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April 6th 2009
Published: April 10th 2009
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Flat landFlat landFlat land

Bus trip from Rosario to Cordoba is a lot like crossing the prairies. FLAT! farm fields FLAT!
Do not judge Cordoba by my fleeting visit. I spent six hours on a bus from Rosario to Cordoba with minimal air conditioning. Sickening heat.....I got to the city, took a taxi to my hostel and had a shower to wake up. I tried to get to the city centre, but the days are getting shorter here. It occurred to me that I am witnessing autumn three times in 14 months. Frankly, I am getting tired of the days that get shorter. It puts more pressure on me to get to hostel,then bank, then laundramat, then any tourist site nearby before darkness falls. Often, I run out of time. That was the way it was in Cordoba.
From what I could tell, there were many handsome buildings to find if you had the time in daylight hours. The water in the hostel smelled like sulfer.....maybe it was a dry summer?
Easter holidays were getting closer, which added to the pressure to get that last bus before they were filled with holiday makers.
I got up early at the hostel in Cordoba, and waited for the taxi, then got to bus terminal and bought ticket, and then waited for over thirty
Round UpRound UpRound Up

And other toxins....agribusiness is alive and well, unfortunately
minutes before the bus arrived. I want to give a big shout out to all the travel angels along my way. In this case it was Josaphine who reassured me in her broken English and my very broken Spanish that this was Argentina, and I had to wait....´tranquille´for the bus. She was correct. It did arrive, and I was relieved to get out of Cordoba before Easter.
The bus ride in northern Argentina is very is as flat as Saskatchewan...only in the Spanish language.
Sadly, there was evidence of multinational chemical companies, i.e. round-up, that advertise their pesticides. When I am in grocery stores, it is very difficult to get good fresh produce. The ways of the modern world.....*sad*
As you might tell, I got to Cordoba very tired and sweaty. The taxi went through rush hour traffic and was double the price. The hostel was camping..... The staff were really friendly. If I had the days to explore Cordoba, they would be great assets.
Instead, I hit the panic button and took a taxi to the bus station to buy the last minute ticket for a bus to Salta...yes, 12 hours during the day. I watched the Simpsons movie in Spanish, then the Return of The King (Lord of the Rings) which made the trip sooo much better for this Trekkie.
I arrived in Salta bus station at 11 pm, and saw the poster-size warning for tourists. Yikes! I came here without a hotel reservation, hoping that I could crash at the hotel where I had booked three days over Easter.
When I went to get my luggage, it was a major red flag....the man who was suppose to pass me my bag....legally registered by the bus company, demanded ´ tip´. I gasped. Was I back in Peru???? Did this guy really think that I was some tourist who would pass him cash for handing me my luggage 30 centimetres. So sad! This tourist culture that makes me a walking wallet, and the people in the service industry demanding money for normal things, seems to be alive and well in Salta.
I glared at him (he was well dressed and had the official paperwork of the bus company that I had paid good money to get me and my luggage to Salta) and took my luggage down. I wished I had
Big BuildingBig BuildingBig Building

I was too worried about missing next form of public transportation OUT of this city, to appreciate the public buildings. Easter....yikes, a tourists nightmare
the language to explain my outrage.
Instead, I was in a bus station late at night, with only an address of a potential hotel. Reading the tourist warning on the poster near the taxi stand....I got really nervous. Deep breath..... O.K. Either I trust people here, or I stay awake all night in a bus terminal waiting for daylight to make it safe to take a taxi. Damn! I chose trusting the taxidrivers....although I was scared.
This guy seemed legitimately sincere. Within ten minutes I was outside the hotel, and I nodded at him to keep the change from my bill. He got out and carried my luggage upstairs. I can´t describe how relieved I was to hear that I could book a single room that night. Within an hour, I was showered, had discussed banking and airline office possibilities for the next day.....and there was a hint of a wine-tasting tour.
Yes, I chose well....Salta has lots of museums, parks, village tours, internet cafes, international banks, laundry service, hostel kitchen, nearby grocery stores......everything I needed to recover from a day of six hours in hot bus,and 12 hours in bus with junk food.
I spent

Hmm, should I worry about getting next lot of cash for this holiday weekend?
the day visiting archeological and contemporary museums. I bought lots of fresh vegetables at the nearby grocery store (sadly when you travel by bus you eat poor food) and cooked both meals today. I have enough spinach pasta and veggies to last half of the Easter holidays.
And best of all, I bought an airline ticket to Buenos Aires for the 14th of April. No more bus trips for me!!!! I can relax, play the tourist, cook veggie meals, chill out...for a few days. Yahooo!!

The interesting cultural phenomenon is watching the ethnicity of Argentina change from very European in the east to very Aboriginal in the west. I wish the poverty, that can envelope aboriginal cultures world-wide, did not exist here. My brief time in the bus station was a rude awakening to my status as paying tourist. I do not want this role, and frankly felt very happy in Uruguay and Buenos Aires because I was not labeled so strongly, if at all.
I have several days to find the glorious geological sites that are in the postcards. I have time to do nothing if I wish. Deep breath.....time to play the tourist, the

Yikes, all tourists shudder
kind that eagerly explores new places....

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