From Coachella Music Festival we drove straight to Los Angeles Airport which also happened to be my birthday! As excited as I was to be venturing to South America I was also pretty annoyed to be spending my entire birthday flying from LAX – Mexico city- Santiago! The flight from LA was pretty easy and trouble free but the 7 hour stopover in mexico city was agony- such a boring airport! We were able to get unlimited refill nachos and some delicious drinks! We also flew LAN Airlines from mexico city to Santiago and this exceeded my expectations – it was an amazing airline with great food and movies! They even had ceramic plates, metal cutlery and real glasses!
When we arrived in Santiago I was extremely tired and kinda felt like dying just a little, unfortunately we couldn’t check into our hotel until 2pm and we arrived at 7am- ouch! We decided to venture into Santiago and have some lunch at the Central market and wander the streets – it was a lot more western than I had originally expected and quite a nice city, it’s a pity we didn’t have more time to see the rest of it. That evening we met our travel companions for the next 62 days, it was quite daunting but exciting. When we arrived we found out that only 6 of us out of 31 people were starting the tour in Santiago and everyone else had begun the tour 7 weeks earlier travelling from Rio De Janeiro! We all had a group dinner and my anxiety was instantly relieved as everyone was so friendly and easy to get along with!
That next morning at 5.45 we headed downstairs with our backpacks to meet Moose – our expedition vehicle for the next 62 days! Moose is huge, yellow and somehow can keep 30 or so young adults occupied for huge drive days. I quickly got told that Moose is not a bus but a truck and if I was to accidentally call Moose the B word I would have to put money into a “party fund”. Originally I had thought it was weird that my first proper tour day was a travel day it actually worked out quite well as it was a great way to meet some people. The seating on moose is pretty standard but has 8 seats at the front with 2 tables that are great for card games. The drive from Santiago to Mendoza was about 8-9 hours plus a border crossing into Argentina and very scenic as we drove the Andes. Truck days also include lunches which is a variety of salads, meat and cheeses to make fresh sandwiches with.
Once we arrived in Mendoza we checked into monkey hostel and had an opportunity to have a quick city tour and change money into Argentinian pesos. We then went to an adorable tapas restaurant with another couple and 2 of the other newbie. After an amazing meal with delicious Mendozan wine I can already see I love Argentina and my new group of friends.