Stopping by Wet Beaver Creek on my way to Hell.

Trip Start Oct 06, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Wednesday, July 13, 2005

So I finally got out of Mendoza and made it to Tucumán then. Although I am not exactly sure why I am here. Tucumán turns out to be another big city (population 470.000 or so), and I didn't really know it. Maybe I came here to break up the 18 hours bus trip between Mendoza and Salta (my next planned stop). Or was it because I met some people from Tucumán, who claimed it's a cool place. No, it must have been because I (maybe) will go and visit the Quilmes ruins and Quebrada de Cafayate (on the long detour road between Tucumán and Salta) on my way to Salta, but couldn't find any direct buses going there from Mendoza. I don't know to be honest, maybe I am just here because I liked the name of the city. Talking about cool place names, if there ever comes a time when I feel like I have seen all the major cities and sites around the world (impossible I know), then I think I'll dedicate a years trip or so to all the places out there with odd names. Then I'll write a book about it called, "Stopping by Wet Beaver Creek and Shag Island on my way to Hell". I am looking forward to the day I'll go to a travel agent to have them help me with the itinerary.

So what else is there to say about Tucumán? It seems pleasant and friendly enough, if not a tiny bit rundown. It's hot here, at least today. It's practically mid-winter, but I got my t-shirt and shorts back on for the first time in over three months. Plaza Independencia is a nice enough place to idle and do some people watching (if you are extremely lucky, they may even play "Take on Me" by A-HA at one of the plaza side cafes). It's also a city where I have to force my camera out of my daypack, as if it's trying to tell me "Esteve, there's nothing worth snapping around here". It's not an ugly city, but there's nothing extraordinary either. The people look friendly and a bit curious (there's not that many foreign tourists around). I notice that many women look at me, and two of the first I randomly walk past on the street, tells me "Que bonito ojos". Hmm, maybe I'll stay for a while... Well, to be honest, if you are a blue eyed Gringo travelling around Latin America, then you are very likely to have heard that phrase a few times from different women. It's still a very nice thing to hear though, and if you are lucky enough to have a few blonde locks left on your head, then your popularity will quadruple for sure (how would I know?). Imagine what it would have been like travelling around Latin America during your glory days (if I ever had such a thing ;-)

So I end up staying a few days in Tucumán. I am back in a dorm, for the first time in a long while, at the newly opened and extremely friendly OH! HOSTEL (highly recommended). There's mostly Argentine tourists staying here, as well as two Swedish guys (Tobias and Johan, that's as Swedish as it gets my friends, so I think I should have been able to guess their names in two or three tries). Talking about names, I have just learned from some of the girls working at the hostel, that the Spanish version of my name is Esteban and not Esteve. Anyway, we all have a few nice days together, mostly idling at the hostel or around the city, and I get to practice my Spanish a lot. I am making progress! In the end I decide I quite like Tucumán. In a way it feels quite energetic, and the nightlife seems pretty good as well (midweek). I could easily have stayed a few more days, but decide to continue towards Salta. Another city with a size, and a touristy one!
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