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Published: September 28th 2011
We arrived in Salta and checked into our hostel 7 Duendes. As we checked into our room i noticed a pair of rather smooth legs and some well worn green sandals and i knew...just knew who it was!! STEVE!! He had flown out for a bit of holiday because he was working too hard...yeah right. That day we caught up with Steve, had an ice cream and had a nice steak dinner in the evening. We also watched the film ´The Hangover´(i forgot how funny it was!) and i even managed to catch some of the Giants game against the Redskins which was an added bonus!
The plan for the day was to go see the mummy exhibition at the local museum.
During the Inca rule, sacrifices were often made to the gods on the top of mountains. The reason for this was because they believed that the mountains themselves were gods. The human sacrifices tended to be the young children of various chieftans from different regions within the inca empire. The reason for this was to improve bonds between the local chieftans and the commanding Incas. The Incas believed that upon sacrifice the children
did not die, but were actually reunited with their ancestors. Once the children had been chosen they travelled to Cuzco ( the center of the Incan world) where they were paraded around the city in the finest garments and textiles. They then had to return to their sacrificial location in a straight line (which would take weeks!). When they neared the sacrificial location the children were made to drink an alcholic maize drink until they passed out. They were then entombed in the earth on top of the mountain...alive.
The most famous mummies were the three mummies found on top of a mountain (6,000ft!!!) near Salta. Due to the extremly dry air on the mountain, the extreme cold and the consistent weather the mummies have been imaculately preserved. Their hair and skin are completely in tact so they actually look like they are real children just sleeping!
Anyways, the museum where these three mummies are kept was closed on Monday so we didn't get a chance to see them. Instead we went on the cable car up to the top of a nearby hill that gave awesome views of the city. However, what Steve had failed to tell us
was that he was afraid of heights! We hopped in the cable car and he started looking a bit shifty, and that was before it even left the ground. Of course i found this highly amusing and my favourite bit was when the cable car would shake vigorously as it went over each pylon, resulting in Steve to shout something abusive and clutch tighter onto the seat. After making it both up AND down in one piece we got an ice cream and walked around town aimlessly for a while. That evening we went to an Irish bar called the Goblin, but of course it wasn´t irish at all! They had just put a few pictures of guiness adverts up on the wall and stocked bottles of guiness but the rest was fully Argentine. The bar stocked a beer called ´El Burro´ which was 8%. They had three different types but it seemed each time i would ask for one they told me they only had one left, and it was warm! But nevertheless, I tried one of each...because cold or warm a beer is a beer and i´m not soft. NotthatfussyLAD.
For dinner that night Hayley, Steve and
I polished off a dozen empanadas from the Goblin. The highlight was the chilli and tomato sauce they served them with! AMAZING! Me and Steve contemplated how much we were looking forward to spicier food (the Argentines are real pussies when it comes to spicey food).
The next morning we had a lazy start to the day and had a sleep in. In the afternoon we headed back to the museum hoping that for once something in this goddamn country would be open!...and it was.
The museum only exhibits one of the three mummies at a time and we saw one of the little girls (i think she was 15 years old). The mummy was more lifelike than i expected, they looked so undamaged that i half expected it to move! Hayley got pretty freaked out by it and had nightmares that night. Sadly, optimum mummy conditions mean that the room is lit very dimly and no pictures are allowed, so you´ll have to imagine it. In fact just stare at yourself in the mirro whilst pulling a face like you´ve had a stoke and you´ll get the picture!
We left the museum and lightened the mood by getting an ice cream from the same place we had frequented 3 times in the last 3 days! Whilst munching on some Mint Choc. Chip ice cream we discussed the idea of hiring a car to see the surrounding the countryside. We decided to go for it because we had some adventure points saved up from when we decided not to do sky diving in Tucuman (due to money, not lack of desire).
We walked around town for a bit and stopped by different car hire companies getting quotes. Some were very helpful, whilst some seemed genuinely peturbed by our presence. In one shop we asked politely in spanish if he spoke english, to which we recieved a cold, hard "NO!" as he turned back to his computer screen.
When we finally found a hire company we were told that in order to hire the car we had to leave details of a credit card with the company and the card had to have a limit of 750 quid so that if we totalled the car they could charge us!
There was a problem with this however. Hayley was the only one out of the three of us who had a credit card, and the maximum they could take was 37 quid! The only other alternative was to give the hire company 5000 pesos (750 quid) in cash and then collect it back when we returned the car unharmed. So, for the next hour we sat down and barinstormed ideas for how we could get that amount of cash between us without hitting our withdrawal limits. In the end we decided to con the hire company and give over Hayley´s credit card and hope they didn´t do a credit check. Surprisingly, they didn´t! and we walked away safe in the knowledge that we would have a shiny hire car dropped of to us the following morning.
The was just one last errand to do, and that was book our bus tickets from Salta to the border of Bolivia. The bus we wanted departed at 12.30 am which caused a serious amount of confusion between us and the lady behind the desk (who spoke zero english). In this time of need Steve stepped up to save the day and...well...confused the poor lady even more by attempting to draw a ridiculous diagram (complete with a picture of a bus!).
However, whether it was due to Steve´s diagram or our limited Spanis, the lady finally got the picture and we got the tickets and headed home!
That evening we planned to have a quiet night in because i had to drive early the next day and didn´t want to be hungover. However, after having a few beers with a few people from the hostel (including Hayley Fitsimmons, who oddly enough is friends with Adam Hawcroft who me and Steve knew from Hampton) we ended up going out. I told myself that i wouldn´t let it get out of hand and result in me staggering in at 4 am. There were nine of us in total including four German blokes who were hitting on anything with a pulse! (The next morning we learnt that one of the German´s had got in a fight with some locals and had his jaw broken, probably because he hit on someone´s girlfriend). After a pretty uneventful night (for us) we crawled into bed. I glanced at my watch...5am, great! 2 hours of sleep before i had to drive the hire car would be plenty! besides you can sleep when your dead.
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