Sleeping It Off in Salta

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May 11th 2007
Published: May 11th 2007
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Hi-de-hi campers. Only me again. Sorry I haven´t got round to posting the rest of our Salar de Uyuni photos but continuing illness has forced us to spend a rather inordinately large amount of time in bed of late. The good news is that things are finally looking up but it's been a rough road to get here.

I was lucky enough to get well soon after taking some much needed medication from the pharmacy in Tupiza, our final destination in Bolivia. It seemed that Glynn was also on the mend but celebrations were premature and despite feeling rough as hell, we continued with our plans to head for Argentina with the added hope that more sanitary conditions might improve our chances of kicking this bug out of our systems forever.

At the bus station in Tupiza, we met an Aussie couple called Chet and Carly who had just arrived from Uyuni and were continuing to Argentina on the same bus as us. We seemed to click well with them so joined forces to cross the border at Villazon - safety in numbers and all that. Our bus to the border was possibly the worst ever with no suspension to ease the constant pounding of wheel on rutted dirt road. Even when the 2 hour and 10 Boliviano (about 70 pence) ride was over, I could still feel my bones shaking inside my body. It was dreadful.

The border crossing went without a hitch despite my worries that we had overstayed our visitor´s permit by 4 days. I fully expected for us both to be fined but luckily the immigration official was too busy watching football on the telly to take much interest in what he was stamping! Over on the Argentinian side, we were initially faced with an immense queue of local people waiting to be stamped in. A kind guard then popped his head outside and ushered us over into a queue all of our own. Then a window opened, just for us it seemed, and 5 minutes later all four of us had been sorted without having to fill in any lengthy forms or anything. It was just too easy - not that I'm complaining!

Glynn and I had considered continuing on to the city of Salta on an overnight bus but by the time we crossed the border, his condition was terrible and he just didn´t have the energy to carry on. As Chet and Carly were planning on spending the night in La Quiaca, the Argentine border town, anyway we just tagged along behind them in search of digs for the night. We first stopped at some godawful hotel that rented prison cell rooms for 30 Pesos a night. The place was damp and neglected with paint peeling off the walls and no windows in the bedrooms - it was the kind of place that sucks out your soul.

Around the corner we happened upon the very lovely Hostaleria Munay with nice, clean rooms and awesome hot shower for 75 Pesos a night. It´s more than we would normally pay but worth every penny to get Glynn some much needed comfort and rest. We met up with Chet and Carly for dinner (they opted for a cheaper, more basic place across the road) and went to the posh looking Hotel de Tourismo for a steak dinner which both men had been talking about non-stop since meeting. Carly is a vegan so the two of us delighted in berating our respective other halves for their carnivourous debauchery whilst attempting to enjoy salad, rice with cheese and Spanish omlette instead. We splurged out and had a couple of bottles of deliciously crisp white wine between the four of us before heading to bed slightly merrier than when we started out. It was a fun night out and I was hopeful that Glynn's eating something would help matters out. I was wrong.

During the night, Glynn was violently sick again and we seriously wondered if we should carry on to Salta the following morning. By 8am, however, Glynn was back on his feet and adamant he wanted to get as far away from Bolivia as possible. We met up with Chet and found there was a Balut bus departing at 8.50am. Chet legged it back to his hostel to get packed while Glynn and I bought tickets and slowly heaved our luggage over to the bus stop. The Balut bus was pure luxury, especially when compared to almost every Bolivian bus we've been on and it was nice to be travelling on tarmac roads again. 8 hours later, we arrived in Salta.

The four of us and all our luggage squeezed into a taxi somehow and headed to a little guesthouse that would have been perfectly ok if we could have stayed longer than 2 nights. Rather than book in and have to move to another hostel later on, we walked to another hostel featured on a leaflet given to us by a tout at the bus station. Chet's map reading skills weren't the best and he took us in the wrong direction twice. Glynn was almost at breaking point when he took charge and finally found the nice looking Hostal Iguana. Unfortunately, they only had dorm beds available.

Just as we were about to give up all hope, they suggested we try the Hostal La Linda (it had to be a good sign, right Linda?) just a couple of buildings along the street and we struck gold. 50 Pesos a night for a small double with en-suite, cable tv and breakfast included. We went straight out for antibiotics (you can get them over the counter here) and other than that, Glynn has pretty much been asleep since then. Today, one and a half days later, he's finally on the mend.


15th May 2007

Wishing you well.
Hope antibiotics finish those bugs off for good and you can enjoy some food again without fear!

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