I have been led astray.
By red wine and pretty Germans.
And today I am paying the penalty.
Being hungover in the midday Mendoza sun is not to be recommended. But here I am.
I arrived in this gorgeous little city yesterday morning at about 8.30am and completed the usual fun trek of double the expected distance to a hostel I had read was one of the best in town.
But there already, having taken a taxi from the bus station and beaten me to it, was a tall willowy German girl in the process of taking the last available room.
“Oh no! No tienes nada mas?” I said with a slightly desperate look on my face to the man at reception, preparing to hate the beautiful blonde German.
But before I could, she turned to me with a smile and said: “Why don’t you share my room – it’s a double dorm, I don’t need two beds!”
So instead I decided I loved the beautiful blonde German.
But I should have known she would lead me down the path to destruction when she announced as we unpacked our bags: “I am pretty tired after hiking in Bariloche so I think all I am going to do today is sit around and get drunk.”
And that is what we did.
We went for lunch, and had some red wine.
Then we had a coffee, and some more red wine.
Then we had some more red wine.
Then we came back to the hostel, with a bottle of red wine.
Then we went to a steak restaurant. And drank more red wine.
Now here I should also explain, by pure good luck, we have both arrived in this mecca of wine during the grape harvest, when Mendoza comes alive with fiestas and live music and more importantly hosts a week long “Mega degustacion” in which the main street is lined by stalls representing all the local vineyards offering a range of their wines.
You pay 100 pesos – the equivalent of about £6.50 – and are given a wine glass and voucher which means you can then peruse the stalls at your leisure and get your glass filled with whatever takes your fancy.
You are meant to be limited to the six glasses on your voucher but many of the stalls holders appear entirely uninterested in signing said voucher so to be honest, glass in hand you could probably drink yourself into total oblivion.
And thus, after finishing our delectable dinner, we drank more red wine.
The Argentines do drunkenness well. They are joyful and merry, they sing and dance. But you do not see anyone stumbling around or passed out in the gutter, which lets face it, in Britain would be quite likely.
A band was playing halfway down the street blaring out cheesy classics such as Blue Suede Shoes, Rocking all over the World and Grease’s Summer Lovin’ – during one of these – I cannot be sure exactly which one – I was grabbed by the crumbling local lech and forced to join him for a dance much to the hilarity of those nearby. Despite his best efforts, I made a speedy escape the moment the song ended, helped out by some stern looking Argentine women.
Then I drank more wine.
Anna, that by the way is what the German girl is called, and I finally made it back to our hostel at some point in the early hours giggling like hysterical schoolgirls and slept the sleep of those who have been blessed by Bacchus.
The waking was less wonderful.
I have been led astray.