This morning I woke up in my bed, and looked around in utter confusion. How did I get here? I had no memory — none whatsoever — of retiring to bed last night. All that I remember about last night was: I'd gone up to the bar (without having had dinner — biiig mistake!); I'd had quite a few capirinhas with some friends up there; at some point, I'd changed into my swimmers and jumped into the jacuzzi; and after, I'd gotten out and kept talking to people. Then, my memory stops — completely blacks out. However, after talking to some of my roommates this morning, I think I've got a pretty good explanation of why that is.
This evening at the Hostel Inn, I stuffed myself silly on the delicious all-you-can-eat BBQ dinner, I slurped away on the giant bucket of serve-yourself capirinha (after all, this is almost Brazil here), plus I enjoyed the great Tango show that they put on after the meal. Since I booked a tour to the falls for 9am tomorrow, that should have been all I did for the night. But I was silly enough to convince myself that I was being told the truth, when an Irish guy suggested that we go into town for "a few quick drinks". Hah: Irish — drinks — "a few" — "quick" — who was I kidding?! Anyway, I can't say it wasn't fun, staying out at the pubs of Puerto Iguazú until 4am; but as for tomorrow morning — that was Not Very Fun At All™.
Tonight was my last night in the Big City of Argentina, and it was a good one, too. Had a big feed for dinner, following the long day without food. And enjoyed the big party that they threw on the rooftop terrace of The Clan this evening, where there was a live guest DJ, a crowded (albeit concrete patio) dance floor, and plenty of drinks to go round. When your hostel does gigs like that, who needs to go out? Indeed, I didn't end up making it to the clubs tonight, as the Clan party went on until at least 4am, conveniently located... well, upstairs :P.
My meeting Eric is one of the most random things that's happened to me on this trip. I went into a bar-slash-hamburger place this evening, just to grab a quick choripan (hot dog); and what do you know? I ended up talking to Eric (originally from Lima, now living here in BA), and his alcoholic friend from Mendoza, at the bar. Four hours and about 5 Quilmes beers later, we were still talking. Eric's a computer technician: he wanted me to teach him how to program and to "be a hacker" (what, now? :P), but I suggested that coming back to The Clan for some more beers would be a better idea.
As I've already mentioned numerous times lately, Argentina has fabulous wine, and it's available here in ridiculously cheap abundance. Today, at the Chabad Rosh Hashanah first day lunch, I tried some kosher Argentinian wine for the first time. Sorry, but I can't remember the brand (can't find it online, either). The verdict? About what you'd expect. It was the best kosher wine I've ever had. And the worst Argentinian wine I've ever had.
Just a quick note about the unbelievable, too-good-to-be-true wine situation here in Argentina. I was talking to someone on the bus today, and they told me that apparently Argentina produces 5% of the world's wine, and that it consumes 5.2% thereof! That is, despite producing a colossal amount of wine, Argentinians nevertheless drink more wine than they make. This would explain why you don't see that much Argentinian wine anywhere else in the world. It doesn't make it out of the country, and into the global export market. It's too good to let the rest of the world get it's hands on — the locals drink the lot! And considering how even the most basic, US$2 supermarket bottle of red tastes absolutely divine around here, I can believe that fact, despite how economically crazy it may sound.
Sarah cooked up a beautiful stew tonight, here at Patanuk, which a whole lot of us devoured in its entirety. Lovely big hunks of meat, fat roasted vegetables, and a thick and juicy gravy-like sauce. Perfect dish for a cold, rainy night in Argentina. And went great with the standard several bottles of red wine (goes without saying, really :P).
I was up for a nice, quiet day of relaxing and reading today, after yesterday's adventure on the volcano. So I'm walking down the street in Pucón, heading to the lakeside with a good book, when this guy comes up to me and invites me to join his friends on the grass. His name was Francisco, or "Chisco": and like his friends hanging out on the grass, he was completely trashed. It was the middle of the day, and they were all downing beers and smoking weed. "Do you wanna be boring, or do you wanna have fun, maaan?" Chisco demanded.
When I got back to El Refugio this evening, after my afternoon bike ride, I met an Israeli guy called Erez, who's staying in my dorm at the hostel. Erez convinced me (without much difficulty) to come with him on a tour of the nearby hot springs this evening. So, after a bite of dinner, and after grabbing some swimmers and a towl, off we went. Perfect way to end the day, and perfect way to relax after a good 'ol bike ride. No better combination in all the world like steaming hot water, rich red wine, and drunk Brazilian girls.
Had an unexpected but most welcome surprise tonight: the staff at Hostal de Sammy decided to throw a free BBQ for us! Great first night in Santiago: lovely home-cooked dinner of steak, salad, and chips; and an esky (or, as the kiwis working there called it, a "chilly-bin" — sorry Honour! :P) full of cold beers. The barbeque took place out on the back patio of Sammy's, where the guests and staff alike were able to sit and shmooze, in the pleasant (although slightly chilly) atmosphere of the Santiago evening.