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Day 19 - Mendoza & Maipú - March 17, 2013

We woke slightly before both alarms went off at 4:30.  S was still feeling poorly, but we still managed to pack and vacate the place by 5AM.  S handed the keys off to the building security and went out on the street to hail a cab.  Surprisingly, the night bar next to the building entrance was still in full swing, with a crowd of noisy Argentines by the entrance and a couple of really drunk ones stumbling about.  Saturday night was still going strong.  Therefore hailing a cab was pretty easy.  We loaded in the bags and set off to the Newberry Aeroparque.  The driver seemed edgy, and made a number of right turns, going around the block to avoid sitting at red lights.  But some red lights he just breezed through.  I had heard in Brazil that nighttime taxis do not stop for red lights to avoid carjacking and passenger muggings, so perhaps this was the same thing.  The driving was creative, using the left lane, slowing to allow the light to change rather than waiting, and only occasionally stopping with the driver being quite alert to the surroundings the whole time.  We made it to the airport in record time, and quickly and easily checked in for our flight.  This flight was an older Airbus, spotlessly clean, and very comfortable.  It left 5 minutes early and arrived 10 minutes early. 

In Mendoza the hotel was sending a private car service to pick us up.  Three drivers with name placards waited to greet the flight, but none of the names were ours. We looked around the small terminal, but never found a driver.  My Argentinian SIM card never did work, so I could not call the hotel, and the airport did not have Wi-Fi, so I could not use the VOIP phone either.  There was a rack of pay phones, but they would only accept 1 peso coins, and I had only one.  Finally K asked at airport info, and they directed us to the phone and internet store on the other end of the terminal.  Here I made a call to the hotel, and details were provided to meet the driver.  Cost ARS$1.50.  Ten minutes later the driver sort of found us, with no name placard at all.  He got us to the place for ARS$150 (about US$20), and to this day we are not sure he was actually our intended driver.

The Tikay Killa was nice, if small - only 4 rooms.  Compared to the spacious condo, the room seemed microscopic.  We booked this place not because of its luxury or design, but because of the reviews of the owner, Francisco.  I have never seen such a high volume of positive reviews for a place like this.  We had rooms for only 2 nights, and had to vacate due to being fully booked.  Francisco, the owner, found us a room nearby for a 3rd night, but nothing after - Wed night being busy during the harvest season in wine country.   We checked into the room by 10:30 and promptly slept until 2:30.  S was feeling really poorly, and Francisco rounded up a thermometer.  Fever of 39C, which is over 102F.  Back to bed for S, while K climbed on one of the hotel's bicycles and ventured out on her own.  The rest of the story and photos handled by K...

K here.  As S went back to bed after taking an antibiotic and aspirin, I hopped on one of the hotel's guest bicycles and proceeded down the lane to see about finding a tienda to get some water and juice for Steve and also to find a place to get a bite to eat.  Like the saying goes "it's like riding a bicycle, you never forget how" -  I realized that I had not been on a bike in about 15 years.  As I as rode down the lane, olive tree orchards and vineyards dot the way.

I ride about one mile to the main road.  Looked like all the business were cerrado.  One small restaurant Casa de Campo was open so I stopped to have a large salad, empanadas, and a beer.  I ride past several closed stores to finally find one open, I walk in and ask for agua, only to find they had one large bottle left.  Oh well, I bought it plus some orange juice and peddled back to the hotel.  I found Steve sitting outside in the shade.  Still feverish but hungry, good thing I had the last 3 empanadas wrapped up.

Here are some more photos of the hotel:

We called an early night to get some much needed rest for S.

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