Alli and I recently took a small trip to Mendoza, Argentina to do some winery tours and check out another beautiful city. Although it rained for a few days (in the city that they say gets 8 inches/year… We got at least 60 inches in the time we were there), we made the most of it. I had just returned to Chile from spending 10 wonderful and relaxing days at home with my family for Christmas. (Alli also had a wonderful and relaxing Christmas with her sister Lizzy in Santiago, and many more adventures that I’ll force her to blog about later!)
According to Wikipedia (totes reliable), Argentina is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world, and Mendoza produces 60% of the wine that comes from Argentina!! Clearly plenty of wine for us to sample and buy!
Alli and I did a few different self-guided bike tours of the wineries around Mendoza. Our first day we accidentally biked 20 miles total because we rented bikes from the city center (not realizing most tourists take a bus…) oops. Although she dislikes red wine (I’m working on her folks!) Alli was the best sport I’ve ever seen throughout Mendoza. She tasted many different wines and humored me as I tried to describe the finer tastes of the wine (hints of oak, chocolate, slight strawberry hint, smokey, etc.) She even chose to order a bottle of red wine with our Argentinian steak dinner! We had a grand old time, but eventually had to get back to Chile to prepare for our Patagonia trip. Here’s where things get interesting…
There we were, innocent gringas walking down a busy street in Mendoza. We were headed back to Chile on a night bus, so we were fully loaded with our massive backpacks (with everything we own) on our back and a small pack on front. Our front packs go on the bus with us, and they carry our most valuable possessions like our cash, cameras, phones, credit cards, our kindles, journals, and things to do on the bus.
Most people could probably NOT tell we were American tourists, as we had totally natural looking tennis shoes, “yoga” pants, and two large backpacks. We can hardly believe they knew to target us…. Ha!
Alli and I are chatting as we walk to the bus, when all of a sudden, I feel a wetness hit my head, and I immediately smell poop. This was no normal poop smell- it’s pungent and revolting, like a port-a-potty that hasn’t been cleaned for a year type smell. It was also very watery, which ensured that it got smeared everywhere.
Immediately, a man appears with two tissues, one for each of us to clean the shit off of ourselves. What a real coincidence! Two tissues! How kind of him! My faithful travel companion, Alli, begins to diligently help me to clean the crap off my backpack with the small tissue. The man then offers to dump some water from his water bottle on our heads to get the slimy poop out of our hair… He tells me that I’ll need to take my front backpack off so I don’t get it wet while he kindly helps me to clean myself. This seemingly kind stranger gestures to place my backpack against the wall on the side of the street. He even puts his own there as an example of how trusting we should be.
After I refuse to take off my backpack, he then insists that Alli also has poop in her hair. He then tells Alli to remove her bag so he could help clean up as well. She also refuses to remove her bag, despite the man insisting she do so.
The man then chats us up, trying to quickly identify with us, saying he is also a travelor, here from Ecuador for a few weeks. He assures us that the fact that we got pooped on is good luck. He tells us it came from a bird in the tree…
We’re already running late for our bus, so we insist we go… He kisses us goodbye (as is normal custom in South America) and tells us to have a good trip. All of this chaos and surprise happens in the matter of about 60 seconds. Luckily, (rather, unlucky..) Alli and I have heard many many stories about petty theft so we are always on guard.
We walk away and a kind Argentinian lady gives us a look with wide eyes and universal signal to “watch out”. We realized then, we surely just avoided an attempted robbery. The man had claimed the poop fell from the tree above us, although another passerby had pointed to the roof. The poop was watery and dark brown, very unlike bird poop. We got scared and walked much quicker the final block to the station.
We got on the bus smelling quite literally like shit, “ready” for our 7 hour ride back to Chile. Then, once safe on our bus, we got a bit angry and disgusted at the situation.
What kind of person throws POOP of all things… onto another human in order to relieve them of their money and expensive goods??? What’s more, to throw sheiza on someone who is clearly going to spend the night on a bus.
We had a 7-hour nauseatingly horrible smelling bus ride… No soap or water available… Not to mention the bus ride itself with speeding twists and turns thru the Andes mountains. However, we arrive safely (and unrobbed) in Chile! We spent a few days in Viña/Valpo, (my happy places) to rest and charge up before our journey to the Patagonia!
Today, Friday, January 15, were ready to head out on our 9-day long trek doing the “full circuit” of the Patagonia, Chile. The entire team includes: myself, Alli, Allis’s sister Lizzy, Alli’s boyfriend Evan, and my sister Claire and her husband, Kyle. We’ll be in touch after the trek. In the meantime- keep us in your prayers!!