It was pouring rain when we arrived in Mendoza. And I mean pouring to such a point streets were flooding. As we were greeted by hostel and hotel touts, I had to admire the irony of the flyer one handed to me, "Welcome to Mendoza, Land of the Sun"
We had left Valparaiso at 7:15 AM and were soon crossing the Andes for the third time.
The foothills contained an interesting combination of of evergreen trees, deciduous and cacti.
Higher up the trees disappeared and we saw dry rocky peaks with an occasional waterfall plummeting from high up above us.
The road ran within view of train tracks and Rowshan wondered if we could have gone by train. The question was answered a few minutes later as we saw the train tracks suspended over a washed out area, adorned with boulders from a rock slide.
I don't know how long we were at the border because I fell asleep while the bus was waiting.
It was a long time. Eventually we were able to get into Argentina. We saw some snow capped mountains but South America's highest mountain was hidden from view.
As we descended the landscape became greener and we saw more agriculture: vineyards, olive trees, and farms. It also began to rain.
Our original plan was to go hiking in the surrounding mountains. With the torrential rain, we scrapped this idea and wondered if we'd even be able to walk in the streets. As we drove through town, we passed cars stuck in intersections which had become lakes and pedestrians wading across the streets with bare feet and pants rolled up to their knees.
The next day, by the time we got going, it was pouring again. Fortunately in the afternoon the rain stopped and we were able to walk up Gloria Hill, a park with monuments to the Army of the Andes and a great view of the city and its surroundings.
Another part of the hill had bronze memorial plaques where selected parts had been polished from being touched by visitors hands.
As the sun managed to burn through the clouds, we had to admit the city was a pleasant place. There were streets lined with huge trees, lots of green parks, and plazas with fountains.
Some of the fountains were adorned with beautiful Spanish painted tiles. Though most of the tiles were decorated with flowers, animals, and other typical decorative subjects, we found one that seemed to show a cryptic pair of underwear with an apple inside.
Today, before heading to the bus terminal, we walked a little down the street from our hotel and found the old train station.
At first it looked like just an old abandoned building. But as we approached, we noticed one side had been painted with murals.
From the pedestrian overpass were hanging sculptures made from scrap metal and found objects.
There were paintings on the sidewalks and the stairs. The inside and the outside wall facing the tracks had also been painted.
A sign had been created with broken mirror pieces reading "Libertidad de Expresion" There were also signs reading "Casa de Amerika" and squatter symbols.
The paintings were colorful and even the letters of the train stop, "Mendoza" had been painted different colors. I imagined how the people who painted it must have had a fun, happy time doing it. But now, if it was squatted, it is abandoned. There apparently was a fire that burned the roof and filled the rooms with piles of charcoal. We found this to be the most interesting cultural site in Mendoza.