Thursday 26th April - Salta
Argentina seemed a nice enough place on first sight, maybe not quite as attractive, affluent and European as we expected but it was certainly a lot more expensive than everywhere else we'd been to in South America. As a result we've decided to try and make a concious effort to be more economical which meant a return to the supermarket and more home made ham and cheese sandwiches.
Friday 27th April - Salta
One of the benefits of arriving in a more European style country was the potential to indulge in a game of golf which is quite common here. Before we could do this however, we had to secure some coin change in order to ride the local buses which is harder to obtain than you might imagine. It's so hard in fact, the first trouble of this kind we've had anywhere, that it's an embarressment to this so called democracy. If they can't afford to make any coins, I think the chances of them finding any soldiers with ammo to launch an offensive in The Falklands are slim to non existent and a lot longer than double carpet for any racing
punters out there. Despite this they can somehow afford to stick road signs everywhere saying´Las Malvinas es Argentine' so I guess they'll just stick to that and whining about us to anyone that'll listen for the forseeable future. Bus companies that collect the coins sell them on the black market resulting in a mass shortage everywhere which meant after about 10 failed attempts in shops to get some we ended up in a huge que in the National Bank before securing just over a pounds worth for all the effort. We jumped on the bus with the name of a Golf Club and an area or barrio name as they call it and despite the small efforts of the bus driver he managed to drop us on the side of a dual carriageway on the edge of town in the middle of nowhere with not a course in sight which we later found out was actually about 2 miles away. An old lady who didn't speak a word of english seemed compelled to help us and led us 500 yards up the dual carriageway into the offices of a radio station. Miraculously the 4th person who came out from the
office to try and help us was the owner Javier who spoke good English and listed London as his favourite city in the world. Out of nowhere and with a lot of bravado he was phoning up the course where he was a member, The Salta Polo Club, which he confidently said was far superior to the dog track we had been heading to and sending us there as his guests with instructions to ask for the the Pro Lucho who would sort us out with everything. Amazing, he was far more helpful to me in lining me up a game of golf, a complete stranger lost walking in off the street, than a so called pro golf friend of mine from home I've known 20 years who couldn't be bothered to sort me out with a game with some people he knew. Anyway, 20 minutes later we were being treated like exhalted guests and I was walking onto the 1st tee with my new caddie Carlo for a quick 18 hole loop. The rest of the caddy troop stood up and gathered round to see me off as I struggled to keep it on the course for the first
few holes, dropping 10 shots in 5 holes, before finding some rhythm and hitting some solid shots enroute to an 82.
Saturday 28th April - Salta to Cafayate
We slept well after our 5 mile walk round a wet, heavy golf course in the drizzle and ironically 1 week on as I write this and we haven't seen a cloud since. 4 hours later and we were in Cafayate, a small picturesque touristy wine retreat for Argentines in the countryside.
Sunday 29th April - Cafayate
A very pleasant place to spend a few days relaxing if ever you get the chance but unfortunately if you're not from Argentina, it's a remote place to get to. I took Stacie for a nice long walk through the vineyards in the midday sun which I think she appreciated very much. We stopped for the quickest wine tasting tour in history, I guess they realised quickly we weren't flush cash, which lasted all of 10 minutes. I then led Stacie on another walk to view the new Cafayate Golf Resort which at about 4 miles each way was a bit further than I'd envisaged and we were lucky not to
be eaten by wolves as we returned to town in the dark. The resort/ estate has been open for about 2 years and I think has in excess of 150 plots of land for development so judging by the 3 or so houses built so far I don't envy the estate agents job much. Next stop Tafi Del Valle and hopefully a good chance to indulge in some cheese tasting.
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