Finally I meet the indigenous Argentinians

Trip Start May 03, 2005
Trip End Oct 31, 2005

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

I really was beginning to think that the indigenous population of Argentina was virtually extinct but thankfully, they are only in the NW of Argentina.

Salta, for some reason, reminds me of Iquitos in Peru. Perhaps it is the colonial style, low rise buildings with narrow streets and the sunshine. My summer isn't over yet - yippee!

I had a relatively lazy day when I first arrived, wandering around the city. The second day I had planned to go for a serious walk but my bed wouldn't let me go. Was probably not a bad thing as it ended up being a pretty miserable day. I headed up to the viewpoint on a cable car but it was really throwing it down so didn't see very much.

Yesterday I was in serious need of exercise so headed to San Lorenzo, which is 11km from Salta. I headed up to the Quebrada Valley and it was only when I was leaving did I suddenly think, "this must be a Valle Verde project like the Lurin Valley south of Lima". A guy told me that I could only walk for 40 minutes without a guide, which I was rather irritated about but when I started to walk the path ran out after 10 minutes and the only way forward was to pass by 3 bulls. I wasn't brave enough to risk it so headed up the other side and eventually found a tiny trail. I think it was made by cows as I had to fight my way through thorny bushes and a rubble pathway, coming across another bull and cow along the way.

The view was really pretty with trees of a million different colours - very unlike the other parts of Argentina that I've seen. It was a tough climb and a little stressful as there really was no clear path. I was relieved to get back to the road again but really didn't feel like I'd done enough exercise so headed to the village passing the most amazing houses - colonial style and extremely opulent. Bearing in mind that I had just passed a large number of very poor houses five minutes earlier on the mountain, and rubbish in the valley that seems to go hand in hand with these types of developments, it did leave me a little uncomfortable with the level of disparity of wealth.

San Lorenzo village really didn't have anything very exciting so I just kept on walking and ended up walking back to Salta. I was completely wrecked last night - think I covered at least 20km but felt so much better after the exercise.

Going to head up to Salar de Uyuni tomorrow (if I don't end up stranded at the border).

Hope all is well with you. Let me know what you're up to!
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