The Barron North West
Trip Start Jan 24, 2011
38Trip End Ongoing
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We had a bit of scout around and managed to find a hostel/motel (considerably cheaper than the one we'd stayed in before) without too much trouble and before we knew it we were jumping out of our much awaited steaming hot shower to turn up the tv as we thought we'd both heard something along the lines of 'Bin Laden's Capture'!
As we sat on the bed, we watched and learnt of the news that everybody else in the world seemed to be aware of - Osama Bin Laden had been captured and killed 3 days previously. Whilst we were in the middle of the desert, none the wiser this huge world-event had occured. Really made us realise how isolated we were
The next morning we ended up on a little mini-bus, destination; The Bolivian/Argentinian ''border crossing''. Once we'd arrived we soon found that the bus had dropped us off in the right town but pretty far away from any crossing. We had to mission it with our heavy backpacks, whilst being hounded by bus company touts as they tried to sell us astronomically priced bus tickets to Salta (we later paid a third of the price by literally crossing the border by foot instead of on a Bolivian Bus) and market sellers, trying to flog anything from llama jumpers to cola, fried snacks, digital goods or big bags of coca leaves.
Border crossing's generally aren't our favourite pass time but this one was a bit ridiculous, we waited hours on end, uncovered from the blistering heat and being pushed in front off many times 'because they could'. Once we were on our way and out of the border town of La Quiaca we could breath - last leg as they say!
We really enjoyed the scenery of Northern Argentina, we had heard that the landscapes were quite different up here and the people were a lot more indigenous than we had previously encountered in BA and the South, but it was still surprising to journey through the vast, dry, valleys and see the Andes landscapes change before us with tiny little townships and settlements popping up here and there
Famous world-wide, the standstone rock of the North West was layered with different colours; red's, brown's, white's, pink's, formed itself in many different shapes and looked stunning in the evening sunshine. All around us was harsh and desert-like with red dust,dried out river bed's and plains of Cardon cactuses.
Our arrival in Salta late in the night was hetic, with no currency, a pee'd off taxi driver and an out of date map but we then had a good few days in actually-a-rather-tranquil city. The city felt considerably more colonial than BA and we enjoyed wondering round the Plaza, churches and markets, eating at the cafe's and just relaxing and taking in the vibe.
We met a few characters as always, most memorable, was one lady outside the laundry who kindly answered our direction query but then proceeded to talk to Oliver for all of half and hour, debating the ways of the world extensively despite the fact that her English was limited to about 4/5 words and his Spanish... well, there were a lot of 'Si, Si', 'No's' and 'No Comprender's'. I couldn't keep my face straight but that didn't matter, it certainly wasn't me she was interested in, I think in the end I pretended that we had to rush off and split the pair of them up. Comical for a while but you could tell he was drowning!