Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Post 10: San Juan back to Mendoza...

Police in AR are very different from the USA.

There are border checkpoints of every departamento. Some were toll collection spots. We'd heard stories of police misconduct (bribes for trumped up traffic stops, etc.) but we encountered only polite and helpful people. Once we had them remind us to turn on our headlights while driving the highway.

They are all very young. Lots of women too. They dress para-military style.

In the cities they walk the streets or bicycle. They seem like deterents to crime more than 'catching the bad guys' like our police do. Hard to explain. Rarely did we see anyone with 'attitude'. Maybe Art can do a better job of describing the difference.

Views of the street from our hotel window in Mendoza.

Mendoza is the capital and largest city in Departamento de Mendoza (province). Beautiful city. On the way into town, I got a cold so we stayed here almost 3 days. I slept solidly through one of them. The hotel was owned by an Italian couple who had been in AR for 51 years (they were in their 70s). The husband ran a Really Good Italian restaurant, Treve, in the hotel. At the end of every meal, he'd come by with two shot glasses and pour an aperitif out of an unmarked bottle. It looked like lemon sherbert and vodka. De-lish and Strong.

Strange hotel keychains...

Beautiful city streets.

As the pictures show, the streets are spotless. They're cared for by an army of street sweepers in orange jumpsuits. They sweep by hand.

It was metered parking only in front of our hotel . But -- the 'meter' was a person who was in charge of the block. We paid them and they gave us a ticket for our car. Also, if your car is in the sun they'll put sun shades over the front window as a courtesy!

Meter person.

Mendoza's largest city park. It's acres and acres.

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