Friday, January 18, 2008

Salta - Day Tripping

Before we arrived in Salta, we we told one of the main attractions was to take the "Tren A Las Nubes" - Train to the Clouds. As the name suggests, this is one of the highest railways services in the world and yes, it is capable of transporting people directly to the clouds. So when we booked the tour we were somewhat disappointed to find out that the train was not in service. We were however able to hire a guide for the day who would drive us to the clouds and beyond as well as show us the original Tren a Las Nubes.

Salta has many more hidden gems including an impressive collection of cacti. There are about a thousand different types of cacti worldwide and although we haven't seen all of them, I think we agreed that these were the most photogenic. We never tired of the old ´group hug´ photo.

At one point we stopped in the middle of nowhere for a bite to eat. We could only see a handful of houses and the one we stopped in front of was actually a restaurant. In it, there was a variety of items made from cacti wood including this bicycle. We learnt that this particular type of cactus grows about 1cm a year making cactus wood pretty valuable and rendering this bicycle an antique.

In the following weeks we would see more llamas than you could wrestle to ground. However, on our first encounter we were a little unlucky. As we got out of the car to take photos, the sneaky buggers disappeared. Our less than adequate camera lens was unable to zoom in on them now far off in the distance. Afraid we would not have any evidence of having seen them, we did the next best thing. We improvised with a fake llama...

Where did we get a fake llama from you may wonder? This little old lady on your left sold it to us. She may look frail but don´t let her appearance fool you. When we stopped for lunch, she pounced on us like a vicious used-cars salesman. Strangely, when we got the bill for our lunch, the waiter came over and announced the bill. He said each one of us owed ARG$25 (about AUS$10). An argument ensued over the fact that we had all ordered different things which would surely have different prices. Somehow in the end he won and just made up some prices which equalled his original total. As it so happens this would not be the last time bills would be announced or made up.

We drove on up into the mountains to a place called Tastil to see the ancient dwelling remains of a pre-Incan villiage. Unfortunately we cannot actually tell you anything about it because our lazy-arse guide chose to have a nap in the car and not actually use his English skills (which we had paid a premium for) to explain to us what we were seeing. In fact, we were lucky to even have a photo here as some German tourist refused to move for us to take pictures. He was visibly upset that we did not want him in our photos. "But I like to have you in my photos," he exclaimed. And he did. Creepy...

All day we had been winding up and around Salta´s stunning surrounding mountains never tiring of the views. So it was quite a shock when all of a sudden a sea of white land appeared before us: Jujuy´s salt flats. Jujuy is not far from Salta but it´s not much to see as far as towns go. Its salt flats though are impressive enough to visit on a day trip. Having never set foot on such a strange terrain before, we didn't know that this moonscape would turn us into complete lunatics.

alt=Mind you, initially I didn´t feel its effect and looked on curiously as Jez´s behaviour grew more and more bizarre. Yes, of course that includes stripping down to nothing but his shoes and hat to salute the salt gods but I cannot in good conscience condone that picture being published in our blog...Instead, click on this picture to see a video of us regressing back to our childhoods when singing nursery rhymes and skipping off into the sunset was socially acceptable.


Rachael said...

You're a pair o nutters!

We like that.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

wou this is beatiful, I like see the experiences of the crazy people how you, thanks for shar your photos, and... very funny the photo of your ass, jajaj
the next year I go to Salta.

Jonathan, From Arg.