Published: October 24th 2007October 24th 2007
The last week I took a trip to the province of Salta (nothern part of Argentina) to help with the opening of an archeoligical museum 11,500 feet in the mountains. It was a great experience so I am going to tell you all about it!
I left Buenos Aires last Saturday at about 8 oclock pm for a 20 hour bus ride north to the city of Salta. Now when I say bus, I don´t mean a crappy old greyhound bus. The long distance buses in Argentina are like traveling first class in an airplane (almost). The seats are large and comfortable; breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided; and movies are played every couple of hours. Due to this fact, my ride was rather enjoyable and I slept during most of it.
Sunday afternoon I arrived in Salta at about 4. The person in charge of the museum project was supposed to meet me at the hotel (where he had previously informed me that a room was booked) at about 7. I waited around until then, when I received a phone call: "Nick, I just go to the hotel did you find a room?"........"Um no, you said you had booked one." Well, even though I specifically asked two weeks earlier if I need to book a room in Salta, I found myself having to find one quickly. On top of that, it was a holiday weekend and the city was packed. I was able to find a bed in a hostel though which worked out fine because we left for the mountains at 8 am the next morning.
Monday, we made the three hour drive to San Antonio de los Cobres which is a village about 11,500 feet high in the mountains whose people have lived there since before the time of the Incas. Upon arrival I expected the musuem to be about 80% completed since it was opening in two days. However, in true Argentine style, it was about 15% completed and had half a floor. Needless to say, I worked Monday from about 3 to 10 and Tuesday from about 8 am to 12 pm on this tiny little museum. Now when I say museum, please picture something more like the corn palace in South Dakota then the MET in New York. The musuem obviously has importance to the people of San Antonio de los Cobres, but to the rest of the world.......
After working my but off for two days, the museum opened on Wednesday afternoon. It was actually very rewarding to see the turnout from both the village and from the province also. The idea of opening the museum was to help support the economic activity that is generated by a newly constructed hostel in the region. After the opening of the museum, I was also able to take part in a spiritual tradition in which the people give back to la madre tierra "mother earth," everything that was consumed during the museum opening. It basically involves pouring wine, coke, cigarrettes, etc over the earth in a specific place. It was a very interesting ceremony, but unfortunately to the casual oberservers it looks like a pile of trash after the ceremony is completed.
Wednesday night I returned to Salta where I spent another night in a hostel. The city of Salta is absolutely beautiful and I would recommend anyone to visit. Wednesday I was also able to meet people from Cananda, Argetina, Switzerland in the hostel which really gave me to the itch to travel more. I'm thinking before I leave argentina I will try to travel a little more in South America while I have the chance!
Kisses for everybody! Chau.
P.S. I will post pictures on a seperate website very soon!