The Northern Edge of Argentina

Trip Start Feb 23, 2010
Trip End Jul 21, 2010

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Flag of Argentina  , Northern Argentina,
Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hola Amigos y Familia,

Que Tal? Estoy en Cochabamba (more specifically Cuatro Rios/Tiquipaya), Bolivia.  So much has happened since I last wrote.  Though I've had access to Internet, this is the first time I am able to sit down to write out an update as to what I’ve been up to.   I have only slept in one place 2 nights in a row since leaving Salta.  (I’ll split this into separate entries so you don’t go crazy.)

Last I wrote, I was in Jujuy, nothing much to say about that.  It didn’t work out going to the Bolivian Consulate as I’d hoped because that office didn’t open til 3:30pm and I had to head out of town to get up to Bolivia.  Though I stayed in a pretty nice Hostal B&B type thing, with a great breakfast.

From Jujuy, I took a bus ride up through some of the most amazing scenery Argentina has to offer.  I saw the 7 Colored Mountains of Pumamarca (from my bus seat) and then hopped off in the small town of Tilcara for a few hours to catch sight of Pucara, ancient Incan Ruins. I had little time to explore since the bus ran an hour behind.  The site was incredible and to an extent it reminded me of Mount Messada because a lot of it had been destroyed and rebuilt.  One of the sections had a monument built in the 20th century to honor the archaeologists who discovered the ruins, a little hilarious.  With only 30 minutes to enter, explore and take photos, I whipped around quickly to soak up as much of the pieces as possible.  The surround area of the Quebrada provided a stunning view from the ruins, which must have been an incredible place for the Incans to live.

Next, I purchased a AR5 ticket to get to Humahuaca, a 6000 person town "an hour" away, which proved to be the least comfortable bus experience in Argentina.  (That was of course before I crossed the border.)  Really the only problem was that is was almost twice as long, and freezing cold because of the altitude.  I arrived around 9pm, slightly disoriented as I tend to get when I come off a bus ride at night and have no clue where I am.  I went to the nearby map of the town (to try to find the tourist info office so I could inquire about accommodations.)  Within minutes an older gentleman came up to me and asked if I needed a place to go and gave me a flier for a “Residencial.” (Residenciales are common place in Latin America, where people make a business of renting rooms or beds in their homes.)  So I walked with him to the place, found out I was the only customer for the night (the other guy was out of town), and as soon as he was gone I took 5 mins to decide to go somewhere else.  *The thing is, because I was going to cross the border to Bolivia the next day, I thought it was a better idea to find a hostel with other people who might also be going the next day…I didn’t have any fears about the man with the residencial*

I found a nice hostel and moved on in.  A girl from Spain who I’d met weeks earlier in Puerto Iguazu was staying there, too.  (The world of backpackers can be super small.)  It was a chill evening, filled by conversations with the cousins travelling from Germany, and later a Spanglish conversation with 2 Spaniards, 2 Argentines, 1 Israeli and 1 German.  It was a lovely evening and a perfect way for me to find my next travelling buddy, Cedric from Germany who’s quadrilingual. 

I guess my instinct was right.  Where there are more people, there were more opportunities to meet people going in the same direction.
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