"Day 140. Woke up just after 10.03. Had cereal for breakfast. The milk here in Bolivia tastes the same but the Cornflakes are much more exotic and tropical tasting. Put on my green shorts, then decided my jeans may be better. Talked to a really amazing person whose name I don't remember but I think it was Ralph and he told me what an amazing place Cusco is and I too agreed it was amazing. Cusco is an amazing place. I love it. It's more amazing than Quito but only equally amazing as the Amazon jungle..."
That said when you go somewhere which truly sticks in the mind, I guess it's only right that you give it the credit it deserves. So ladies and gentlemen, I present Argentina, a country which we spent 37 days in and could easily have stayed longer. And if I'm brutally honest, even if I hadn't plucked up the courage to pop The Question down in Patagonia, it would still have been a fairly special place. I'm not sure how I would feel about the place if I had plucked up the courage to propose and Stacey said "no" though.
So, in order to keep this snappy. I'll present my Top Five Very Good Things About Argentina. That way, you can just read the five titles and nothing else if you want then go back to enjoying your weekend.
Will's Top Five Very Good Things About Argentina
Truly, it is a bitch to get to. But good things come to those who spent two whole days on a bus. There is no doubt, however, that it's worth it. It's home to the best, most dramatic scenery we have ever seen and I don't think we even saw half of it. As well as mind-boggling landscapes, it also gets bonus points for good camp sites (granted, not a consideration if you're not camping), good micro breweries and the best tasting tap water you'll ever come across.
I'd be lying if I said we didn't have one piece of bad meat in the whole time we spent in Argentina. We had one particularly bad piece of chicken on an overnight but which tasted a little bit like a deflated whoopie cushion covered in tiny bits of cork. But that was on a bus, which isn't the ideal place to prepare food. But in general, the Argentines don't know how to cook bad meat. Their supermarkets and markets are full of cuts I've never seen or heard of. It is cheap, big and always tasty. So much so in fact, that for a fortnight while my Uncle was with us, we would eat grilled meat, with no sauce bar a garlic, thyme and chilli dipping sauce and a bowl of salad. The bowl of salad made us feel better about eating so much meat, but in honesty Argentina's lettuce isn't anything to write home about and more often than not we 'couldn't manage' to finish the green element of our tea.
Being British and all, and given the time we were in Argentina, and the political bickering that is going on at the moment over The Falklands, perhaps I expected a little bit of hostility from the Argentines. Far from it. We found them to be welcoming, friendly, generous and very, very relaxed. One example is in Mendoza, when we hopped on a packed bus only to find that the payment machine only accepted coins and we only had notes. An off-duty policeman who was on the bus gave us 2 Pesos in change and wouldn't accept the equivalent back in note form. Now isn't that a lovely thing to do. They are also a pretty cool bunch of people - they always look scruffy, but not in a Jeremy Kyle way. Perhaps it is all the mate tea they drink. They drink lots of mate tea, to the extent that most Argentines have a special bag which they carry around with a flask of water, tea leaves and there mate cup in it.
If Dionysus spends most of his time in the sunny fields of Burgundy or Bordeaux, he surely winters in Mendoza. The wine here in Argentina is remarkably good and made even sweeter by the fact that for more than six months we went without a drop of it (apart from when our lovely parents spoilt us - thanks for that parents). But throughout the country the wine is cheap, plentiful and generally very good.
5) Buenos Aires
I was genuinely sad to leave BA. We spent 4 nights there and could easily have spent another four, and perhaps another four after that. In fact, I'd imagine BA isn't a bad place to live. It's a huge place - 13 million people also think it's not a bad place to live (I'm presuming, of course, we didn't have time to ask them all). There's a good mix of old and new architecture, good bars, good markets and pleasant weather. You should go, you'd like it too.