Bus challenged in Mendoza

Posted by on March 27, 2011

We’ve been in Mendoza for two weeks. We’ve been doing quite a bit of in city wine tasting.

this one's good, better have a third glass

But, the real wine tasting to be done here is in the country at the actual wineries.  Or so we’ve heard. We haven’t actually been to any yet.

Why you ask?  Mostly, because we want to take a bus.

We know the bus – #173. We even know how to pay – with coins or a bus pass. But, it’s taken 2 weeks to actually get the means to take the bus.

Forget coins. You know that jar of change you have sitting on your dresser? Well they don’t have those here.  No one gives out change. We’ve been saving up. After two weeks we have enough for one of us to go one way.

This is not going to be enough.

We even stopped in the nearby casino.  I put a paper bill into a slot machine expecting change to come out in coins (and maybe some winnings).  Out poured tokens (no winnings) which I ended up using to gamble.

If you can't take a bus, might as well gamble.

But, that’s fine.   They have bus passes here.  They even have a website in English explaining how to purchase the card.  Check out these FAQ straight from the site.


The card is called  “Red Bus.”   They are sold at kiosks. That is a fabulous thing because there are kiosks everywhere.  There are two to three kiosks on every block, and they are open all the time.  Early in the morning, after midnight, on Sunday, you can always find an open kiosk.

On our first day in Mendoza, Jeff went on a bike ride and I ran out to get a Red Bus pass.    There was a kiosk half a block from our apartment.  I figured ten minutes tops.   Two hours and nine kiosks later I still didn’t have a bus pass.

Every day,  Jeff went out riding and I roamed the city looking for a kiosk that sold a bus pass.  No one sold them. Everyone would shake their head and point down the street to the next kiosk.

After almost two weeks I decided to take my video camera and Jeff on my quest.   I planned out the video. Jeff would ask for the card while I video taped the person saying no. How funny would that video be of person after person saying no they didn’t it have the cards.

Can't wait for them to not sell us the card.

We got to the first kiosk.  I went in with Jeff, video camera ready. Jeff asked for the cards. I giggled as I waited to see the customary shake of the head and hear “no.”    But, instead, the very first guy sold us two cards  It took about two seconds.   I’m not sure if there was a city-wide shortage that ended yesterday,  luck, or Jeff has magical powers. But now we have our Red Bus cards.

Of course the wineries are all closed on Sundays and we move apartments on Monday.  But Tuesday is the day. We will finally go wine tasting at the wineries.

I’ve also learned an important lesson. Always take Jeff and a video camera on all errands.