Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Primero Classe

My first class was supposed to be yesterday. It's the primary reason why I am here, in Mendoza for a week at the beginning of my trip. That, and the wine of course. It has always been a desire of mine to take a Spanish class in a native country. Usually Marc and I would be traveling together, taking one of our month-long sojourns to a country we want to explore. We had been considering Bolivia for a long time since we've been exploring a lot of Asia lately. Unfortunately it was impossible for Marc to get away for an entire month. It seemed that even a week might be pushing it right now. Mare encouraged me to explore without him and Africa crossed my mind, but since there is a possibility that Mar might be able to join me for a week, South America seemed like a much easier option. And I thought this might be the perfect opportunity to take that class I always wanted to take. Argentina called my name.

I took a taxi to my tutor's house for my first class. I found a private tutor online during my research, who cost about the same as group classes, but she offered the advantage of one on one communication and her program was advertised as more conversational. Ana greeted me in customary Argentine fashion, with a kiss on the cheek and a hug before explaining her process. Once she started her lessons it would be all Spanish, all the time. I couldn't think of a more perfect way to immerse myself in the language... or dive off the deep end. Our first class was conducted in the courtyard of her home (although we had to move into the house when the light rains came). She moved at a speed that was quick but easy enough for me to comprehend and even gave me homework for the night. My first class ended around siesta time, and while I considered taking the bus back to the first district, I ended up walking home. The walk took about an hour, and wasn't difficult. I honestly think walking is the best way to get to know a new place. I passed through neighborhoods I wouldn't normally in a taxi or on the bus and was able to experience daily life here in Mendoza.

I made my way to Av. Aristdes for a little lunch. This streets is written up as the one with all the bars and restaurants. It felt a little more "touristy" than the rest of the city. But I later discovered that it's more of a local hang out at night, after 10 PM. I had empenadas at a popular cafe and sat outside with a glass of wine and my book, enjoying the quiet that falls over the city during siesta.

When I arrived home, for my own siesta, I received a sad phone call from one of the Martins (the own the popular restaurant Los Chocos) turns out the other party for that evenings dinner cancelled, leaving only me to dine alone so they were canceling the dinner entirely. Martin was very apologetic but promised to add me to the Thursday reservation. (Hopefully it works out.) So after my own siesta I was left without a dinner reservation. I did a little research and ended up at Bistro Anna, another very popular restaurant in the city. Here I was able to do my homework.

I was proud of myself as I insisted on getting the menu in Spanish. I'm nothing, if not committed to this endeavor to learn Spanish. And, thankfully, the waitress spoke to me only in Spanish. The downfall came in the execution of my order. Not to say it was a total disaster, but something was lost in the translation. It started off well, with a nice salmon ceviche to start, paired with an Argentine Chardonnay. I don't usually drink Chardonnay but here they're more reflective of the French style than the Chardonnays from Napa.


My main was a T-Bone steak, my first steak of the trip. I was so excited. I ordered my steak medium rare, or so I thought. I swear the waitress understood that I wanted it pink in the middle. I thought she said cool on the inside. Either I misunderstood her or the kitchen overcooked it because what I got was well done. Such a travesty. But since my Spanish is not so good I didn't feel comfortable drawing the mistake to her attention because it was probably mine. The steak was fine, quite tasty but tough. Add that to the list of things I need my teacher to teach me how to say in Spanish.


  1. Hope you're having a blast. Everything looks so yummy. I found this for you... http://santelmoloft.com/2008/07/01/argentinean-asado-102/

  2. A well done steak? The horrors! ;-) Kudos to you, brave chica, for making this expedition and letting the rest of us live vicariously through you. I enjoy reading your updates and looking at your gorgeous photos!


Your comments make me smile!