carrying on from where we left you, we spent the rest of our time in tupiza chilling out, tupiza was a strange place - very small and it really was just like the wild west!. we left tupiza at 0600 (after a lengthy check out due to our need to pay by card and the nightwatchmans incompetence) we had pre bought our bus tickets to salta (argentina) although as there was no direct bus we had to get on a public bus for a couple of hours before we could get on our bus! although the man i the booth never warned us of what was ahead, he did tell us that we had to be there at 0630 for the first bus which was fine, although there didn´t appear to be any buses which matched our tickets nor was anyone around for advice. after pestering the one bus which was there to see if it was ours we were finally given the green light to get on at 0655! it was pretty smelly and it appeared much nicer on the outside! emergency air filters deployed we settled down for our ordeal.
when we arrived at the bolivian border toen
we were dropped off at the start of the town, with no knowledge of where our bus was going to be or where we had to go to complete the customs formalities we started walking in the direction of gut feeling! after asking some policemen we figured out the way to the border and we found the migration post, then we waited. and waited, and waited until two hours had passed and we were finally getting our exit stamps (which took a matter of seconds and included carly being offered some form of vaccination from unicef!! she politely declined however!) great stuff onwards to argentina, where guess what - we waited, and waited, and waited (while seemingly argentina was shut for tea break or something) finally after another hour and a half of queing we were given our entry stamps (which took even less time!). Again we walked into the argentinian border town of la quicia with still no knowledge of where our bus would be, so we walked into town, tried to ask a local (got nowhere) and jumped into a taxi asking for a bus terminal (if there even was one!), luckily there was and we managed to
get our bus about an hour later.
the actual bus we had booked was nice and we settled down for the seven hour journey. after roughly two hours the bus stopped in a small town (nothing strange there, we thought it was just an unnanounced stop and everyone got off - apart from us and some old people!) as we were waiting on the bus an argentinian police officer approached us and said something in spanish, he then got out his notebook and said ´drug trafficing´ and ushered us off the bus! not sure if he was a conman about to rob us of our valuables we decided to wait and see what he did, after realising he was cosher we got off the bus. It turned out everyone else had collected their luggage and was queing to have it searched by more police officers, so we picked up our bags, got in line and started panicking about the drugs we never (and wouldn´t ever have) had in our bags! by that time we were at the end of the que (men in one line and women in the other, cheerio carly!) as craig approached the menacing police man
checking every inch of peoples bags he asked for identification, craig gave him his passport, he seemed taken aback asked if he was from england and said ok pass - without even touching his bag! a similar fate awaited carly and within minutes we were back on our way.
we arrived in salta at 2300 and immediately found somewhere to eat! then we took a taxi to our hostel/ party house. when we arrived we were checked in without any fuss and shown to our room/prison cell (number 6). the room wasn´t too bad - no natural light, cold, no bathroom and fairly small but servicable, however it was adjacent to the only communal area in the hostal (including tv, radio, tables, chairs and guitars etc!) and every time we wanted to leave our room (including toilet etc) we had to fight our way through the living area; not to mention the party some french persons were having when we arrived (about half twelve). a night of broken sleep for carly and normal sleep for craig and we woke up the next day (hmm at 1515!). not too much of a problem as everything shuts between 1200 and 1700
in argentina anyway. we booked (got the hostal recpetionist to book!) a horse trek for the next afternoon around the adjoining hills/valleys. we decided that to beat the loud noise people we would have to join them and decided to go out that evening, after stalling until 2300 for dinner we thought we had done enough - apparently not. families young and old were still going out for dinner at midnight, the bar we were in was playing michael bolton and simliar depressing spanish artists and they couldn´t grasp the concept of vodka with a mixer!, so we left in search of more happening times. upon entering a reggae bar (thanks largely to the english music being played at the time and the fact it was one of the few bars with people in!) we began to realise that the argentinian people are made of different stuff as the hours passed and still not too many people 'out´, we decided to call it a night around 0230 and as we walked home we passed large ques for a night club and many people just going out!
the next day we were picked up at 1330 by a gigantic gaucho
from the ranch we had booked. upon arrival at the ranch we sat down for a large bbq with the other guests. after dinner we were shown to our horses for the trip and the basics of riding were explained to us! carlys horse was called caramel and seemed pretty mild natured, craigs horse´s nickname was hannibal because he likes to bite the legs of his riders! (which he tried to do at least four times). the horse riding was a fun experience which we both enjoyed a lot - apart from the backbreaking, bum numbing associated with trotting etc (still suffering). I think we were thown in at the deep end as it wasn´t long before our horses were being told to gallop at full speed!!
the next day was a travel day as we took the 14 hour bus ride from salta to resistencia (north east argentina) and arrived here at 0420 in the morning, we checked into out hotel (no hostels) which is very nice and our room had full lenght windows overlooking the adjacent park. we have decided to miss out the asucnion (paraguay) leg of the trip as there werent many hostels and it
was proving more hassle than it seemed worth! instead we are spending more time visiting iguazu falls, we will be leaving for the brazilian side of the falls on thursday 28th july at 0700 arriving at (roughly) 1800.
suppose there wont be too many more blogs before we head back to blighty but until next time, good bye!
carly and craig
ps the photos are from many places not just this blog!
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