Alphabeti spaghetti and a bowl of jelly

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hostel del centro

Flag of Argentina  , Northern Argentina,
Friday, December 10, 2010

I was awoken by the high pitched buzzing of a mosquito around my ear this morning and despite the room feeling cool yesterday as the sun had come up it had turned in to a blast furnace (I had the top bunk in our two person dorm and the skylight was directly aligned with my head) hence I felt that I was literally baking. Andrew was already awake trying to contact Fed Ex to find out if the elusive cash card was going to be delivered today as requested.  After not getting very far we decided to go out in to town to get some fresh air, something that was sadly lacking in our room, and decide what our plan of action for the day was going to be.  We wandered through the square and in to the thick of the town and we were amazed by how busy everywhere was - there were people everywhere.  We bought a drink and sat on a bench in the shade as the temperature was already upwards of 30 degrees and we were flagging a little.  We came to the decision that we would take the cable car up to the top of San Bernardo Hill where there are uninterupted views of Salta, the Lerma valley and the Andes.

It was approximately a 10 minute walk from Plaza de 9 Julio to the terminal building and we bought our tickets (25 Peso each for a return journey) and I somehow managed to get a protesting Andrew in the car - albeit with his eyes closed.  At the top it was like a little oasis, lush green trees, flowers, waterfalls and lots of little shaded courtyards.  The views were stunning, thousands of terracotta roofs giving way to undulating mountains in the distance.  I think we spent about an hour just taking in the beautiful views and wandering around.  When were once again on terra firma we walked back through Parque San Martin and found a tiny cafe with a touristic menu (set menu) for 22 Peso each (around three pounds fifty) so we grabbed a table and sat down.  We were given three options but as we couldn't understand two of them we went for the Milanese and a litre of Sprite.  Our first course arrived of thin soup containing herbs, carrots and alphabeti spaghetti - we couldn't believe  that we were pulling out letters from our soup!  Anyway on to the main course which was the largest piece of Milanese I have ever seen and yellow rice and a wedge of lime.  We tried our best but even Andrew didn't finish his plate which never happens I can tell you.  Next we were given the option of either flan or gelateria - we both opted for the latter as I was craving ice cream, however we were both amused when two bowls of bright red jelly were put in front of us (it instantly felt like we were at a childrens tea party).  Maybe our Spanish is much worse than we thought!

For some reason the waiter had taken a shine to me and point blankly refused to even look at Andrew directing all of his conversation to me which was that obvious it was hilarious.  We were told to expect a fair amount of machismo in South America so it was just weird for it to be the other way around and Andrew being ignored.  We wandered back to the hostel feeling stuffed and ready for our afternoon siesta (a lot of the shops and businesses close here between 12 and 5pm) it must be so easy to fall in to that routine especially if you are here for a while.  However when we got back we found out that our cash card had arrived!  Yeah!  So after paying the 167 Peso tax and charges we quickly ripped open the package to fing that the card was bent.  That was all that we needed.  So after changing rooms - we were given a double room for the same price as our 2 bed dorm as the man needed it, the room we got was much better so everyone was a winner.  We went back in to town to try to use it and at the third ATM we were given cash which was a huge relief.  Our next mission, now we had cash was to book the bus to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile - our next port of call.  Instead of trailing all the way to the bus station in the heat of the day our hostel manager told us that we could book it at the travel agent round the corner.  Great.  We gave ourselves another day here, which meant that we would leave on Sunday morning at 7am hopefully we could squeeze an excursion in for our final day in Salta.

After calling in to a few travel agents the options were either a tour to Humahuaca and the seven colours mountain for 170 Peso each, hire a car for 264 Peso or have a 4x4 tour to El Rey cloudforest for 350 Peso each.  Of course I wanted to go to the cloudforest - I had been looking forward to going there for ages but the cost was just too much so we were left with the first two options.  We tried to get Will and Jo roped in to a car hire so we could split the cost 4 ways but they had other plans so we plumped for the guided tour to Humahuaca instead after haggling down the price by another 20 Peso each (it had to be done).  We couldn't decide whether to go to the restaurant across the road from the hostel (too handy) Dona Salta for our last taste of Argentinean steak but we had eaten that much at lunch time and spent so much money on buses and tours that we had a sudden attack of the guilts and went to bed instead of eating - wow we even passed up the all you can eat and all you can drink barbeque in the hostel - guilt is a terrible thing.
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