08.12.2012 - 09.12.2012 33 °C
Really fantastic staff here at La Posada de Don Simon. This one is another family-run jobbie, with a madre who speaks only English, but gestures enough for you to get the picture. And when in doubt, she’ll just give a shout and her son (who’s been travelling himself; probably a similar age to us) appears to translate, and to help you buy beer.
Woz and I tried on two occasions to purchase beer on our own in Salta. We weren’t sure what they said the first time, but we assumed we needed ID. We brought ID the second time, but were still denied. Apparently you’ve got to bring in an empty beer bottle, hand it do security that then provides you with a ticket that enables you to purchase another bottle from the store.
It would be really useful to speak Spanish (better than I do). I’d be interested to know why this is the way it is, but it seems no one can really explain in English.
Something else I don’t fully understand: the postal system.
I asked where the nearest post office was, but the hostel staff tried to explain that it was closed or it was shit or there was a strike. I don’t actually know what they tried explaining if I’m honest. The private OCA they sent us to was closed at any rate. We’ll look for another public correo argentina in Cordoba.
Today, the 8 December, we tried to buy bus tickets to Cordoba from a travel agent, but her internet/landline/mobile phone weren’t working. We thanked her for attempting each of the above methods, but ended up buying from bus terminal instead.
The lovely gentleman at the Veloz del Norte desk (bit of a Mr Bean character) very enthusiastically pointed the picture of the bus and repeated VELOZ DEL NORTE, VELOZ DEL NORTE! It was a bit like Pictionary, only he could only speak to us in Spanish. They must get tourists even thicker than us through here.
We walked past the teleferico here, but it was way more expensive than the one in Cochabamba. We took a photo, and carried on our way to see some statue out in the boondocks (felt like it, as I'm properly lazy).
We also visited the Artisan Market here in Salta, but the souvenirs are starting to all look the same. The same bracelets and earrings (and baby alpaca socks) are for sale here as they were in Peru and Bolivia. There’s a bit more silver around here, but that’s out of our price range really.
Afterwards, we bought some empanadas (similar to saltenas; a Cornish pasty sort of thing) from some old lady’s living room. Woz was totally taken with them, and talked about how tasty they were for the remainder of the afternoon.
We walked for an hour until we made it back to the hostel. We tried some Yerba mate that we had purchased from the supermarket. It’s a bit different to the coca mate in Peru and Bolivia. We both think it has a bit more flavour. This is a bonus, as it’s apparently illegal to bring coca mate into the USA, but not yerba mate.
We smoked and drank (like rockstars) before bed...
So despite Nan’s Living Room looking a popular establishment yesterday (and the food being hotter than the sun), we’ve both got the poops today. Gutted.
Both still keen to give these another go though as they tasted so good going down.
We decided to walk to the touristy area where there are many penas (a folky sort of musical show/dinner thing). We won’t be able to see one due to the bus tickets to Cordoba blowing our budget, but wanted to see the street anyway.
We found another craft market in the street (and cafe toilets timed exceedingly well). I bought some earrings and a metal wristband – hopefully to last longer (and smell better) than the other string/fabric type ones I’ve bought in the past. Woz is keen to buy something for the walls, but not having any luck with the tight ass budget he’s set.
For lunch, we made a second attempt at empanadas. This time we ordered four each of beef, chicken, and cheese from a restaurant. They didn’t taste as good as yesterday’s, but our tummies have been better. (Thanks, Immodium.)
Our bus to Cordoba left at about 8pm, so we once again had plenty of time to kill. We bought a couple yerba mate ‘gourds’ from the supermarket and paid a quarter of the price they were asking in the markets. They’re not as nice, but hopefully more practical.
We liked the family at the hostel so well, that we decided to give them our last gift of English tea and a postcard from Iowa. We were also sick of carrying the tea around, so this was a bonus for everyone. They seemed very grateful; I hope they like black tea.
We got to the terminal early (as usual), and to add to this, things are far more organised here than they were in Peru and Bolivia; it didn’t take long at all to get checked in.
The Veloz del Norte bus was a bit fumey but good. We had ace seats downstairs and were given blankets and pillows again for the first time in ages. They showed one of the newer Twilight films, but I couldn’t hear it for shit (and it was in English, darnit!). Afterwards, they put on Taken 2 which was so bloody loud I couldn’t sleep ‘til it was over.
I know. I'm impossible to please.