Argentina was a wonderful country to visit and explore, but as I could now smell the border and new adventures of Bolivia, I felt it was the right time to move on. One more bus to the hole of a border town of La Quiaca and I was almost there. After sleeping on the floor of the bus station until sunrise I decided to say thanks to Evo Morales and the new visa reciprocation law as I now needed to fork over 100 us and jump through hoops of red tape to get into Bolivia. I thought I was all set until I discovered there were no casa de cambios in the whole town. After Looking for hors and refusing to take the bus all the way back to Jujuy (8 hours) I found a black market dealer who had exactly 100 US in an alley. Got a bit ripped on the exchange but at least I was on my way.
As I departed Salta I made my way northwards through a series of Pueblitas and more deep canyons on my way towards Humauaca. More of the amazing scenery I had witnessed on my way down towards Cafayette was the order of the day and the atmosphere and people themselves became much less European and more Andean in scope as I continued to rise in elevation and proximity to the Bolivian border. The seven colored hill of Pumachara, fields of Cacti as far as the eye could see and ancient ruins of pre Inca civilizations at Hillcara led me to Humauaca. Humauaca is a nice enough small town that was really starting to generate a buzz with the onset of Carnaval just a few days away. Little kids armed with water balloons but not yet ready to throw, men dressed as devils dancing and covered in mirrors and the locals describing the dance and alcohol infused mayhem that was to come. One anecdote that struck me as quite amusing is that the men cannot refuse a dance with a senorita if asked. Well they can but all the women carry big sticks covered in spikes and beat the shins if rejected by any would be suitor