Monthly archives: October 2006

23 posts

Mendoza on my Mind

For pictures from Mendoza, click here. Quick final post. I´ve got 20 minutes to wrap up this blog, pick up my laundry at the Bubbles Lavados up the street, and meet the group for supper, and a briefing on tomorrow´s activities. We arrived early in the morning to this beautiful city. Jody and I opted out of any city tours or any responsibilities. Instead, I got some laundry together, and explored the city on my own. Local busses, trolleys, and just plain locals in general. I´m really enjoying practicing communicating down here. I ended up getting a private tour of the city hall by a security guard, who took me to the roof of the building for some very impressive views and chit-chat, even though we were both out of our language comfort zones. It was quite cool. I then went to a very large park honoring San Martin, the man largely responsible for liberating Argentina. There is a mountain-top monument to this, the greatest of National heros. The location is known as Cerro Saint Gloria. It was a nice view, and nice moment. Then, local busses back here, and now I´m writing you. It was a bit funny, because a lot of the tour group opted to take a bus tour of the city, paying a bit of coin for it. My personal city tour, using local busses and my own two feet, was almost the same thing, but cost me 3.5 pesos, instead of 25+ pesos paid by the rest of the group. Of course, I didn’t go quite as far, but I still saw most of the main sights, and even crossed paths with them twice! Well, gotta go. Just realized it´s October 31st. Hope everyone´s having a spooky night, and I guess we´ll see you in less than a week now. Till then, enjoy the week!

Cuestra de Miranda and Talampaya

Click here for pictures from Chilecito, Cuestra de Miranda, and Talampaya.
To save you the trouble, I´ll just come out and admit to you that the National Park was a bit of a letdown. However, the journey to and from was worth the money, so it all evened out in the end. A small group of four of us decided to be brave and sign up for a mountain biking excursion in the National Park. The details were very sketchy from the get-go, so we really weren´t sure how much it would cost, how far it would be, or how long and hot it would be. As such, we bought tonnes of food and water just in case. Didn´t need it at all! More on that later. As far as the journey goes, we took Ruta 40, a section known as La Cuestra de Miranda. This is one of the most breath-taking rides in South America I think. Seems I say that a lot, doesn´t it? Well it was. I´m not making it up. I believe it has something like 800 turns, and winds its way quite a distance. I believe the park was something like 154km away, which was to take 2.5 hours. read on…

Climate and Geography Rolls By..

Click here for pictures from the road. I´ll close off my day of blogging by writing a little note about the trip from Cafayate to Tucuman, where is the place that I´m writing from right now. It´s a much bigger city (800,000), so less personal. We´re only here for one day, off tomorrow back into the Andes to a place called Chilecito. But for now, I´m an urban dweller once again. I was just in the middle of chatting with some locals about my trip so far. Argentinians are a great people it seems. Last night was a nice group meal at a local restaurant. More wine, more ice cream, more general group fun. The next morning, we were set to take public bus to this town. However, we convinced our guide to book a private bus to take us, giving us the chance to take the more scenic route, as well as to make a few extra stops on the way. One of those stops was to Quilmes, which are the biggest ruins in Argentina I think (and the best beer´s namesake). Sadly, after Peru last year, it´s hard to impress me with ruins. The guide on site was very good, and friendly, but the ruins are very far from their Incan counterparts in terms of scale and quality. Nonetheless, the stop was worth the $5 difference in price for the private bus. We also stopped in a couple small towns…

The Spirits moved me…

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.