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Monday, August 25, 2014

First week back in Mendoza


Great Wine


It took us a while to rest, it was a very long trip and we did go out after landing in Mendoza, we needed to enjoy an evening out, the weather was so nice, and we were so happy to be back.
During this first week we stayed at Soltiga an apart hotel few blocks from our place, we booked a studio for 6 nights, one of the reason was to stay connected the other the TV!!! We didn’t pass all the nights there on Thursday we passed our first night back in our place, no internet no TV!
It’s not easy to get all the services reconnected to our name, previously we had a management company that was doing it all, when we decided to come back to stay they disconnected some services like the internet, the phone and TV that were under their name, that save us some money too.
To reconnect can be very difficult, and our management company part owner and friend Frank gave us the name of an Argentine that works as an interpret, I contacted her before we arrived to discuss her services, our first meeting was Monday Aug. 18, we couldn’t do too much that day because that was a civic holiday, but we had lunch at a cafe close to my house, got acquainted and made plan to do as many meetings as we can the following day.

Corner cafe close to our house
We got together Tuesday around 10am at the ITC office “internet provider” things when very well, I had to give them my passport and a proof of ownership for the house, after I signed the agreement and because I am a foreigner I needed to pay 6 months in advance, I didn’t had the money on me, and asked if I could bring the money the following morning, they agreed.  After we went to the city office for the water bill, they requested a copy of the proof of ownership, we found out that the bill was already under our name, the clerk told us that all the services attached to our house were under our name, she said that the paper were done by a notary and everything was fine, what a relief.

Next was the most important the TV provider, I took the most completed package, so many channels, with recording option, not cheap about $70 Canadian per month, but it’s the most comprehensive package I ever saw, a lot better than the one we had in Canada.
Again showed all my papers, signed the agreement, and on our way, we were done in less than 2 hours, my new friend and helper Alejandra when on her way and I decided to take my time to go back to my place as I was walking my cell phone rang, it was the sales guys from the TV provider, even if I understand Spanish on the telephone it’s another story, but I knew that something was wrong and that they requested someone to sign for me, at the beginning I supposed that was only as a reference, and I asked him to call me back around 7 that evening. That evening we were meeting with one of our friend from Oakland, and Alejandra was coming to pick up our old tube TV, as we were getting a new flat screen TV. 
It turned out that they didn’t want only a reference they wanted someone to be the titular of the account for us with a social insurance number, foreigners cannot get that service even if they pay in advance, our friend from Oakland his an Argentine resident but not a citizen and couldn’t sign for us, when Alejandra arrived at our place to pick up the TV, she offered to be our titular, so nice of her to do that for us, we barely know her.

It will take few more weeks to get everything connected, the waiting time varied between 7 up to 14 days, even if the sales guy tell you that he will push it, that never happens the average waiting time is 10 days.

When we bought our TV, vacuum and electric pan Tuesday afternoon, we asked for delivery, we bought everything at Carrefour, it’s like Superstore in Canada, the salesman said you’ll get it Thursday around 4pm, which works perfect for us as we were having a meeting that evening with Pablo our lawyer he is taking care of our house insurance. Thursday morning I received a phone call from Carrefour driver he was in the neighborhood and wanted to bring our stuff right away, I was not even close to my house and I told him that the salesman said at 4pm, and he agreed to come back around that time.
Exactly at 4pm that afternoon our stuff was delivered, a lot of locals told us that we were more than lucky that nobody is never on time, but he was, and we will try Carrefour delivery again as we need to buy a computer desk.

We have been going out every nights for drinks with friends, people that we didn’t see for more than 3 years, it seems that nothing change, it feel almost like we never left, a very strange feeling.
Friday night we when out with our friend, Brian and Frank, they were the owner of Apartment Mendoza our management company, they closed it down few months back, too much work not enough revenue, and Brian is very busy with his other businesses, Subways and internet caf├ęs.

They been keeping all the records and bills since we bought the place in 2008, they took possession for us, and furnished it with taste buying everything from the bed to the pots and pans, without them we couldn’t do it. Our place is perfect for us, its a townhouse, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, big kitchen and living room on 2 floors, we were supposed to get it  repaint, but instead Marc will paint his art directly on the wall, I will also have some of my work print and frame to add my personal touch, it’s big enough for the two of us, I am using the spare bedroom to store all my stuff, both bedrooms have closet wall unit,  we were able to put all of our clothing in, we don’t need winter stuff down here, winter is like our fall, and this past week was very warm, not a day under 26C, the normal is between 14 and 20C during the day, and 0 to 5C at night means no need for big closet!

Our living, we changed our TV for a flat screen, gave this big one away to a friend

Living and kitchen

The perfect kitchen
We had diner to one of the best restaurant in Mendoza, Ana Bistro, the owner Gerome is French he moved to Mendoza in early 2000 and opened that amazing French Bistro, 2 years ago one of his friend a pastry chef from France agreed to move here to open a pastry place just few steps from the bistro, the best bread in town.

We arrived first and very early around 6:30, the norms here is more around 9, 9:30pm, we ordered 2 specialty beers, shortly after our friends arrived and ordered drinks and appetizers, after what we decided to order wine bottles, Brian, Frank and I had salmon in cognac, extremely good, Marc had a vegetarian dish, that look so good “a mix of rice, cereal and all kind of vegetables and nuts”, I will have that next time, we finished with lemon pies, coffee and cognac, the cost including the tip was 1500 pesos  for the four of us that’s around $150US, in reality it’s less as the pesos exchange for US dollars on the black market “it’s legal”, is about 13 pesos per US$, but to simplify calculation we always divided by 10! And we are Canadian, means it’s a bit more for us. In Calgary standard this was very inexpensive diner, drinking 3 good bottle of wines would off cost a lot more in Calgary than the full meal all together. 

Ana Bistro outside sitting area

Ana at night


Baked Cheese, amazingly good!!!


Price is relative down here most of things are less expensive than in Canada and US, in general the average cost of living is probably less than half compare to Calgary.
Wine and beer are extremely affordable, even in bar and restaurant. 

The Marketo Central, 15 min walk from our house



 

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