Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happiness is… A first class bus

Mendoza, Argentina.

 Finally we were back in the real world, where at least half the bathrooms had toilet paper. After another confusing bus ride (which I won’t get in to here as I am sure you are tired of reading about one terrible bus journey after another), we arrived in Mendoza. Mendoza is wine country, and I could not wait to eat a big chunk of Argentinean beef and drink a fish bowl sized glass of the local wine. Looking around the area, I knew I loved Argentina already. The shops had clothes I would wear. Restaurants and cafes lined the streets with tables and chairs on the front patio. Our hostel was clean and had a pool. Finally we had escaped the Bolivian-ness of South America!!

Our hostel was great and we met some of the other travellers. We went for dinner where I ate the best steak of my life and drank red wine until nothing more could fit in my belly. We hung out by the pool, drank more and headed out to a club. It was a great night, until the over indulging caused me to be face first in the bathroom sink at the hostel. The steak was amazing going down, but not so great coming back up.

The next day we were supposed to go on a winery tour. I didn’t make it. The girls said it was ok, but just like any other winery. I have been to many, so I didn’t feel like I missed out on much. Two days was enough for Mendoza, so the next day we checked out and booked a ticket to Buenos Aires. After all the crazy bus adventures, we decided to splurge and take a first class executive bus. It was a bit more expensive, but we were over due for some luxury.

In the meantime, we had a few hours to kill. Laurie and I wandered around, and came across a beauty salon. A month in Bolivia is enough to make anyone’s feet start to look like the locals, so we were in dire need of a pedicure. Of course no one spoke English, but we pointed to our feet and they could see we needed a pedicure. Everything was just like a pedicure from home, but I did notice that the girl hadn’t pumiced my feet. I wasn’t too concerned until she left for a minute and came back with some sort of industrial looking tool. She plugged it in and it began to whirl at top speed like a drill. I was terrified. Turns out, it is like a sander and does a great job on the bottoms of your feet. And all for only 7 dollars!

1st class all the way!!!!!!!!!

The first class bus was more than worth it. I felt like a rock star. We each had giant leather seats, big enough to be comfortable for even the most obese person. Pillows. Blankets. Snacks. Two course dinner. Unlimited wine. Then unlimited champagne. Movies in English. Coffee. Tea. Wi-fi!! Fully reclining seats…they actually became beds!  And so much space between the rows that you couldn’t even tell if the person in front of you had reclined their seat. Breakfast. I had a great night’s sleep, and when we arrived in Buenos Aires at 7:30 am I didn’t want to get off the bus.

Buenos Aires

We spent the weekend in Buenos Aires, shopping, eating, drinking and clubbing. Just 2 days in Buenos Aires was not enough to get a real feel for the city but we knew we would be back. We said goodbye to our Newfie friend, Octavia. She was staying in Buenos Aires for a few more days, so we were back to just Laurie and I. Now, our long awaited cruise was upon us. Booking it 8 months ago, it seemed like a pipe dream that I would actually make it to Antarctica. It was really happening; I was on the brink of seeing my 6th continent and coming one step closer to my goal of visiting all 7.

For now, we were leaving the grungy backpacker life behind and were going to be bathed in the kind of luxury we can almost never afford while travelling. I was excited to be able to communicate in English, having the good old American service standards and to sleep in a private room.

Up next………I had anticipated this cruise for the last 8 months.  Would it live up to my expectations??


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