The Bolivia of Argentina

Trip Start Jul 14, 2010
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Trip End May 18, 2011


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Where I stayed
El Cardòn Hostal

Flag of Argentina  , Jujuy,
Monday, February 28, 2011

     In many ways, Tilcara was very similar to Southern Bolivia.  Some examples:  there was plenty of fried, delicious, food in the market;  the surroundings looked a heck of a lot like Arizona; and on the bus ride from the border there were two crazy kids who were play fighting, kicking the backs of our seats, and running down the aisle of the bus, all without their parents doing anything.  On the plus side, there was toilet paper in the bathrooms and we could drink the tap water.  That´s pretty good.  Tilcara looked like a dirtier cutesy Arizona town, but one where the spanish-speaking populace weren´t being asked for proof of citizenship.  It had the cute adobe buildings, the dry, red mountain landscape, the cafès and tourist shops, and was generally very nice.  The best part, however, were the guys that were staying in our hostal.
     There was a group of 6 guys from Rosario who were all young and full of energy.  They were obsessed (as we´ve come to learn about many Argentinians) with their fùtbol club (Rosario Central) and even told us that the two phrases we need to learn in Argentinian spanish are, ¨deuna (maybe, ¨de una¨?)¨ which means, ¨cool,¨ and ¨Rosario Central.¨ Anyways, they were a crazy bunch and we had a lot of fun learning about yerba mate culture, barbeque, how Ernesto ¨Che¨ Gueverra was Argentinian, and Fernet (an Argentinian alcohol).  
      On the flip side, the worst thing that happened was us showing up 2 hours late to a bus that we had tickets for because we confused our military times (this is universally known as, ¨pulling a Zach,¨ after all the times my friend has bought tickets for the wrong dates).  The bus left at 8:45, but somewhere we got the idea that it was leaving at 10:45, and so we immediately lost out on $60.  I forgot to say, bus travel here, while still cheaper and more comfortable than the states, is incredibly expensive compared to everywhere else we have been.  Luckily enough there was another bus that evening that we could buy tickets for, and although we tried to beg and bargain for a discount, we had no such luck. 
      One of the more interesting things about Argentina is the abundance of bidets.  They´re in every private bathroom, and I have no idea how to use them, not that it is necessary to use them.  But, seriously, they should come with directions.  Do you still use toilet paper?  If so, do you do so after you use the bidet or before? Is it common decency to run the bidet for a few seconds after you are done using it?  We even talked to a French woman who said that they aren´t even used anymore in France and that she had no idea how to use it.    I guess the European roots of Argentina, seen in the people, the food, and the architecture, is perhaps best seen in the bathroom.  Who knew?
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