Day 4 – Mendoza
When you are on vacation, you often lose track of time. And so it was for most of February 13, when I thought it was actually Valentines Day. It wasn’t until late in the day that I realized my faux pas!
Mike rose early to catch sunrise, and also headed out at end of day to catch sunset. In the morning we met some of Bautista’s neighbourhood friends. It is amazing how they also play with Hilario and hug and care for him. And when they met us, and each time they greet us, we kiss cheeks as a sign of caring and respect. Very inclusive and loving – a great way to live.
This was perhaps our favourite touring day from Mendoza. About 11:30 we headed off for the desert to Laguna del Rosario; bit of a long drive but amazingly worth it. Most people would not know about this place, but that’s the advantage of travelling to visit a local with a deep history of the place. When the Spanish first settled here, they built 7 churches in the desert. The one we went to was the 3rd built and is now in the same spot despite several earth quakes at the location. The current church was built in the 1880’s, the previous 200 years prior and the original in the 1500’s. The church is still used each Sunday, and is well maintained as is the cemetery around it. There seemed to be many houses in use but we didn’t hear anyone apart from the odd motorcycle. It was a bit like being at the scene of a spaghetti western.
The original natives of the area were tall, thin and black, but are all dead now. One white family lived with them and the father created a dictionary and the son recorded many stories – but that is about all that remains of their entire culture. They were partial nomads who raised goats and grew carob and corn. Some carob trees survive, but they are few and far between. The houses are still traditional adobe with outdoor ovens and toilets. Not quite sure how the people here survive – there are some goats, but no sign of gardens and no apparent way to earn a living.
The green parrots make funky giant stick nests on top of posts or trees. They squawk noisily if you approach their vicinity. But they didn’t seem to disturb Marcelo’s siesta. (He did do a lot of driving and we were cutting into his siesta time after all)
From town we headed for lunch to Puesto Dias. Lunch was great – nothing to order, you just get what they are serving for lunch! We had salad, tomatoes, Italian zucchini, olives, cheese, and bread. Then a plate of warm liver and kidney pate. Then the roasted baby goat – very nicely done. For dessert there was candied melon and goiabada with cheese. And of course, with everything…wine 🙂
Before the dessert arrived, the goats where driven in. When we arrived there were 3 babies and 1 mother in the pens, along with a couple sheep and horses. Just after 5 pm – there were 700! All looked might healthy and were only a little hesitant of Mike’s camera as he photo’d their arrival. A bit later, the horses were taken out for a ride. All but one that is, and although it let Hilario touch him, it did try to eat him!