Finding Meaning in Mendoza, Argentina
As part of a mandatory school program, I’m currently travelling with a group of classmates from Yale School of Management to Chile. However, before the official trip begins, several of my friends and I are visiting Argentina and possibly Uruguay. Rough life - I know.
In these early days of travelling, I’ve been struck by the lifestyle differences present here in Mendoza and the US. Mendoza is the capitol city of Mendoza in western Argentina, sits at the foot of the Andes, and produces most of the world’s finest Malbec, as well as many other fine Argentine wines. And, while the vineyards outside Mendoza bear a strong physical resemblance to Napa or Sonoma, with a bit of Latin American influence, the city itself is bustling, with beautiful city parks and some of the traffic patterns one might associate with Delhi or Bombay. It actually feels a bit like a desert town such as Kiryat Gat, Israel.
Yet, the people of Mendoza live a very different life. Locals sit for meals much later, with dinner rarely beginning before 10pm and running long into the night. Last evening, we stopped by a local nightlife spot, and the place only began really filling in at 2am. On a Tuesday!
Walking the streets of Mendoza, we encountered people enjoying their day, taking in the sun while relaxing in the glorious city parks with colorful fountains and pools and generally appreciating the beautiful architecture that surprises around any corner. The Park Hyatt, which rests at one side of the Plaza Independence, is a particularly stunning building. And, while skeptics might assume that the plethora of people on park benches and out late at night, might indicate rampant unemployment, Argentina is enjoying a lower rate of unemployment than the US these days.
In fact, the people here have surprised in many ways. They are international, motivated, and seem excited about the future. We’ve met locals who have lived abroad in the US, within Latin America, and who have big dreams. We’ve met other tourists from as far as Australia and Germany, who have come to explore this beautiful city at the base of the Andes. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect in Mendoza, and it was certainly the place I was least enthused to visit on our itinerary. Yet, I’ve been beyond pleasantly surprised and am enthusiastically looking forward to what lies ahead!