Click here for pictures from the Quebrada de Cafayate. Let me start off by saying that I´ve never really been to any real canyonlands. I´ve not been to the Grand Canyon, or Moab, Death Valley, etc. etc. So I have no way of knowing whether the magnificance that I experienced in the Quebrada de Cafayate is paralelled or not. However, you can rest assured that this humble narrator was duly impressed, and moved beyond words at several points of our canyon tour via bus with a coca-leaf loving local expert guide. Impressed to the point that I have even contemplated changing my plans for next year. Rather than spending 6 months in New Zealand, I strongly thought about instead returning to South America. For one, it would be much less expensive, not to mention there is no shortage of things to do, and would certainly be an enriching cultural experience. That being said, for now, I´ll stick with the plan. I have a (hopefully) long life ahead of me, and can certainly return another time. On with the tour.
I´m again facing that situation of just how in the hell do I put the canyon tour into words? You just can´t. Our guide was very accomodating, and took us off roading several times to point out spectacular formations not usually seen form the road, as well as letting us do extended hikes to explore on our own. This was most appreciated, as it gave me a chance to run up rocks, find private places to reflect on life, and just generally find a little solitude in a large, unforgiving world. I speak no lie when I say that I was nearly moved to tears at one point, high up on a hill, looking over an expansive valley of rocks, water, greenery as far as the eye could see, with no trace of civilization to be seen. Absolutely and completely breathtaking. This is where I really flashed back on my entire life to this point, gave thanks to all I have, and hoped that everyone else in the world can experience such a pure moment in their own lives. Wow, I guess I wrote out just what I thought at the time. I don´t mean to get all cerebral on everyone, but it was just that kind of day folks!
I think I´ll just cut this post short at this point. I´m getting overwhelmed just thinking about it all again. GO THERE. JUST DO IT. SIT ON THE ROCK, AND FEEL YOUR LIFE, don´t just live, but LIVE LIFE. Oh yeah, and all the rocks were pretty cool. Especially the bands of minerals like copper, silver, iron oxide, etc.
Oh right, I need to share one funny story. Remember the musician on the bus who got kicked out the day before? Well, we saw him again, in the canyon. At a place called the Ampiteatro, yeah an amphitheatre-like formation. He was selling flutes, and also put on a second show. On the bus he was horrible. His Changra (?) sounded great (guitar), but the pan flute he used with it was in the totally wrong key. It hurt the ears. Anyway, this day, he had it all sorted out, and actually played quite well. We all decided to tip him this time. We´d like to think that our tip supression from the day before smartened him up! Ha ha. Karma folks. You always need to balance things. He recognized me, and wouldn´t make eye contact with us. Very odd experience. Till next post…