Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Best of argentina....

First, I must begin with my impressions of CHile. I arrive in the airport and pay to enther the country. However, if I were Canadian, I would have had to pay one dollar more. Then, they unleash drug dogs and the dog won't leave my bag alone. People are staring and then they ask if I had any fruit in my bags. I said no, but that while I was in Argentina my bag was wet after my last bus ride. The guy lets me leave and the dog follows.
I get on a shuttle, spend more money on stupid crap and then arrive to find that they are snaking the toiets here. I have had my share of bathroom problems from the house on 5th ave and so I do not enjoy the memory or the smell.
This hostel is run by an american and everything is in english. I am surrounded by english speakers and tomorrow I will try to decide what to do while in Chile. I want to sleep and not be ripped off. We will see.
Pizzeria Guerrin on COrrientos Avenue was fantastic. I wish I would have found it sooner.
Bistro Eva, a more gourmet option with fantastic wine and food that I would definitely enjoy in the States. It was a nice reminder of what food can be.
I ate way too much pasta, but I am not a fan of red meat. It is everywhere in Argentina and cheap, too. I mean, when you dine out, typically they serve bread, entree and wine for $6 which is ridiculously cheap. I could have stayed in argentina for a year and not went broke.
I had a nice meal in Bariloche with Lorenzo at the vegetarian restaurant. It was more gourment and remniscient of the states, but I enjoyed the veggies. They started the meal with a puree of garlic, carrots and parsley with bread. Interesting, different and good.
The parilla on esmeralda where I met the guy from Miami was also quite nice. I would recommend it, definitely.
In terms of hostels--the most helpful was hostel lao in Mendoza. Mike, the owner, had many suggestions for tours, wineries and food. I like that. THe hostel was hot and they only had two bathrooms. I felt that they needed more to accomodate the number of people staying there and they were booked out most nights. They served a fantastic breakfast from 7-noon which is long. They had mate, coffee, tea, juices, cheese pastries, danish, bread, and a bunch of fruit. Plus, they catered to it and the people.
Mendoza estacion was quiet and had many bathrooms. For me, the fact was no one spoke english was cumbersome, but they were nice and helpful. I wish I could have stayed there longer for the fact that it was quiet and clean.
06 Hostel in buenos aires was good and bad. I loved Sebastian and Francisco. They were helpful and nice. THe rooms had large ceilings and fans. The bad was regarding the cleanliness factor and the cleaning people. They were unfriendly. THe floors in the showers were always soaking wet and dirty. The toilets were like all of the hostels, basically, disgusting. They should take the trash out every 2 hours to make it appear clean. I hate the practice of placing used tissues in the trash and not in the toilet.
The hostel in bariloche was helpful and had amazing computers. They were fast and flat screen. I liked the en suite bathroom as well, just the dorm mates sucked both nights.
THe worst of argentina...
obviously the waiter from yesterday, the massage--also a disaster, the toilets--like I complained about, the party attitude of argentinians and lack of courtesy for other travelers, the breakfast and the ham and cheese everywhere.
THe wine tours in Mendoza was questionable. The best way to see Mendoza and its bodegas is to rent a car and do it on your own. Make the reservations at the wineries and try to the wines. Do not expect many samples, like in the rest of the world or do the bike and ride. Do not take an organized tour because they are horrible!!! I wish that I loved the wine there, but I didn't see it. I suppose having another traveler with me who enjoyed wine would have made a huge difference for me and my experience in Mendoza.
I think it is a beautiful country and I had a wonderful time there. I liked meeting new people, but the guide books lie. MOst of the people do not speak english. They speak spanish, only, and they prefer that you know it too.
The food was fantastic and the wines that I tried were hit or miss. The dollar can go far and I understand why a lot of americans are traveling there now.
The history is plentiful and the museums and architecture, divine. Overall, it was memorable and a comedy of events for me, overcoming the language barrier and trying tonot step in dog shit. The homeowners wake up each day, and wash their tiled sidewalk. They respect their property, just not the streets with trash and feces.
I look forward to discover more of Chile and make it out of here, safely.

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