Juyjuy, locked in Parliament house with a rally..

Trip Start Jan 12, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Thursday, June 1, 2006

So..... i decide to visit Government House to see the original flag given to Juyjuy by the main Independence man General Belgrano in 1802. I have a personal guide meet meet and tell me all about the history of the town and the flag (see the photos for the scoop). Mid way through her tour we hear drums starting to pound outside and there is a little pandamonium going on with windows and shutters been closed but the guide continues. Within seconds there are people outside chanting, but the guide continues despite being advised by someone that she should perhaps not continue, she calmly gives them a wave as if to say `i will finish my duty´. The guide finishes her tour, i thank her and make my way to the front door i came in through. There was no way i was going out the same door as banners, drummers and about 400 people chanting were blocking the exit. Of course between them were metal doors and a line of security guards. A guard advises me that i cannot exit.... no shit sherlock..... and i am escorted out a small back door where another 20 police are proctecting the doorway.... classic!!! I head round the front to find the crowd (mostly young, which suprised me) chanting in the name of socialism. me and my perfect timing........ was a bit of a buzz to be honest!!! Wasn´t something that looked like it was going to get out of control, but you know it only takes a spark....

Juyjuy is a dirty city, not built for tourism (which i like). Pick up a map (see below) and walk around town taking in the culture and seeing some of the cities highlights like Cajje Dorrego where the street is lined with markets and stalls, Parque San Martin, the Tatro Mitre, the Cathedral and Iglesia San Franciso which hold the cities prized attraction, their pulpits which are very detailed and ornate. Of course drop into the Casa Gobierno, but try to find out if there is a rally on that day!! ;)
Some history of the flag and the city.
Juyjuy was instrumental in the Independance of Argentina. Juyjus was to be the first city the Royalists (Spanish) were to find after crossing the deserts of Pluma to the east of Argentina. Here they were to take the city, rest and refuel before carrying on to take the rest of the country. However, General Belgrano had other ideas....
Belgrano asked the people of the city of they wanted to see their city in he hands of the Royalists to which they replied they "would rather die". So belgrano advised them to destry their own city so the Royalists had nowhere to refuel their bodies. The city agreed and people tore it down, burnt it and polluted the rivers with carcases of ´sacrificed` animals so the Royaslist couldn´t even drink fresh water. This is known as the Juyjuy exodus. In later battles Begrano defeated the Royalists defending the country and finally claiming its independance in 1816.
The flag in the Casa Gobierno is a memory of that time. See my pictures for the flag and a description of its meaning.

HOT TIPS for travellers:
1) Accomodation is not very good here and the ones that are are expensive. I did go to a lonely planet recommendation called Residencial Los Andes and got a private room with private bath and cable T.V for 25 pesos. Was being painted but worth the recommendation when the paint dries! Can be a littel noisy. Worth a look is San Carlos accross the road too, they had share bats at 18 pesos.
2) You MUST eat at Parrillade Juan! Your food is served on a hotplate with coals and they are very generous with their servings. Chicken breast and wing with boiled potatoes and a huge mixed salad and 2 glasses of wine for 15 pesos (USD$5 for the non travellers reading this far... including tip!! Wicked.
3)When you get off the bus drop into the tourist office (at the terminal) and pick up a map that includes a recommended tourist walk around town. i walked it all (about 4klm) and got to see the whole city.
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