With its prime location, Mendoza is only a couple of hours by car away from Aconcagua. Aconcagua is with 6.962m the highest mountain South Americas and what better way to spend Easter than to swing by this gigantic creation of mother nature for a 16km hike?
And so we started our one-day expedition on the 25th of March at precicesly 07:00am without having a proper plan.
The almost 4 hour bus journey to the „laguna de horcones“ where we’d start the hike was no short of breath-taking views and ever changing landscapes.
Our squad consited of: Mexican, French, German, Brasilian and Argentinian citizens, which summed up to a total of 16 people. Even tho we were a big group for an all-day hike, and despite the fact that our French friends leading the way up set a brisk pace, we managed to stick together for most of the time. #teamspirit
After a roughly 3 hour hike we reached the camp where it was time fo lunch. Some of us haven’t spoken of anything else but „comida“ (=food) since an hour after we started the hike. 😉
Invigorated with snacks and drinks we started our hike to „el puente de inca“ from where we’d catch the bus back to Mendoza.
A dose of adrenalin rushed through our bodies as we walked over a steal bridge which wasn’t in the best condition anymore – it was even missing quite a few parts including a proper handrail. But luckily we all made it to the other side without any major incidents.
One of my personal highlights was to see the sun disappearing behind the mountains which just before that coloured the landscapes in warm orangy, almost pinkish colours. Absolutely stunning!
Punctual at 20:00 – surprisingly – the bus departed back to Mendoza. Not even 10 minutes later we all felt happily asleep after this smooth hike.
This expedition proves once again that spontaneous trips often turn out to be the best ones. Thanks for such an amazing experience guys.
PS: I’m currently working on a little short movie about the adventure of our multiculti-squad. So stay tuned!
Before I came to Argentina I thought living here would be a complete culture shock compared to the Middle Kingdom. Buuut, I gotta say that there are even certain similarities.
I’ve only seen parts of China and only little of Argentina so far, but here are some of my observations:
While being in China and especially on the way home from work it became part of everyday life to squeeze into a bus packed with people (where in Europe normally no one would consider trying to get on). I couldn’t believe my eyes when I spotted as recent as this morning a bus also completely packed with people here in Mendoza – which actually inspired me to finally put this comparison on ‚paper‘. Unfortunately I wasn’t fast enough to take a picture… I guess it was too early after all 😉
Another thing I noticed is that both places seem to have their own ‚traffic system‘; it is like a ‚organised chaos‘. Moreover, pedestrians have technically no rights. As a person travelling on foot you basically cross the street whenever you have the chance.
Also cars that would never pass the severe examinations of the German TÜV*, still cruise around on the streets in both countries on a daily basis. #whoevencares
However, nothing beats China’s chaotic – yet somehow functioning – traffic system and there is a major difference in the car brands that people drive around here.
In Zhuhai as well as in Mendoza people seem to be very helpful and appreciate every little word you speak in their language. Often you receive a big smile and sometimes even compliments for your efforts. But since I barely speak a word of Mandarin and I just started to learn the Argentinian Spanish, it’s almost safe to say that I’m a pantomime master by now. #lookinglikeanidiot #standard
Being blonde, relatively tall and pretty white I received many stares in China, which was most of the time a rather positive experience as people admire these attributes and it generally doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable. Here in Mendoza these physical attributes also attract quite some attention which is often expressed by whistles and short phrases like „I love you“ or „que lindo“.
Since I can simply do nothing about the fact that I look like a tourist, I just gotta deal with it. Most of the time it’s super harmless and it only turns out to be a little scary from time to time when it gets dark outside. Sooo… especially as a girl, you shouldn’t walk home all by yourself after a night out or after a late class at Uni.
The food is very different in both countries. Whereas in China the spices make everything taste incredibly good, the Argentinians are known for their delicious BBQ, meat and wine. However, as a true dumplings-addict, I found in Argentina a perfect substitute: Empanadas. Empanadas are stuffed pastries and it’s stuffing normally consists of a variety of meat (emapandas con carne), vegetables and/or cheese (empanada caprese). #Nomnomnomnom
The pace of life or the lifestyles in general seem very different in comparison. But what the Argentinians have in common with the Chinese is their highly valued „noni“. In Mendoza the siesta is as long as from 13:00-17:00. During that time most small shops and (street) food stalls – which are also quite similar those in China – are closed and there’s nothing really happening around here. I cannot speak for the majority of China, but in Zhuhai at least one could find people lying at all sorts of places to have a nap during their one to two hour lunch-break: at their desk in the office, on a public bench, in the entry hall of an office building, on their little motorised bikes… #nolimits
There are a few other details that tend to be similar from time to time but I guess I’m gonna keep investigating them a little further first 🙂 so stay tuned!
* „TÜVs ((…)English: Technical Inspection Association) are German organizations that work to validate the safety of products of all kinds to protect humans and the environment against hazards. As independent consultants, they examine plants, motor vehicles, energy installations, amusement rides, devices and products (e.g. consumer goods) which require monitoring.“ (Source: Wikipedia.org, 2016)
This is the first time I set foot on South American ground and the first week has been everything from super relaxing, fascinating, educating but also challenging. So here are 3 things I’ve learned since my arrival:
Mendoza is a city of sun and wine.
It’s the end of the summer and the weather is beautiful (the average temperature during the day is about 27°). The people are very friendly and certainly helpful when I stutter around in a still very broken Spanish. Every word of Spanish one speaks is appreciated and you receive the biggest smile from the women behind the counter once she realizes that the few little words you just said were such a big deal for you. Learning the language in the field from scratch is an extremely rewarding experience! And towards the end of the day you can practice all the new expressions you learned over a glass of wine with fellow travelers and locals.
Wine is a shared experience
Mendoza is known for its exquisite wine, but that’s most likely no news. On Saturday I went rock-climbing with an Argentinian I met the day I arrived. It was the first time I gave it a try and it was soooo much fun!* We were a group of 8 people in total and after a few hours of climbing we started barbequing and drinking this delicious alcoholic beverage. The interesting part about it was though, that there is only one cup between the entire group and it gets passed around until it eventually needs a refill. Juan explained to us that sharing a glas or cup is a very traditional way of enjoying wine in Argentina.
The same applies to beer. Here, beer is sold in 1 liter bottles and everyone on the table shares the same bottle, which is very different to what I know from home, where everyone has their own one and drinks straight out of it instead of pouring the beer into multiple glasses and sharing it.
The importance of sensible choices
Mendoza is in comparison to other South American cities relatively safe. Walking down the streets or going for a run seems absolutely no problem. However, it would be naïve to just walk around alone at night (especially as a girl). Planning a little ahead like at what time you will have to go through which area of the city or not showing off your valuables such as cameras, phones are definitely things you should consider. I met a few locals and all of them informed me about the same things. So far I havent made any negative experiences and you quickly learn to make a few simple choices that automatically make you feel safer. #knockonwood
To round off this post, here are the highlights of week #1:
The taxi driver who brought me from the Airport to the hostel as he was the coolest and most inspiring taxi driver I have met.
The first night in the hostel with free happy hour wine, a delicious BBQ with a bunch of great people and a guitar jamming session.
Horse-back riding into the sunset followed by another BBQ and the most juicy and tasteful meat I’ve ever had. (All of that right next to the Andes.)
Dancing through the rain/almost storm on friday night.
Rock-Climbing in the Andes.
La Termas de Cacheuta, which are super relaxing hotsprings one hour away from Mendoza. #toughstudentlife
Moving into an apartment where I now live with una chica de Argentina and un chico de Francia.
And last but not least, my first day at Uni today.
Now the real world outside the backpacker-hostel-life-style is waiting for me 😉
Unfortunately I wasn’t able the last couple of month to commit to the blog as much as I’d have liked to, but that is going to change now! Being in Mendoza for a week now I decided to redesign the page and set myself a new target: one post a week. On top of that I’ll try to catch up with some stories about China.
I hope you like the new layout and stay tuned.
On a Sunday, two days after my arrival in Zhuhai, I joined a day trip organized by one of the other IC office interns. I was told it was going to be a one hour bus drive and a one hour hike until we would reach a waterfall where we could go for a swim. By that time I did not know how amazing this trip was going to be.
At 10:00 in the morning we got on the bus to a town called 金星村, which is close to a mountain called 黄茅田 (or here the Google maps address: Sheng Dao, Taishan Shi, Jiangmen Shi, Guangdong Sheng).
We were a group of twenty enthusiastic interns who could not wait to see this supposedly beautiful waterfall. So we got off the bus, put sunscreen on, and started hiking.
After five to ten minutes of walking, the hiking track became quite adventurous. We strode through little streams, jumped from one stone to another, walked through bushes and had to be careful while walking along some pretty steep hillsides… oh and not to forget about all the Chinese paparazzi who came along and wanted to take selfies with us!
It was very hot and humid that day. Accordingly, we were melting in the sun until we finally reached the swimming hole. Within seconds, all of us jumped into the water to cool off. At last we then knew that the hike was totally worth it. The view from the top was stunning.
For all the adrenalin junkies between us, the rocks turned out to be a pretty awesome launching pad.
And… well… we had to go all the way back to the town where the bus had been waiting for us. It turned out the way down was even more challenging than the way up. Instead of pulling ourselves up and holding on to everything that came along – such as branches and rocks – we now had to be a little more creative. The solution that seemed easiest to us was: sliding down where ever possible!
We had so much fun and it was a great opportunity for me to get to know the interns in Zhuhai. Even though I still had a jetlag.
The last two months in China have been truly amazing! I met fantastic people over here, had an unforgettable birthday, had the honour to be involved in South China’s biggest Charity Music Festival, take temporary care of the sweetest dog and explored Zhuhai/China as much as I could so far. Also my internship and my workmates are brilliant. It hasn’t been boring one second since I arrived. But now it’s about time to update my blog and give you a little bit more insight on what the life of an intern in China can be like. Enjoy!
A few month ago I applied for a sales and marketing internship at InternChina. I heard back from the company very quickly and was offered a very nice position in Zhuhai. And here I am. In the city of love in the southwest of China.
The fast growing city Zhuhai
Just 30 years ago Zhuhai was a small fisher town, but now it has about 1.6 million inhabitants. It is very close to Macau and Hong Kong and has a subtropical climate. To make a rough estimate: right now it’s approx. 30°C and 80% humidity (apparently it is gonna stay like that for quite a while). Due to its climate it attracts tourists all year round. There are many things that are a „must-see“, including the Fisher Girl Statue, the New Yuanmingyuan Garden, the Pearl Land Amusement Park, the Huangyang Mountain, the hot springs and its 146 island.