Salta, slightly less native than Mollinos,

Trip Start Feb 14, 2007
Trip End Jul 12, 2007

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Monday, February 26, 2007

So basically there is a private room in this cafe for locals, and there are about three people in there so far, and I am not sure why it is private but it makes me curious.

Anyway, been in Argentina since the 14th and "am loving it". Once picked up from the airport we were driven into downtown Argentina and were taken to Juliaīs house. I had NO idea who she was or why we were going to her house but we did and she was very welcoming. She gave us diet coke on silver coasters and we sat in her library/study area of her amazing house. Anyway, she carried on chatting to us and then told us that Sergio (again no idea who he was) was carrying our bags upto our room and fixing the hot water.
We were shown by Sergio to our flat and i was so shocked, it is lovely, light, high ceilings and tv, kitchen, fridge (very important) oh, and we have a cleaner.
The only slight problem is the washing up as the sink in the kitchen is tincy tiny so we have been using the bath.The other day I started to load up the bath, and got in (obviously clothed-that would be rank otherwise) and switched the tap that turns shower to Bath, bath to shower, as to put it TO bath, turned on the water and basically had a shower in all my clothes. Katie came in laughing telling me "Sorry, I already had changed it earlier". Eventually, amongst laughing and slipping and trying to avoid too much spray, turned it off and started again.

We have been to all of three museums and for the time being that is definately sufficient.
On the day we went to the parks in Palermo, i decided to map read and took Katie and me on rather a long winded way home, being a further 6km detour, I dont think she was too impressed. We also passed tranny avenue. We went to rubbish Japonese gardens, Botanical which were pretty and free. Oh and rented bicycles from two hippie esque guys who needed ID, i think to sound more proffessional because it wouldnt have been a great loss to lose the two bikes, with no brakes, and dodgy wheels that werenīt quite aligned. Being a Sunday the park was quite busy, kids, families and tourists, (hate being in the last catorgory) and I felt without our breaks we were quite hazardous to the rest of the world. But those things arenīt really taken into account here, health and safety isnīt an issue, as many people into a truck as possible, oh and people donīt ever stay in lanes, the white road markings are just for decoration.

To sum up, Buenos Aires is one of my favourite cities so far, very busy and happening and lots of green trees, lots of shopping malls, and Zaras, eating out is very cheap. We have had 3 steaks, and 100 more to come. Our flat is lovely and we are very very lucky.
We left for Salta last Tuesday. The Journey was 20 hours long. They played two films, a space film, which was a documentary, and X Men, whatever they are. Looked like sci fi ish. Anyway stopped at a vile rest stop at 6am. Very dirty and shifty looking.
We stayed in Salta for two days, and stayed at a really cute old hotel, over looking the plaza.
We went up in these rather unsafe telecabins upto this mountain. San Bernardo, who if  I remember correctly, in Spain was that Saint (not so saint like behaviour) that was in all the paintings drinking a Virginīs milk from the breast. After that we walked back into town, and witnessed a mother letting her son piss in the street. oh we found a road 25th of may, the boy was not peeing in this road by the way. But it was just so open and so busy with people, mind you she looked rather rural.

Oh and a lot of travellers here. Some were in the park busking. One was a woollen beany hat, not sure why as it is boiling here. They thought they were really cool whipping out the bongos and the guitar. So embarrassing the other night, having a coffee and these 5 mexican looking guys, with those really mini guitar banjo type things, a peruvian rug or two, and those wind pipe intsruments. Well they were standing right behind me and near Katie, quite amusing at the time. The Cathedral here, that is painted pink and creme, looks like something from Disney land, and basically, has like an electric bell sound??! I thought it was an ice cream van or something going on in the park, but its the Cathedralīs bells. It sounds awful and not very Catholic at all.

So at 7am we get the bus to Mollinos, its very 1950īs so looks cute and a bit worse for wear. To be completely honest it was falling pieces inside and flies buzzing around. There were a lot of rural natives on the bus. Anyway, our journey commenced and we never went faster than about 40mph. As we started to climb the mountains i became a little dubious as the road wasnīt really a road, not tarmacked, dust and rubble and with the conditions of the bus I wasnīt feeling awfully safe, especially when we did a sharp turn that left the bus at a 30 degree angle to the cliff face. Well we survived. Apparently Marcus Ruede buses are also postal services. Various occasions the bus pooped the horn and stopped and out came someone from their house and was delivered a package. After 5 hours and only at Cachi, i was starting to get fed up and very hot and also very confused, i just didnīt understand why we kept stopping and letting people on and off. Literally all i could see were Cacti, mountains, rocks and mountains. The more we stopped at the most isolated places the more curious i became, eventually I saw a mud bricked house with a load of natives sitting outside. oh and also i decided to wear a partly backless top, which ended up causing my back to stick to the "leather" chairs. Oh we were going to Mollinos to stay at The Franscini Vineyard, Humano, a friend/business contact of a business contact of Maviga. Nestor Ramirez an old but active man greeted us and drove us to the vineyard. It took another hour to get there and I am worried I am boring people now so i will sum up quickly. Anyway, it was really beautiful and so silent it was loud. The journey to the vineyard Nestor (who has worked on the vineyard for ages and is so lovely and old and italian looking) pointed out a school and a church and a hospital. ????????? absolutely crazy that in the middle of absolutely nowhere, really on a dust track, there were such facilities. The vines were stunning and the tour of the vineyards and the barrells and Wine pressers and the thousands of bottle of wine, was all very intersting. We were also shown the private runway for the private plane which we couldnīt get a lift back to Salta on. We asked lots of questions and I now understand a bit more about the different types of grapes and wines.
There were LOADS of bugs and flies and insects and green things, like ugly ladybirds with black polka dots and i had one in my armpit at one stage. Mini hornets and they are just so dumb and fly into you and around you. What is the purpose of flies? anyone feel free to answer the question. Consequently I now have a constant twitch, presuming anything that touches me is a bug.
The dosy cook, a native, who barely opened her mouth or moved it when talking and sort of chucked the cutlery onto the table, (probably unsure of itīs use), she came in on Saturday with a pot, and mumbled something, and i got "...comida ....conejo". Luckily i remembered Conejo from reading Alice and wonderland in Spanish, and realised it was rabbit. Which made sense as i had seen skins hanging up in the garage. It turned out to be quite nice. ish.
That night we were having BbQ lamb, my worst meat. Was very worried, but turned out to be lamb ribs bbqued, so was actually okay. We had some lovely red wine (sound like such a parent) and nice conversation with Nestor. Dosy native prepared a "salad" which was hard boiled egg and potato. Was actually okay but the fact that she had prepared it put me off a tad. She also prepared our breakfast by "laying the table" and leaving a thermos flask out full of hot water expecting it to be boiling hot 14 hours later. she also left out crackers. ??? She had a few kids and men living with her, probably her cousins and brothers.
Anyway, we are now back in Salta, after having been to the winery in the middle of nowhere, they call it Mollinos. Tonight we are heading back to BA, which I am really looking forward to. Had an all round very good experience. Despite the complaining of the bus journeys they were actually quite fun and interesting.
Now off for a "liquado" aka smoothie and a little sun bathing before our 20 hour return journey. Oh and Julia also let us borrow two wheely suitcases so we havnet had to use the vulgar backpacks. Hence donīt shout traveller quite so much. Although the bum bag "fanny pack" kind gives it away a little. At least we donīt have a guitar or bongos on our backs.  
All my love
And i promise the next one wonīt be so long
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