Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Sunday, November 19, 2006

Part I - Dulce De Leche

In the gorgeous breeze of the late Salta morning, the giant palms sway gently above Plaza 9 de Julio. They resemble Argentinean women, slender and elegant at times, but an eating disorder always a possibility. They look down longingly, jealously, at the couples leisurely strolling past the statue of San Martin, the excitable spring sun - thinking itself a couple of months older - slowly melting their dulce de leche icecreams. The deep green benches are filled with school kids ignoring their 11 am English class in favour of public displays of affection. Countless umbrellas stand tall, fanning out, protecting the cafe espressos and the lonely planets lying beneath. Under one such umbrella sits a handsome Chinese-Indonesian-Australian, headphones extending from his bag, listening to 'pissing in the wind'. He looks lazy - perhaps hungover - his hair as if he just woke. He sits and contemplates the days ahead...

Part II - Long weekend afternoons

Thwarted again. It's a feeling I've become used to in the last few days - being thwarted. Thwarted on several occasions; thwarted in so many ways; thwarted by so many different things. But central to all of this thwarting has been one single factor - me. Me and laziness. So, one afternoon, in the muggy, stifling Salta air, I began towards the Artesanal mercardo, famed for handicrafts and arts of all varieties. But I never got there. You see - I was thwarted. Thwarted - intercepted if you will - by the lure of a strong espresso coffee in the plaza and the lure of watching the people pass. From atop San Bernardo hill, the convent of San Bernardo peers over the city, offering sweeping views of the surrounding valley. One morning, I almost got there, but was, again, thwarted - ambushed if you will. The enticing waft of freshly baked empanadas can do that to anyone. San Bernardo - off the agenda, replaced by empanadas carne. Thwarted. The town of San Lorenzo lies about half an hour from Salta - a peaceful settlement with equally peaceful and beautiful walks - apparently. A visit was intended. A visit, however, was thwarted. Thwarted - some would say sabotaged - by a hangover of the devil. I should have seen it coming. What's better than a day trip with a hangover? Wathcing 4 games of football in a row. Thwarted by Chelsea v West Ham. Thwarted...

Part III - Pulse of Justice

In Plaza 9 de Julio, a flock of pigeons sprout like a fountain as a toddler stumbles menacingly towards them, an evil glint in his eye. Well dressed locals and SLR armed tourists cascade out of the Cathedral, accosted desperately by the less fortunate - 'Signor, Signora' - the occasional peso rattles into a tin. In the distance, the sound of drums grows louder - a street carnival?, a latin American band? No. It's another rally for a political party for the upcoming elections = the liberating beat of democracy. Against the dull, ever-threatening sky, the magnificent facade of San Francisco church glows, its colours a constant testament to the Glory of God. Beneath a bright orange umbrella, a young family shares a bottle of coke - 1 litre, returnable glass bottle - whilst the youngest plots against a speckled pigeon. And nearby, a chinese-indonesian-australian sits, studying an empanada and reflects on the days previous. One word comes to his mind - thwarted...

Part IV - Thervetha

So, to the Top 5. Spanish update = me? Average. Sure, my Spanish is getting better. I can almost get by. Despite the fact that I can't really communicate, I am enjoying being in a Spanish speaking country. Why? Because Spanish words are fun to say. Brilliant. Much more fun than their English counterparts anyway. At least of the words I've come across, especially if you do them with a silly, over-enthusiastic Spanish accent, here are the Top 5 words that are most fun to say:

5. Arriba
4. Chicito
3. íHola!
2. Empanada
1. Gazpacho

Argentina is far too expensive for my liking. Bolivia it up...
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