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Published: March 29th 2008
That tried to spit on us!
HELLO! So, it has been a WHOLE month since I have gotten on here, it's about time right! Anyways we finally went on our first school sponsored excursion since the last on got canceled (or rather it's been postponed now until April the 17th). Two weeks ago we traveled to the Northwest of Argentina visiting several pueblos in the provinces of Salta and Jujuy. We flew out of Buenos Aires on the morning of Thursday the 13th of March arriving that afternoon. Then we took a bus to our hotel in the city of Salta, fended for dinner ourselves that night and got some rest.
The next morning we took a bus to a pueblo called Cafayate, whose industry is mainly based on wine. But we stopped at several places along the way. First we stopped at a roadside cafe that had beautiful wooden fences, flowers, a goat pen, and even a really furry llama! Then after pitstoping there for the restroom and water, since it was the last civilized stop for about 4 hours, we got back on the bus and continued on. The next place we stopped was called "Garganta del Diablo" or The Devil's Throat. It was
a huge slice or indention into the side of a cliff formed by rain water over a long period of time. We were able to climb all the way in and I went up as far as I could until the rock wall went into a vertical cliff! Then we passed by two more rock formations called La Rana or the Frog which really did look exactly like a frog, "El Fraile" or the Fray or Monk, which really did look like a preacher giving a sermon from the mountain, and a formation called "Tres Cruces" or Three Crosses. Then we finally arrived in Cafayate. It's a reasonably sized pueblo since it has two large wineries which we got to visit and hear all about the process of making wine from the fields to the bottle which was really neat. I also got the chance to try wine ice cream, which sounds a lot better than it tasted which was really bitter. Then we traveled back down to Salta stopping at two other rock formations on the way down, one called "Tres Castillos" or Three Castles which really do look like three towers or projections of castles and another slice
in a cliff called "Anfiteatro" because musicians perform there because it has really good sound acoustics due to the way the rocks are shaped. When we finally got back into Salta we were starving and went to dinner at a traditional "pena" which is basically a northwestern restaurant with live traditional food, music, and dance. We had a typical northwestern asado or barbecue with chorizo (sausage), bife de lomo (steak), and of course intestines again! Although the food wasn't that exceptional the entertainment was. There was a twelve year old girl who had the voice of a professional singer in her prime, she sounded amazing as well as some traditional samba dancers and musicians who our program director and one of the students in my group got "volunteered" to dance with! Needless to say it was a long but good day and after dinner we didn't even go out, but just went back to the hotel and fell right asleep.
The next day we checked out of the hotel in Salta and left by bus for another little pueblo called Humahuaca in the Province of Jujuy for lunch. We had quinoa y queso or catus and cheese emapanadas which
were kind of bland, but some excellent fresh salad and grilled chicken. Then we went to visit a monument there in the publeo that is the only monument erected for the soliders who fought in the Malvinas or Falkland Islands War. Then we left Humahaca in the afternoon arriving in another little pubelo called Tilcara (still in Jujuy province) for the night. It was getting dark when we arrived and the crafts market in the town square was winding down but I still went and got some really nice souvenirs including a hand woven pullover for only $30 pesos or $10USD! The hotel we stayed in was the nicest building in the whole entire town. It had a swimming pool and outside deck and the rooms were exquisite. The next morning we visited some local indigenous ruins where the fort was still intact and many of the houses and buildings and even the necropolis or cemetery was still there!
Later that day we left for a little pueblo back in the province of Salta called Pumamarca. But first we attempted to go see some salt flats 12,000 ft high in the mountains. Unfortunately our bus broke down when we
were 20 minutes away due to the high altitude. According to our driver, the computer chip in the bus thought the engine temperature was too high and cut the motor off, but if that had been the case once it cooled down we would have been able to continue on our way, but it had to be something else, since we ended up being stuck on the side of the mountain for 5 hours waiting on another bus to come pick us up and take us back down the mountain to Pumamarca. All in all it was an experience. Pumamarca is popular due to the famous mountain that overlooks the town called "Siete Colores" or Seven Colors because you are able to see each layer of rock in the mountain which are all different colors. It was really beautiful. We were unable to go out to a restaurant to eat dinner that night because they were all closed due to a very traditional ceremony or holiday that was taking place the two days we were there. It was called "Peregrinacion del Virgen" where everyone that is able leaves the town and parades behind the Virgen Mary up to the top
of the mountain and spends two nights and two days there worshiping. So we luckily found a little empanadas place and bought some water and coca-cola from a kiosko and ate dinner at the hotel. The next morning we climbed three different mountains or hills around the town for different views of Siete Colores and the pueblo itself. It felt really good to be out of the huge city of Buenos Aires, hiking and climbing mountains and breathing in the fresh air. Not to mention that the stars and sky at night were truly amazing since we were so far out in the country away from big city lights.
That afternoon we left back for Salta to spend one more night in the same hotel we stayed at before, in order to catch our flight out the next morning back to Buenos Aires. That night we ate at a different restaurant where the food was much better with fresh salad grilled chicken and really good empanadas. It was also the birthday of one of the guys in our group so our program director got a cake and cider for everyone and we sung Feliz Cumpleanos! We were also able
to visit a mummuy museum the next morning before we left which had a mummuy on display that was perfectly preserved due to the fact that she was frozen in ice way up in the Andes until she was discovered. It was really neat to see because she still had her skin, hair, clothes, and everything!
All in all it was a great trip to the Northwest of Argentina, where things happen a lot slower, the food is much spicier and richer, and the landscape is absolutely beautiful!
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