My worst nightmare might have come true today. I went to upload my pictures from my memory card to the computer, and the memory card reader corrupted the memory card with my pictures from the past 2 weeks. For me, this is absolutely heartbreaking since I do put a lot of effort into my pictures, and once they´re gone you can´t get them back. I am still going to try to find a way to get the pictures off the memory card, but I´m not sure how possible it is. Fortunately, it is only from 2 weeks or so, so from some of El Chalten, and all from Bariloche and Mendoza. Unfortunately, El Chalten and Bariloche have been some of the nicest places that I have visited. When I get to Santiago tomorrow, I am going to try to find a camera or computer store that might be able to get the pictures off.
Last night, I met up with one of the Dutch girls that I met a week or two ago, and we started out at her hostel along with some other Germans and Swiss and a Mexican guy. Afterwards, we headed to what they call Megadesgustacion, or in English, A Really Really Big Wine Tasting Festival. Mendoza is all about their wine, and they show it with all of their festivals, wine tastings, always some kind of event. So to stay on my budget, I shared with the Dutch girl a glass. We paid about $5US each and tried 6 different wines. You have 6 different tickets, and you just take it to whatever stand you want and get whatever wine you want. There were hundreds of different types of wines along with other booths for random businesses like you´d see at a state fair. Also had plenty of live music and fireworks. This city loves its wine.
Tonight I am taking the night bus to Santiago. Although the road should be really nice, I decided it was worth it to have the day in Mendoza to get some things done, rather than spending a majority of the day in the bus. I will stay just one day in Santiago, then take a short bus ride to the coast to Viña Del Mar for one day, and then finally one day in Valparaiso. I am rushing through these since they will be cool to see, but I think I will do better things up north. Luckily, bus prices dramatically drop in Chile, literally about half of what they cost in Argentina. This is interesting since everyone before told me that Chile is more expensive than Argentina, but obviously not with bus prices.
Now that I am leaving Argentina for good, I thought I´d talk a bit about what I have learned this culture is. Overall, I have really liked Argentina. From beautiful Patagonia in the south, the cities in the north half, to the whole personality of the average Argentine, it´s been a fun several weeks here. Like I said before, Argentina has a big influence from Italy including the accent and sense of humor. Being Argentine is sharing herbal maté with your friends or with someone you just met whether it is 100 degrees or 30 degrees outside. It´s putting 5 types of meat on the grill on a Sunday afternoon for the typical asado. It´s loving either Boca or River Plate, for soccer there it is only one or the other. It´s also about dancing, whether it´s tango or salsa or whatever, they grow up with it. Eating lunch at 1pm, a siesta from 2 to 4, and then dinner at 9 or 10 pm. And from what I have seen, the hospitality is what you see in Italy as well…you will be treated like a king (and eat like one too). I have loved my time here, and really the one month or so I spent here wasn´t close to enough. Unfortunately, I have rushed through some parts more than I would like. But just put this country on my list of places to return to!