Leaving Argentina for Peru

Trip Start Jul 18, 2008
Trip End Sep 01, 2008

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hi again,
Well the rest of the week in Salta improved as the tour company, Nordic Tours, managed to pick us up each day, although they did leave us sweating for around an hour the day after they left without us!  We visited Cafayate, Catchi and also did the trip to the clouds, but by bus not train as its either booked up or not running depending on who you listen to.  I know I said in the last entry that the scenery was stunning but what is also amazing is how variable it is.  It changes from desert like conditions to lush vegetation over the course of a few miles depending on the altitude and aspect of the mountain ranges.  Then on the trip to the clouds they dropped us off at the salt flats which are a totally alien place to see.  So flat, so big and so hostile...all the guys working there wear homemade balaclavas and sunglasses all the time.  However, after a week of getting up at 6.30am each morning it was a relief to have a lie in on Saturday and just relax, it actually felt like a Saturday after a week of work!  Then we were lucky to see a ceremony in the square in Salta featuring armed Guachos on foot and  horse back and a full military brass band.  I still donŽt know exactly what was going on but it was really impressive...as usual I have photos but I canŽt upload them here as there is a usb connection but no active x installed...IŽll have to do it when I get home...if you want to see some examples of what IŽm talking about you can search for images on this site.
Right now weŽre in a town called Calama in Chile on the way to Arica.  The bus takes a break here for three hours and then travels overnight the rest of the way.  By the time we get into Arica tomorrow morning weŽll have been on the go for almost 24 hours and then thereŽs the border crossing into Peru and another 5 hour bus trip to get to Arequipa where weŽre taking a well deserved break until we fly on to Cuzco on Weds.  
IŽm sure I have more news but my brain is tired after travelling so IŽll make another entry from Arequipa with a fresh brain and lots of stories.
Finally, I was delighted to get a text from my dad today, while in the middle of the andean highlands!, letting me know that Kilkenny beat Cork by 9 points...sorry Eimear!...I checked youtube for highlights earlier but the only thing posted so far is a clip of cha fitzpatrick getting hit in the balls!  Entertaining but not exactly what I was looking for!
Talk soon,
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