Tara's welcome to Argentina was having her luggage taken and searched. Dean was in the back trying to speak Portuguese, so Tara ran out to get help. After a somewhat heated discussion with the customs man, only one bag was taken and now it lives in limbo at customs and is being held for ransom (a fee more than it is worth). We have to bring in cameras and clothing, because these people steal from their own. A new missionary had his camera stolen out of a package sent from his parents right here in Argentina. SO... welcome Tara and Dean to Mendoza.
Even though the picture doesn't show it, it was the clearest day we have had to see Aconcagua. It was windy, but what do you expect at 11,000 feet. The peak behind us is 22,834 feet. The shelf of snow (glacier) on the right of the peak is said to be 900 feet thick.
It got cold as we waited for dinner (8:00 here in Argentina) so they made us a fire in the conference room so we could visit. Interesting- they loaded the crate with wood, stuffed it with cardboard and then lit the whole crate on fire. Great idea.
We were served drinks as we waited for dinner. We said no alcohol, but the white drink had some white wine in it (their version of non-alcoholic). But the strawberry fruit drink we were able to drink. It was wonderful.
A great lesson on picking grapes. The men carry these buckets and have scissors to cut the stem of the grapes and put in the bucket. They will even strip the vine of leaves with their hands to find the grapes. They ran as fast as they could once that bucket was full to dump it in the awaiting truck.
The men dump their grapes into these large containers on the truck. As they go down the stairs, the lady in the straw hat reaches out and puts a token in their bucket which they retrieve and put in their pocket as they run to the next vine. These tokens are later turned in for money. These large vats of grapes must be for the common wine because at the other wineries we have watched use very small containers and they take care not to bruise the grape.
Tara wanted to see the mini-van I drive, so at the office I showed her my car. Everyone in the family laughs because there is a certain stigma in the family in relationship to mini-vans. I am just darn lucky to have the car available to me when I need it. You can see the small patch of grass that President is growing on the other side of the fence. It is his legacy. He loves newly mowed grass- it was just a patch of dirt before we came.
Showing the kids that they have some things they would recognize, even though they don't necessarily taste the same. They are standing in front of a large display of Mate, the drink the people consume in large amounts in Argentina (herbal drink, tastes like straw).
Tara wanted to experience the WalMart here in town. It is just like a state side WalMart, the only problem is that everything in the store is made in Argentina. So the familiarity stops as you enter the door.
Hector is possibly the nicest person in Mendoza. He and his family run a very nice leather store. They make their own coats, purses, computer bags, etc. We all tried on many coats. The coats Tara and Dean have on are their Christmas presents from us.
You can't leave Mendoza without trying their ice cream. It is one of the best things here in Argentina.
Dinner out at Florencias. Tara was admiring her dinner before she was served her steak. She was glad she hadn't ordered goat. All of the meats are cooked over hot wood coals. None of those fake barbecue techniques we use in the states.
Mario making my special dressing. Here they do not make dressings when you are served a salad. Only oil and vinegar. Mario my good friend is kind enough to mix me a dressing with oil, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, honey. He has been serving us for 2 years now. A good friend.
Dean couldn't leave Argentina without tasting empanadas. He remembers then a little different when he served in Brazil.
A few of our favorite pictures of the zoo. This baboon was obviously thirsty. I was happy to help him out. You should have seen the fangs on that guy.
They have many pumas, or mountain lions in the zoo. I never found my friendly puma, which was sad. I pet one of them under the fence and he hissed at me pretty good. That was when I was pretty well sure that that wasn't my friendly puma from last time.