The land before time
Trip Start Apr 17, 2006
44Trip End Jun 14, 2006
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Well, if I´d thought Encon was bad, the next town on my map, La Tranca, was worse. Wait for it - three houses. You think I´m exaggerating. It was three houses. Now, my map is on a scale of one in TWO MILLION. That´s not a very detailed map, for those of you unfamiliar with the concept of scale. It does the whole of Argentina, and Argentina´s a big country. Does anyone reading this agree with the map makers that a town consisting of THREE HOUSES - count them: one, two three - deserves inclusion on a map that covers HALF A CONTINENT? No, of course not. I asked the policeman at the provincial border post where the nearest shops were. "San Luis" he answered - the provincial capital, at least three days ride away. Oh dear.
So I was looking forward with cautious expectation to the Parque Nacional Sier- to the national park, not least because when the Park Ranger at that little reserve in the desert had been telling me about it, he kept mentioning maquinas, which literally means "machines" and is the word they use in these parts for computers
But who needs computers when you´ve got scenery like this? I mean, you can´t call this scenery - scenery is what you get on picture-postcards with lambs drinking from tranquil streams or stage backdrops at the school nativity play. No no, this was much, much bigger than that - this was dino scenery, positively Jurassic in its splendour. When walking around it felt like you were wearing 3D glasses - massive, red hills of rock enclosing a vast flat plain. I might even go so far as to say that it was worth nearly dying of thirst in the desert for.
Most useful Spanish word learnt: 'Maquina', computer and/or roadworks
Beard status: can it be? Can that be a fleck of ginger?