Our time in Mendoza hasn't quite been what we've expected. The city is so incredibly beautiful and it is easy to waste away many days here, but we both can't help like feeling we're being pushed out due to our string of bad accomodations - first, the dungeon and lack of water at the hostel for the few days. And then, when we were happy to finally get out of the dungeon and into a better room, we met our roommates - the bed bugs! After our initial contact with the blasted little critters, our hostel quite diligently got a fumigator in to dispose of them (they actually weren't in our bed, but in the wall behind the bed). It seemed to work the first night, but after the second night I woke up with a few more bites. Frustrated with the whole situation and the response of the staff, we started looking for another place to stay. Finally, the hostel offered us our remaining two nights in their apartment downtown at the price of what we would have paid at the hostel.
We accepted, knowing we likely had no other options during this busy time of year. I also personally think they should have given us the apartment for free, or at least given our stay at the hostel with some kind of discount, but they refused. The apartment was also nothing to write home about, except to say that it could use a good deep clean.
To escape the hostel and the city, we did venture out of town for one day to a water park in a little town called Cacheuta about an hour away. It was nice to be away from the bustle and driving through the multi-colored Andes once again! The setting for the water park was breathtaking against the pink and green backdrop of the mountains and overlooking a small river below. There were countless pools of all sizes including some thermals (not sure why anyone wants to sit in a hot pool when it's +30 degrees...but they were full!), water slides and fountains. It was a nice way to spend the day - alternating between sun and water - although the park could do with an infusion of beach chairs and lockers.
We were sure that all of this rest and relaxation would be needed to get ready for our last night in the city - New Years Eve! Gill returned to town to celebrate with us, and we all were very excited to ring in the New Year - Argentinian style - whatever that meant.
We were severely disappointed. Apparently, we picked the one city in the world that does absolutely NOTHING to ring in the new year! We wandered down to the main city plaza expecting some sort of celebration (at the very least a countdown), and it was the absolute deadest we have ever seen it since being here. We tried a few more streets that are normally busy, nothing. Asked some locals, nothing. All there seemed to be was odd groups of tourists like us, wandering aimlessly.
With only twenty minutes to go until midnight, we wandered back to Gill's hostel, grabbed a bottle of bubbly and headed to the outdoor patio where there was supposed to be a "party". There were 5 other people, a disco ball, and a very intoxicated DJ/bartender who wouldn't play anything but The Clash and Joy Division. It was the best option we had been presented all night, so we made our own fun!
Fun for New Years Eve turned into a little sickness for New Years Day! Our last day in Mendoza is being spent watching typical hangover movies and recovering on the couch of our old hostel. Tonight we board a 10 hour bus to our next stop of Alta Gracia, leaving this bug infested city behind for some comfort - we are "splurging" on a nice place for the next couple of nights. Hopefully this will be the end of our "visits" from these little friends.
Happy New Year to all of our friends and family back home! I hope 2010 brings everything you desire, and more. Thank you for being a part of this journey with us...