Wednesday 29 November 2017

Wednesday afternoon is spent hopping over the Andes to Mendoza.  This could have been an 8 hour bus journey at one stage of planning this holiday but the flight is under an hour, mainly spent going up and then down as the distance between the two cities is not huge – merely the Andes are in the way.

I drop off to sleep before take off and wake up about half way through the flight.  We had originally been seated separately but Jackie’s neighbour had moved so I was able to occupy the empty seat.  With some turbulence seat belt signs are on and so there is great need for the toilet on landing.  The queue for the passport check more than quadruples by the time we emerge from the toilets but the delay is not of “Luton” type lengths.  The taxi driver taking us to the hotel cannot speak English and luckily it is only a short drive into town – although the road feels surprisingly rough (oddly no more poor roads experienced in our later local journeys)!

Park Hyatt Hotel Mendoza is a modern corporate hotel and lacks the charm and style of the hotel in Santiago which was very nice.  It is not helped by an apparent belief when we arrive that there is no room booked for us and no real acknowledgement that they might be in the wrong – even when it turns out that they have booked someone else into our room (allegedly with my first name – how about checking surnames seeing that everywhere takes a copy of the passport? – even more amazed that another visitor has the same first name!).  Having settled in we check the hotel dining options – and decide on the rather nice Grill Q – Parilla for a little later.

First we need some cash and think the casino might be able to change pounds into local Pesos (it was impossible to obtain Pesos at home).  No – they can only really change dollars and if they must then they might change Euros.  When did sterling cease to be important?  We attempt to use the adjacent cash point but that seems to want a passport number, so as there is no urgent need we abandon the cash hunt for now.

We partake of a drink sitting in the evening sun, Jackie is getting attached to Pisco Sours to start the evening and I am drinking local red beer as it seems to be most acceptable .  We decide on eating a plate of parilla (sometimes known as Asado) which is served for two people.  It is an enhanced mixed grill consisting of two different steaks, short ribs, black pudding (in a sausage shape), a sausage, and a huge piece of chicken, some kidneys, all barbecue grilled exactly right.  With all that meat a bottle of locally sourced Malbec seemed appropriate.  We did order some vegetables but these were not the high point of the kitchen’s ability!

Time for bed.