Monday, 5 July 2010


Well, our 18 hour bus trip turned into 22 when the bus broke down (that always seems to happen on long journeys - i.e. India) and had to go to an impromptu service garage sometime in the middle of the night. Fortunately we didn't have to change buses or anything like that, just stayed in our comfy reclining seats and got a surprising amount of sleep overnight. Was also just as well our bus left Mendoza as the Argentina/Germany game kicked off, otherwise we probably would have been in a bar watching their humiliating 4-0 defeat...

No-one hassled us at the Salta bus station when we arrived, probably because it was Sunday morning, and after a bit of a walk we arrived at our hostel here. Owners can't seem to speak much English but are really friendly and helpful, plus there's a table tennis and foosball table, which also helps! They even had our room ready and let us have breakfast there even though we technically didn't check in till that afternoon.

After we got ourselves sorted a bit we wandered into town and got accosted by a few people offering tours around the area. We had originally planned to hire a car and drive around ourselves, but after it became quite apparent that hardly anyone speaks English around here, plus the fact we didn't really know where exactly to stop, we decided to pay the extra and do a four-day excursion. It's just the four of us and the guide though, so not as stuffed as a mini-van full or anything like that...

The 9th of July (9 de Julio) square was quite nice, and we took the Lonely Planet's advice to visit the child-mummy museum. Basically about 500 years ago some kids were fed some alcohol and left high in the mountains to die of cold/starvation etc as an offering to the gods... nice! We got to see one of the mummies of the children found in the mountains, they seem to change them day by day or week by week. What was probably most disturbing was a video interview with a modern-day local who said that they weren't human sacrifices or anything bad like that, she generally seemed to think it was quite acceptable...

We also did the obligatory gondola ride, unfortunately the city's quite flat with mostly low buildings so not much of a view from the top, but at least it was a bit cooler! When we got back down we bought our bus tickets towards Iguazu, actually we'll get off in a town called San Ignacio, which is famous for some Jesuit ruins (UNESCO site!). 

For dinner we went to a really nice local restaurant and had some traditional regional dishes, mostly empanadas and stews, mine was, as it said on the English translation of the menu 'veal guts', mmm... It was much like the tripe you get at yum cha, really. James had recovered enough from his Mendoza food poisoning to eat a pretty bland grilled chicken breast, while Bruce & Mark had some other stews (also quite nice). We might go back another night!

Anyway, tomorrow we're off to Cachi & Cafayate, will be back in Salta the following night, then after that another two day trip up north to the salt flats, Purmamarca, etc. Hope the weather stays nice so we can get some good photos!

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