpackers had to try out Rio`s nightlife. First we had to get there, and as backpackers bus was the only option....something we regretted after 10 minuts on the bus. In Rio its obvioulsy not the getting-robbed-part u should be afraid of, but the busdrivers. Our busdriver for the evening defenitly did not know how to use the breaks and at one stage James and I (that unfortunatly were sitting in the front seats) saw something that looked quite like a bottle of vodka. We were all holding on to the seats, screaming everytime he made a turn...which felt more like the bus tipping over. We arrived at lapa alive and in shock. A situation that would make headlines in Norway seems to be normal in Rio. James, Becky and Steph experience the exact same thing in the taxi home later that night...anywho, we arrive in Lapa which is packed with happy, drunk brazilians and travellers and we get heaps of energy straight away listening to all the drums and music around us. Brazilian samba music must for sure be the music with the best rhythm in the world and u instantly feel like dancing. We ended up in this dark club with nothing else than just a big room of dancing brazilians and a group playing drums in one corner. The music fills up the whole room and everyone dances...not the dancing where u kind of rocks back and forth on the dancefloor, but the one where u use every inch of your body. There is one half naked black brazilian man that comes closer and closer to me and Becky and obviously wanna show off his dancing skills, and they are really worth showing off. I try as hard as I can with my Norwegian-non-rhythmic body to copy his moves...all I can say is i hope no one ever caught those minutes on tape.(I defenitly can not compare myself to a Brazilian that obvioulsy has danced samba more than once). After some minutes dancing I look around and I realise Im the only blond headed person in the whole club....

With a massive hangover the next day we say good bye to Becky and Steph after travelling together for 10 days. They are going back to London after travelling for 9 months while we are heading to illha Grande.....

James outside our hostel waiting forour transport:
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I already have so much to tell about Illha Grande and the hostel we are staying at. One thing I can say is that we have meet the Brazilian version of Dot(James mum)...but more about that later....

-Tonje, that is loving life in south america :) -

Posted by Oreo 11:25 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

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