Blue morning of clear sky and endless ocean rippled waves as I drove up and over the hills, away from the coast and towards Santiago.
Mission today: Valparaiso, Chile to Mendoza, Argentina.
On the bus ride I managed to not only eat an entire package of cookies and a ton of bread rolls, but I also cruised through the first 300 pages of Dan Brown`s The Da Vinci Code. Yesterday, after finally finishing Jared Diamond`s Guns, Germs, and Steel, I book-swapped on the bookshelf for this popular read. I now understand why it`s popular and controversial.
After a 7hour or so bus ride, I rolled over the backside of the Andes and into Mendoza, Argentina. Stoked to be en route to meet some of my buddies who live and study here!
When I arrived at the bus station, my friend Simon (a good friend who studied abroad from France in Davis and now is working here in Mendoza for two years) picked me up and we cruised across town. We picked up his co-worker Gaby and her two boys, Nico and Mariano and drove to a meeting. Simon is working as one of the volunteer coordinators for the Jesuits here in Mendoza. He helps run a second hand clothing shop, works with people in the streets, and works to coordinate funding for a local school. Awesome.
After the meeting, we walked the ten blocks to Cesar`s apartment. Cesar is one of Simon`s best friends here. Because Simon and Cesar both ROCK, I am staying with Cesar for the week!
We dined, and then wined. A birthday party for a friend at a bar across town, Rumbo Perdido. Get this: Think of a red plastic cup that you see at college parties. Well, that style cup, but bigger and not red. The bartenders serve 1Liter beers in plastic cups. Now pair that with people dancing to Reggaeton in a very crowded place. Challenging.
It`s not a figment of your imagination. The crowds do stay out until 4 o`clock in the morning here. Another epic challenge, if I do say so myself.