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Published: January 26th 2007
A Wall of Clouds
As our bus teetered on the edge of the narrow road climbing up to Tafi, we had the strange sensation of being on top of the clouds, not just any clouds, but a wall of clouds so dense that it had just settled into the crevices of the valley, unmoving even for the sunset.
Since the province of Tucuman is Argentina's sugar capital, I felt obigated to visit the Museo de la Industria Azucarera to see how this sugar thing happens. The museum is situated in the former home of Bishop Colombres, who had a hand in revving up and encouraging the sugar industry in this province. From the home of such a pious man (usually such men are indifferent to high living standards, no?), it's obvious that sugar was proftable. Now the house sits in the middle of San Miguel de Tucuman's (the capital city of the province, usually known as just Tucuman) city park, off to the east of the center. I used this historical spot to escape for a minute from the sun.
It was barely 11:00 AM but already the day was hotter than any I have experienced on this trip. The sun is fierce in Tucuman, and the only refuge is the siesta. This city takes its siesta seriously. Since I'm not accustomed to naps, I settled down on a bench in a quiet plaza to do some reading but, all around me, the city had stopped. It felt like a time warp; nothing was happening and time seemed
to stand still. It turned out that, for me, time had stood still - my watch wasn't working! But I knew siesta was over when feet and cars and dogs started moving around again. I enjoyed the bit of time I had in Tucuman, though I didn't do much more than wander the pedestrian streets and learn about the city's crucial role in Argentina's independence.
By the end of the day, I was thinking back to Tafi del Valle, a rich little town a couple hours from the capital, where Tucumanos go to get some fresh (cooler) air. It's like the local resort area, complete with the quiant main avenue (souvenir shops, restaurants, ice cream, you know) and horseback riding and river wading. I had spent the previous day in Tafi, where the mountains are made of velvet and the clouds can cover the valley completely one day before disappearing totally the next day.
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