Argentina...wow...nuff said.

Trip Start Aug 23, 2006
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Trip End Dec 23, 2006


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Where I stayed
Terra Oculta hostel

Flag of Argentina  ,
Saturday, November 25, 2006

Up early on the 12st for our final day in Tupiza and my final day in Bolivia. Caught our bus around 2PM for the roughest 3 hours I have every had to face. The road all the way from Tupiza to the border is unpaved, rocky and narrow. Our bus (as is typical with most South American chicken buses) would stop and let people on or off wherever. And when the seats were full...standing was allowed...which means if you had an aisle seat, you usually had someones ass in your face. Arrived into the border town of Villazon and proceeded to walk the reamining 2K to the border. Exiting out of Bolivia was a snap...and entry into Argentina was no problem (I am glad I dumped my cocoa leaves out...no need to spend my first few nights in a Argentine jail). The Argentine government had a pretty funny sign up right on the border which I will try to post a picture of. Caught a taxi for the remaining 5K to the bus station. It is here that our little group split up. Mike, Andrew and Lara all had a bit more time than I had and wanted to spend to a day or two in a city between the border and Salta. I however wanted to get to Salta quickly as I intend to see more of the country than they are in a shorter amount of time. We said our goodbyes and as I type this, I have already seen them again in Salta. I am sure I will see Lara in Buenos Aires as well. Their bus was leaving immediately...mine was a 7 hour overnighter to Salta leaving at midnight, so I spent some time walking around La Quiaca, getting some pesos, having my first beer and checking the internet. At 9 I got a little hungry and had my first Argentine steak and wine. For less than $4USD, I had a huge steak and two huge (pint size) glasses of a very drinkable red wine...I am going to like this country. Got on my bus which was barely semi-cama (which means the seat goes back about 110 degrees and is fairly narrow. Full-cama is almost flat and much bigger. 8 hours later, I am in Salta and have only one place on my list of places to check out...Terra Oculta hostel...my first dorm hostel. Took a short taxi ride there, checked in (thank god there were beds available), got an upper bunk in a 4 bed room and got cleaned up. There is a great dog that lives in the hostel and we had no idea what his name was so we all called him Chico (Boy). Spent most of the day just walking around the town, enjoyng the Argentine pace of life, having a couple cold beers and doing nothing but people watching. Visited a church or two, saw a couple old buildings...but the highlite was people watching (Argentina gives Latvia some competion in the gorgeous woment department). Back at the hostel I placed some ping pong with a dude named Mayaan from Israel....who had the nastiest looking dreadlocks you have ever seen...the rest of the hostel eventually talked him into getting a haircut. A girl from Amsterdamn (Inge) and I went out and had some decent Italian grub before the group met back at our hostel bar for drinks and then off to bed. The next day, Inge and I rode up the sky tram to a mountain overlooking the city...then hiked down in the hottest part of the day. Saw a bit more of the city, enjoyed a nice summer shower and had another good beer while watching the people walk by. Saw one of the girls from my Salar de Uyuni tour (Kat) and we chatted for a bit. That night the Israeli guys in the hostel wanted us to come with them to their favorite steak house...Jack. For $9USD, I had one of the biggest and most juicy steaks I have every had...and that price includes splitting two bottles of wine between 5 people. I love this country!!! Important point...the restaraunt is about 1.5 K from our hostel...and guess who showed up as we were finishing our meal...Chico the dog! Seems he has the run of town because he also follwed us to another restaraunt the following night. The next morning, Inge, Mayaan and I booked an all day tour of the Trein de Nubes...of Train of the Clouds. Unfortunately the train hasn't worked for over a year...so we squeezed into a car with one more American girl from a different hotel (Cecile) and our tour guide and off we went. Saw some spectuacular scenery, had a decent lunch in a mining town, climbed to the top of the highest bridge and took many phtotos. We all enjoyed giving Cecile a bad time for staying in an $80USD/night bed and breakfast while we stayed in a a 20 peso dorm (about $6USD/night). We eventually talked her into leaving her comfy bed and private room to joing us at the hostel at 9 for dinner and drinks. Went to a new restaraunt that a Swiss guy (Thomas) heard was good and along with Chico the dog, had a great meal. Back at the hostel around midnight, I talked a couple others including a very cute British girl to hitting the bar street as it was my last night in town. The four of us had a great night including some interesting folk dancing, followed by a traditionl hip hop club. Back home around 4AM to sleep late into the day. Checked out of Terra Oculta even though I really didn't want to and bordered my 3PM bus ride to Mendoza. It is a 20 hour bus ride...but this time I had full cama which is like flying business class...it was great. Meals, wine, English movies (Wedding Crashers), comfy bed and blanket...and next thing you know we are in Mendoza. I promise to upload photos soon!!!!
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