Thursday, January 14, 2010

Friday, January 15

I have decided that Mendoza is a trap. Even though we originally (foolishly) only planned to stay 3 days, I am so glad we decided to hang around. It´s very easy to get used to the laid-back pace here. I continue to enjoy the people watching aspect of Mendoza and these things I have observed:

Travel here is a GREAT deal!  Before the peso crashed in 2001, Argentina was one of South America´s most expensive countries to visit. Now food and lodging are half what we pay at home.

Argentina´s fascinating history is visible everywhere.....especially in the food. You can find pizza and pasta on every corner. Similar to coffee and Starbucks in Seattle. The Italian heritage is also evident through the production of olive oil and all the local wine. The gaucho traditions can be seen in the parillas where a portion of meat can be the size of a football. (I did read the per head beef consumption in Argentina has gone down by about 50% over the past 15 years. I can only wonder what those meat portions used to look like).

I have been trying to observe the local lifestyles and have noticed the men really are macho!  Argentine joke.......¨A man meets an Argentine on the street and asks him for a light. The Argentine starts patting his pants, chest and back pockets. ¨Sorry¨he says, Ï can´t find my lighter - but man, do I have a great body.¨ These machismo attitudes must be changing because women now occupy 30% of Argentina´s congressional seats (compared with about 12% in the US) not to mention they have a woman president!
Tonight we met an interesting American couple from New Hampshire. Didn't have our camera with us to capture the moment, but enjoyed coffee with them at a cute cafe. They are traveling for three months and seemed anxious for English speaking company. A nice way to end our week in Mendoza. We will catch a plane today for Buenos Aires.

It has been difficult to hear the devastating news coming from Haiti. Such suffering for so many. Here we sit in Mendoza with every possible comfort. We are so blessed. Gail

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