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Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 3, Mendoza Argentina

Winter in Mendoza, some of the big trees are starting to bud, I used my little Panasonic Lumix at 28mm, the  small distortion enhance the beauty of these trees.

Monday September first, started the day early, I had 3 important items on my list for that day, a lot of walking to do.
Before leaving the house I decided to go on line and chat with a rep. from Direct TV in Buenos Aires where all the decision are made. I found out that my contract from Mendoza was never entered, meaning that I wasn’t in the system, I couldn’t believe, I paid for the installation more than 2 weeks ago, I had a contract with me to prove it, but my Rep. Cristian Sanchez didn’t entered the contract in the system, I have been walking to the Mendoza Main office every week to get an answer, and they lied to me every time saying that everything was fine and that I will get it in few days. I was so mad, my blood was boiling inside me. I stop the chat, copy it and put it in my tablet to bring with me to the Mendoza Direct TV Main office.

I got to the office with the intention to get an answer of what was going on, ready to cancel!
I walked directly into the reps office, only one rep. was there Jessica, a very nice girl, I explained the problem and showed her the chat copy on my tablet, she got on the phone right away with Mr. Sanchez my rep.“I won’t tell you what I think about him it will be way too long”, after speaking with him, she sent me to another customer service rep. to reenter my contract in the system, before leaving I advised them that if the service wasn’t installed by the end of the week, I was going to cancel and go with their competitor, not that I really want to do that, but I had to put pressure on them.
2 days later we got the service installed, and the two technicians that did the installations were fantastic, amazing work.

TV Direct Buenos Aires Customer Care called me after the work was done to ask me my opinion on their services, I told him everything, and he said that if I need anything to call Buenos Aires Directly.
I spent too much time with Direct TV that morning, and didn’t get a lot of time left to get to my other 2 meetings, luckily the next stop was almost next door, Personal my cell phone provider.
What a neat office, it’s almost like walking into a spa or a five start hotel, one of the girl at the entrance took my name interred it in her tablet, with few notes about my problems, I wanted to know why my account wasn’t under my name and why the minutes that I was buying seems to disappeared really fast. After I gave her the info she sent me to the back of that huge office to wait, amazing space, spacious with big sofa, relaxing music all in the shades of beige, a real spa atmosphere, not even five minutes later a young girl came and called me, another relaxing experience, she told me that the name on the account was only a front person, an Argentine citizen, the reason for this gamic is to let people like me used the system without any resident visa, that’s why I was able to open my account only using my cell number, put money on my virtual card at  the corner store, and buy packages for 7 to 30 days on line. For the minutes she told me that I was buying the wrong package, and showed the one to buy. I was in and out in about 20 minutes.

I walk a lot to get to my meetings, passing by Plaza Independencia almost every day, I took that shot with my Panasonic Lumix, when walking around to get to meetings or shopping I don't bring my big 5D!
It was getting late around noon, in Mendoza most of the businesses close early afternoon for the siesta, I had no time to spare, and began to walk to my next stop to our alarm system provider ADT, a lot farther away than I expected, It took me an hour to get there and they were close. I was getting very tired, and disappointed, I had no choice to come back the following day.

Tuesday morning I got up early, and on my way to ADT, got to the office, meet with a customer care rep. asked her to change the name on our contract as it was on our past management co. and needed to be transferred to our name and asked to send a technician to check the system and show us how to use it properly, I started the alarm twice the past few weeks not sure why, it’s very load and stressful.
Again a great experience, even if it wasn’t possible to change the name as we are not resident, we can look for a front person later on, she added our name into the system, and was able to request a technician to come to our place.

Coming back from ADT I decided to stop by a locksmith store we got the name from a friend, spoke with the son owner and arrange to have our lock change the following day.

Wednesday I was up early again as Direct TV were schedule to do installation early morning, they were on time, took about 3 hours, they had to get on the roof and drill holes into the house to pass the cable.

When they left we had just enough time to clean and have lunch before the locksmith showed up, again did a great job, clean again, and when to Leon like every night for a beer before diner.

We got into the habit of going to Leon around 6:30 for a beer, cost for a liter with peanuts and tip is 40 pesos, about $4.00 USD, we normally stay there till 8pm and cross the street to Trovato a butcher shop and wine producer, who sell their wine almost at cost at their shop, a great Reserve 2011 Malbec cost 28 pesos, yeap under $3.00USD, and great Chenin Blanc for 13 pesos for a 700ml, we normally buy 2 white and one red. From Leon to Trovato we spend less than 10USD. We decided to reduce our visit to these two establishments to 2 to 3 times a week, and it’s not a money problem!!!

This little dog and his master, are at Leon almost every evening for coffee, his name is Adolfo, and all the patrons know him, he is our mascot! Again I used my Panasonic Lumix took the shot from inside the bar through the glass window. I took the time to frame it using his red leash as a line to bring the viewer in, and the red line on the sidewalk to give tension. My goal in this composition was to get a lot of line and shape mostly triangle.
Thursday I had a lunch meeting with our friend Craig and one of his friend Carlos DiStephano a filmmaker and actor. We got together to chat about Mendoza art and photography contacts. Carlos is an amazing guy, very interesting and very resourceful, he came prepared and gave me a lot of info and names, it was a relaxing lunch even if it was all in Spanish! 

Thursday night we had a meeting with our complex manager to introduce ourselves and pay our condo fee, it cost 275pesos per month, at that cost we paid for 4 months. The manager Maria Jesus, told us that they will organized events in our common area, mostly Asado a barbecue techniques and a way to socialized in Argentina and other South America country.
This is our Complex front view

I took a picture of our entrance door for a reason, in Mendoza they don't have back alley, instead they are using the space to build complex like ours, and looking at that door don't give any clue of what is the other side.

Opening this door and voila, great use of the space, very private.

This is our place #3 close to the entrance door, the black car is parked in our parking, we will rent this space, we won't have a car for a while.  Our town house is on two level as you can see the 4 front windows, the small window on the first floor is where my kitchen is, the big one the living room, second floor are both bedrooms. A lot of distortion as I used my Canon 5D Markiii and 15mm fish eyes.

This is our common area, it's huge and the Asado BBQ is double, perfect for big event, we need that space as we are 17 units in this complex

Another view of our place looking at the entrance door, we will buy a tree to put on our balcony and some patio furniture.  Our view is not the best but we don't have any apart or building in front of our unit a big plus.

Our view, not the best but I love it, the side street is our street Paso de Los Andes

I took that shot on our street Paso de Los Andes, I couldn't resist I had to modified it, love the colors.
Friday I had a lot of shopping to do as we had company coming for diner, our first diner with friends in our house since we are back. It was great and relaxing way to end the week.

This is a view of the Main street Juan B. Gusto a 2 blocks for our place, the add this bike path few years back and goes all over the city.

This is one of the many place to sit and relax, the sidewalk are very large in Mendoza and all restaurants, bars, cafes  small or big are using this pace to add sitting space, all year long. It's an important feature for smokers as smoking is not allowed  inside.

Saturday I went to Green Mendoza at San Martin Park, an event that it’s all about food, green and organic, with a lot of producers, and shops, music and cooking classes, very interesting event.

Sitting on bench at the entrance of San Martin Park to set my camera before going to Green Mendoza, I turn and saw that bird drinking water, just few feet from me, I had the time to use the shape of the pipe to get a composition using line and shape, it's a good habit to look for triangle, and leading line when doing a composition.

Cooking class in front of the lake, Green Mendoza event

Food fare Green Mendoza

Food Fare Green Mendoza

Food fare Green Mendoza

 Food fare Green Mendoza, I bough some and they were fantastic, fresh organic pistachio, 50 pesos a bag.

A lot of people at the Green Mendoza event.

Winter in Mendoza

We finished our week at Leon, and David the owner wanted to invite us for a beer as he does from time to time, but this time we had to refused as I was starting a cold, and feel very sick, he asked his partner Jessica to prepared a hot beverage done with herb, honey and lemon to help me getting better, they are so nice just amazing friends, we are lucky to have them. It did the trick as I feel a lot better today.


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