|Posted by Leticia Hughes on March 11, 2010 at 2:21 PM|
Let me paint you a picture… after enduring 31 hours on buses over the last two days we have arrived in a small town called La Quiaca in the very north of Argentina, in fact you cannot get any further North as it borders Bolivia. When we hopped off our bus this afternoon, we were greeted with clay buildings with iron roofs held down by large bricks, dirt roads that turn into dust devils when the wind blows and locals who I think represent the real South America. The people of La Quiaca just appear so authentic with their herds of goats and llamas, dark aboriginal skin and their bright coloured scarves and traditional hats – a far cry from the Chile and Southern Argentina we have seen so far!!
Tonight we are staying at the Frontera Hotel and lets just say it is basic, not quite clean and we are hoping that bed bugs don’t ravage us during the night!! After our long journey to La Quiaca we decided to eat at our hotel rather than venturing into town (there are some areas that do not need exploration and photographing as one is more likely to just have their camera stolen than anything else). After perusing the typical Argentinean menu of meat, cheesy burgers, pasta, cheesy pizza and cheesy sandwiches, Marc and I both ordered pasta and chicken. Now given our locale, we probably should have gone vegetarian. Lets just hope the little chook we just ate was still running round this afternoon and was only put into a pot this evening. I guess we will find out in about 6 hours!!!
Right now there is the meanest thunder and lightening storm outside. The constant lightening and extremely loud thunder claps is certainly adding to the surreal ambience. Marc has just reached for his camera and I am picking he is going for the National Geographic winner. Given that the ceiling in our room looks more like paper mashe, lets hope it does not rain too much.
Since my last installment nearly three weeks ago we have been busy exploring Argentina. We have hiked, had some horrendously long bus rides, watched tango, eaten some seriously good steak, indulged in great wine, caught a ferry to Uruguay and generally had an absolute ball!!! The highlights for sure have been the Argentinean side of Patagonia El Chalten (we can thank the lovely Swiss couple we met Nick and Elvira for suggesting we could not miss El Chalten) and Iguazu Falls. The snow capped mountains, crystal clear lakes and the sheer enormity of Iguazu was just magic. We feel so privileged to have experienced these wonderful places.
Holy crap the storm outside is getting mean. I think I need to go get my camera – back soon!!
OK I am back and it is now morning. No surprises we lost power last night and since it is still dark outside despite being 7am I am going to finish this blog before brekkie. I am pleased to report my stomach is not exploding, bed bugs did not ravage my body and the ceiling did not collapse!!! We can however certainly feel the effects of been at 3500m altitude – serious bottom coughing, dry nose and panting after doing up your shoes are the usual symptoms. It will be good acclimatisation for Peru!!
Now it terms of the last few weeks, I would like to share three random observations as I think you may find them of interest, maybe even slightly amusing. After talking to fellow travelers and getting feedback from a wonderful friend about blog content, I have decided my blog from now on will be more about random (hopefully entertaining) travel observations rather than a blow by blow account of places we visit.
My first observation is that South American women are quite possibly some of the most beautiful women I have ever seen – especially when they are beside a pool wearing the smallest bikini possible. One cannot help but notice their olive skin, long hair, dark mysterious eyes, perfectly formed arse, tiny waist and perky boobs. Now while I am happy for Mazza to indulge in this eye candy, it is not fair because the men are without a doubt no where near as good looking. They are short (like the women) and are somewhat “sleezy”. So I would like to declare, the eye candy stakes are unequivocally bias towards the traveling mans pleasure. I am just don’t do Ricky Martin or Juilo Englais!!!
Now on a more serious note, I have unfortunately noticed that most, if not all Israeli travelers are quite possibly some of the rudest people I have ever encountered!! For example, during a long bus ride with very little air-conditioning, a young Israeli woman decided to take off her smelly shoes and rest her feet on the headrest of the person in front of her. I sat their gob smacked, as I could not believe she could be so inconsiderate. Another story is while in Bariloche we met four lovely American guys who were traveling around Argentina fly-fishing. These guys ate at a local restaurant owned by an Israeli and when they went to pay, the owner would not accept their “dirty money”. I was appalled to say the least. I am trying really hard not to be a bigot, but one cannot help develop an opinion when experiences are constantly negative. When in groups they are completely oblivious to other people and races. Lets just say I am hoping to have a positive experience with them soon.
Now on the lighter side, this one is for the girls… female maintenance as we all know is a must when one wants to sit beside the pool in bikini bottoms without spider legs hanging out all over the place. So while in Buenos Aires, I visited a beauty therapist for some maintenance (those who are not natural blondes will understand that shaving does not cut it). Now maintenance in overseas countries is always interesting and this time was certainly no different as explaining in my non-existent Spanish and sign language what I wanted done was without a doubt hilarious. Once we got it sorted, there were no holds barred with my therapist. Lets just say that the wax was applied and removed in three large strips rather than small patches. Ouch!! To make the whole experience even more interesting, there was a mirror at the end of the therapist bed. Hmmm a bird’s eye view is not what you need to see when getting maintenance!!!
Today all going to plan we walk across the border into Bolivia and catch an eight-hour train to Uyuni. Trains in these parts are notoriously late and somewhat dodgy - fingers crossed we get there in one piece!!
This part of our trip is certainly not for any princesses, it time to take a “harden up pill” and get on with it because the rewards at the end of the journey are so worth it. Bring it on!!!
So on that note, I will sign off. Thank you Argentina for a fabulous time – Bolivia awaits!!!!