Dusty moutain pueblos

Trip Start Jan 10, 2006
Trip End Jun 16, 2006

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Sunday, April 23, 2006

oh my gosh. such magnicient beauty! tiny towns with dusty streets, at high altitudes, surrounded by the most colourful, most barren mountians. delicious.

i am starting to love the mountains more than the beach! i never thought i could love anything more than the beach...

purmamarca: tiny, dusty town consisting of 4x4 blocks of mud brick buidlings sans windows. the central plaza is lined with vendors selling traditional northern/bolivian clothing. hidden in the buildings are some really nice (and really cheap) eateries and tea houses. the mountains surrounding the town are nationally reknowned for their AMAZING colours. the famous camino del colorado takes you along rocky roads though cactus-strewn desert and past mountains painted in a rainbow of colours - green, yellow, white, pink, purple, red. it is the natural world in all it's extravagant beauty. i took some photos, but something's can really only be seen with the eyes. this is one of them. magical. dotted all around this place of beauty are little rock offerings to pachamama (the earth mother), i guess i am not the only one that was enchanted by this place.

nearby, via a one and a half hour drive winding through the mountains, to altitudes of over 4000m, is the salida grande a blindingly white salt flat encircled by the beautiful mountains. just half an hour playing here (in the desert heat and extreme altitude) knocked us for 6... on the drive back down we both struggled to keep our eyes open. altitude can be vicious!

tilcara: a much bigger town (8000 people!!) but with a chilled vibe. we wandered around the dusty back roads, cass practicing her photography, me soaking in the natural beauty.

we met 2 fellow travellers around the town - andrea from switzerland and lorenzo from italy - who we later discovered to be the only 2 other people staying at our hostel (a strange but pleasant coincidence in a town filled with hospedajes.

we ate well, both of us feeling the weight of our impending visit to bolivia, known to be a nightmare for vegetarians... and i thought argentina was bad!

on our second night there we went out to a restaurant and drank fantastic red wine while listening to local music. delightful. i stayed up all night "getting to know" lorenzo and i can tell you that with no sleep and a sick stomach from too much wine the prospect of our 7:45am bus was daunting.

i was sick. not good. our bus arrived, a run-down comun bus without a toilet (which is surprisingly rare in agentina). we headed off, the planned destination was iruya a supposedly gorgeous moutain-side town 3.5 hours away, which is reached by way of a spectacular bumpy and dangerous descent of hairpin turns. did i mention i was sick??

headphones in (loud), eyes closed, i tried to distance myself from my body. it wasn't working. :-( after 45 minutes we were approaching humahuaca the only stop on the way. i had a decision to make. i got off the bus. screw that, i knew that once we hit the windey road it could only end in tears. cass stayed on the bus. so i am here and she is there. it's cool. this place is lovely and big enough to mean i can catch up on emails and post some stuff home. plus, it's always nice to have some time to ourselves. my hostel is fantastic and about a 10 minute walk out of town in the country. lovely.

tomorrow cass will meet me back here and we will head to bolivia. i am excited, and a little nervous. it will be a new adventure. i have been in argentina so much longer than i ever expected, but i love it here SO MUCH. i can't explain why exactly, but i just feel right here. i will be back.

love you all! i might be away from internet for a wee while... but when i get back on i DO expect my inbox to be filled with messages from all you wonderful people!

much love!
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