so ends our trip to Argentina... (con't)
Thu Oct 10, 2002 6:37 pm
We found a great backpackers here (yes Rom, we are
in the Backpackers Hostel!!) and, on our first day, took a stroll around
town, rode up a gondola to see the town, and not too much else. The hostel
is a definite party place, so we have also been partying like rockstars
for a few nights and enjoying our last few days in a first world country
before we cross into Bolivia on Saturday.
Yesterday, the 9th, we took a full day excursion up up up to the Argentinain
altiplano. Breathtaking scenery on the ascencion... brightly colored red
rocks all around, and huge cacti line the hills. In typical south american
style, we ended up picking up a young woman and her small son, who rode
along with us in our little van for a few hours until we got to her home.
Cute kid, but he
ended up completely chewing up my pen!
We reached 4080m
at the top of our ascent. All of us got off the bus, and we made a small
mound of stones and left little gifts like food and cigarettes to Pacha
Mama, the earth goddess of local folklore. Then it was into a small town
for lunch. From there, we rode out to see our first salt flat, Salina
Grande. Now, I have a rather embarrassing story to tell you all about
my visit to the Salina... I REALLY needed to pee, but there is obviously
no bathrooms on a salt flat, or even bushes to hide behind, so the tour
guide got everyone to one side of our van (there were only 9 of us all
together) and I tried to go. Got a shy bladder attack thinking of all
of them on the other side and just couldn´t. The road which we rode
there on was elevated slightly above the flats, so I decided to run over
top of it and go on the other side of the flats to do my business in privacy.
When I was going down the gravel embankment on the other side, I slipped
and when my feet got to the bottom, the surface, which looked the same
as the other side, cracked open and I sank midcalf into the thickest,
stickiest mud you can imagine.
After getting my
shoes out, I STILL needed to pee, so I decided to just do it even though
my filthy hands got everything dirty. When I got back to the bus, a sweet
japanese guy helped me clean off my feet and, luckily, I was wearing my
handy zip off trousers (that Mindy made!) so I could remove the legs,
which were caked in mud, and just be in shorts that were less dirty. A
girl on our bus luckily had flip flops, so I made it out ok.
So... we descended on a crazy curvy road and went to a little town with
a lovely market square, then got back in our van at about 6pm to make
the 190km journey back to Salta. All of us were tired, but looking forward
to an asado (BBQ) and a big night out. Well, turns out it must have been
my lucky day! We encountered a huge thunderstorm on the way back, and
the roads were covered in inches of water, which caused an accident ahead
of us. For about a half hour or so, we didn´t move. The tour guide
decided to make a game of it and we all karioked in his microphone. I
guess that sounds like good fun, but it went on for about 2 hours all
together. One girl in particular was REALLY pleased about having control
of the microphone and shouted into it for a so long that I was about ready
to grab it and shove it down her throat. We FINALLY made it back, had
a little asado, and then, while Alison chilled at the hostel with some
friends, I had a big, well deserved night on the town.
And so ends our trip to Argentina for, in just 2 short days, we will be
living behind civilization and entering a whole new world. Even here in
Salta, the people are so much more brown and beautifully native that it
has really whet our appetite to get across the border and see the South
America that both of us have been waiting for...
Chau for now! PATTY and ALISON