May 18, 2008
Mendoza – Wine and Olives Galore

Took a bus to Mendoza, a big, dangerous city, complete with areas that people who don't even know you warn you to get the heck out of before it gets dark. Definitely not in Patagonia anymore!  But, the good news is there is wine and olive oil. The vineyards here, locally called bodegas, are different than any that I have ever seen elsewhere in the world in that they are within, or just barely outside, the heart of the city. The city itself has areas that are beautiful and areas that remind you a lot of Delhi. Getting around turned out to be a problem because the municipal bus system only accepts coins, and there seems to be a more or less eternal shortage of these throughout the whole country. So I just rented a bike and decided to take my chances with the crazy traffic. The vineyards were really neat though, with excellent tour guides and really excellent wine. I was just as excited to visit the olive plantations, and in the end I think I learned more there than at the vineyards. It was one of those experiences that reminds you just how frigging ignorant we really are, and I like those. Olive production, and especially olive oil production, is fascinating. I won't go into it all here on the blog, but as you can see from the pictures there is a lot involved. I understand now why the stuff is so darn expensive. Anyway, now its off to try and get across the pass before the big snow gets here. Wish me luck.