Edit Blog Post
Published: January 5th 2009
Piece of Cake
We had to ford a river to get to this area, worth it for sure.
The tick was the size of a small grape. I found his fat body buried in the tan fur of Tidie´s neck. I was careful not to grab strands with my thumb and forefinger. The tick waved his legs feebly, frantic for his warm home.I dropped him on the ground and let my foot drop. Like a ketchup packet, his belly split and spurted stale blood into the dirt.
As Tidie trotted away to chase chickens,I sat down in my seat at the table, ready to resume our game of UNO. Tom, a belgium I had met at the boarder between Bolivia and Argentina, chatted rapidly in Spanish with the children, a boy and girl of about twelve. I listened feebly, the words blurring together in my ears. My mindwandered, and I stared into the distance, watching the clouds move over the mountains, the cactus standing like silent guards over the dry land.
In the evening we peeled fruit to beshredded and mixed with wine. Dough was flattened and filled with potatoes and meat, the edges crimped and curled by expert fingers into empanadas. Tom practiced on dough pieces, but never mastered the craft of rolling the edges with
I had to be careful with my mesh tennis shoes, these puppies like to bite.
his fingers. We laughed, brown faces with smiles of dark teeth flashing around me.
Who knew that just three days ago I had been in Bolivia, enduring ten hour bus rides through the night, bent on arriving in Argentina for Christmas. Even flooding roads of water were not enough to delay my journey, though it made the traveling more interesting. As I stepped off the bus at six AM in Villanes at the boarder, I collected myself on the sidewalk, bag balanced against one knee, and a wary eye on the lookout for light fingers. I had met an Aussie while stuck in Sucre for two days waiting for my bus. I glanced around for him in the crowds leaving the buses, but no Peter.
As always, others come to take place as a traveling companion, and I soon linked up with four Israelies, and then a Belgium named Tom. We changed our Bolivianos for Pesos in the town before crossing at an echange of 2.5 Bolivanos per peso. As usual, we lost money due to commission.
Tom and I crossed without a problem. A boarder guard on the Argentinian side took our passports and ushered us
End of the World
Me at the boarder pointing to the sign that shows the the distance to the end of Argentina.
through a long line to a somewhat shorter line where our bags were searched half-heartedly. I sweated for a moment, thinking about the collections of rocks, feathers, and seeds I had found in my travels, my most coveted pocesion being two giant ants I had caught while in the jungle. Now curled and dried, I had hidden them in an empty tums container. Once through, we breathed sighs of relief, giggles of glee bursting from our mouths--we were finally in Argentina! No more beggers or smelly streets, or asking oneself before a taking a bite of something "will this make me sick?"
We took a bus to Salta, arriving in the evening. Hostel touts surrounded us with flyers and we chose the cheapest at 20 pesos (some hostel called the Iguana). Michelle, a Dutch we had met at the station, came with us and we spent the evening walking in the night markets and eating cotton candy. Michelle and I met up again with the Israelies guys randomly as they were entering a restuarant. We spent the evening flirting and sampling their steak dinners before returning to our hostel as the sky darkened and started to fill with rain.
It had been a long time since I had seen flowers. For some reason Bolivia does not have very many...
That evening, as we watched TV and waited in line for internet, the rain turned into a downpour that soon flooded the streets. The hostel staff frantically soaked up water as it flooded across the floor, even going outside to pull trash from the gutter to help the drainage. We placed our bags on a vacant bunk-bed where they would be safe from a wet floor, and fell asleep.
In the morning we woke to an awful breakfast. One piece of bread per person with coffee or tea, but they ran out of both, and when I asked for juice she gave me tang in a glass the size of a shot glass--I kid you not. Tom, ever confrontational, decided that he would move hostels and we decided to join him. Our heads hanging, we gathered a handfull of flyers and chose a slightly more expensive hostel called the Excess for 25 pesos, but which was reputed to have a better breakfast. After changing hostels, we spent the day exploring, the highlight being a trip up to the top of a nearby mountain (although by my Alaskan standards I would consider it to be a hill) in a tram
Going up in the tram in Salta.
where we pick-knicked for the afternoon.
In the evening we went out to sample Salta nightlife. After demolishing a platter of meat and a bottle of wine (I opted for soda since I almost always find wine too bitter for my taste and the price difference, although not much different than, were still sending me reeling). Little was hopping on a Monday night. Most of the nightclubs were closed, so we settled ourselves outside on a restuarant patio, watching flaminco dancers and enjoying a beer.
In the morning Tom and I left for Cafayete, leaving Michelle to continue her journey on to Mendoza.
We arrived late in the afternoon in Cafayete. The town was small, the outskirts dusty, and we lugged our bags across the Plaza to a hostel near the Tourist Info. Tired as I was with only four hours of sleep, Tom and I decided to join an afternoon tour of the area for fifty pesos each. At two PM we and about ten Frenchies piled into a van for six hours of exploration.
The terrain was magnificant, giant rocks in hues of red, yellow, and brown rose like dessert cakes from the sand.
More Salta for Ya
The view from the tram.
The tour involved walking, but much of it was get off, take picture, get on again type routine. For someone who decided to take the back seat, it got a little old as true exhaustion began to take over. Yet, we forded rivers, yelled into amphatheaters, scrambled to the top and bottom of every intereting rock, and tiptoed through clumps of sleeping cactus. As Tom and I wiped sweat from our faces we grinned at each other from time to time, it was good to be in Argentina.
Tot: 1.533s; Tpl: 0.07s; cc: 12; qc: 60; dbt: 0.0605s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb