Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mendoza Day 2

So yesterday was an awesome day.

It started out with rock climbing.  I was so glad to see that it was warm and the sun was shining, and it made up for the cloudy and cool day during ziplining yesterday.  After making the trip there, I was glad to see that there was someone else doing the rock climbing with me.  Victoria was a woman from New Zealand but living in the UK, and our guide was Fernando.  Before we even got to the rocks to climb, Fernando noticed a 2 peso bill in the grass.  As he picked it up, I noticed another 2 peso bill and then a 5 peso bill. This sent us all in a flurry to try and look around further to see if we could find any 100 peso bills, but to no avail.  He told us to hang onto the money so we could buy fruit later.  I thought he was joking since where we were was so desolate, so I didn´t think much of it.

We got to the rocky area, and Fernando pulled out a bunch of shoes from his backpack for us to try on.  He was like the Mad Shooer or something.  Fernando got us secured and sent us up for our first climb.  I went first, and it was really challenging.  Being able to keep both of your feet and both of your hands secure was rougher than I thought it would be.  After stopping and slipping several times, I finally made it to the top.  Then Fernando helped me repel back down.  I told him how hard it was for me and asked if there were any easier ones to try out.  He then told me that in Argentina they rate climbs between grade 4 and grade 9, and that the one I did was a grade 4.

Victoria then took her turn, and she struggled too.  After she came back down, Fernando gave us some tips.  I learned that clinging to the rock for dear life does not help you, as you need to keep your body away from the rock in order to be able to move around and get from one place to another.

Our next few climbs went better though.  We were getting the hang of it with more practice, and it was easier.  I actually didn´t complete the second climb the first time around, as I stopped a few meters short of the end becuase I couldn´t find a way up and was too tired.  Victoria and Fernando encouraged me to give it another try after Victoria finished it, and that time I was able to do it.  It was such an awesome feeling to have completed it.

The sun started shining more brightly, and it was getting hard to see when looking to climb up.  Add this to the fact that my glasses were getting looser and looser and were almost slipping off, and it made it that much challenging.  Victoria was experiencing the same thing with her sunglasses.  I also realized that I had a tissue pack in my pocket to wipe away my sweat between climbs, but apparently I lost it on one of the climbs.

After a while, we decided to take our lunch break.  We sat in the grass and ate, and it was so peaceful to only be able to hear the water going by and no noise of the city.  We also heard the occasional rooster that apparently slept in.   Before I forgot I told Fernando about my glasses.  He then disappeared for a few seconds, and he came back with a kit to tighten glasses.  He tightened both of our glasses, and it seemed totally random that he had the tools with him to do that. 

We went back to the climbing area, and now Fernando was setting up some grade 5 climbs for us.  I thought grade 4 was challenging enough, but these were much steeper and had you climbing over rocks and having to reach up and around a bit. 

While Fernando was up at the top, we heard him whistle loudly and then call to us "¿Quieren fruta?"  We then told him that we wanted apples and bananas, and he came down a minute later.  It turns out that a fruit truck was driving by, and he whistled to him to get his attention.  I gave him the money we found in the grass, and he came back with a large bagful of fruit.

We enjoyed the fresh fruit and then did a few more climbs.  I was getting the hang of it and enjoying it, but it was wearing me out.  I hadn´t done something very active like that in a while, but I was enjoying it despite that. 

Then as Fernando set up the last climb, he came down with my pack of tissues.  I guess they got stuck to part of the rock and he found them.  The last climb was the most challenging, but the view at the top was amazing and it felt so awesome to see what I accomplished.

Here is me with Fernando:

This was such an awesome experience.  When I was in high school we actually took a field trip to an indoor rock climbing place, and I remember loving it and going back once.  Even though it is about 15 years later, it is so fulfilling to have done the actual thing.  Sure, I was scared and slipped a few times.  I got scraped up.  But I will never forget sharing the experience with Victoria and Fernando and them calling up to me to encourage me and help me up each of the climbs.

Once I got back to the hostel, I decided to hang around for a bit.  I talked with some people and got some tips on good wines to buy, and then I headed out with Peter (from Switzerland) and Nika (from Holland) to get some dinner.  Peter really wanted to go to 1884, but after wandering around for about 45 minutes we decided to go to Facundo instead.  We got a nice steak dinner with wine and sat outside.  I rarely have wine at dinner and even more rarely eat outside, so it was a refreshing experience.  Afterwards we went out for drinks and just talked about our travels, and it was a really relaxing night.

I made it back to Santiago in about 6 and a half hour.  I am going to miss it in Mendoza and am hoping to return for the weekend of Semana Santa.

No comments:

Post a Comment