29 de Junio 2015
En Cali, Colombia con el flu 🙁
Goodbyes had been said, bags were packed, and we were once again on the road. We arrived at the shop that we’d purchased our cheaper tickets from and lined up with the rest of the group. Immediately we noticed we were the only gringos onboard. While waiting for the bus to arrive we met two local guys, one who spoke decent English and had recently been deported back to Argentina from Mexico. For years he traveled Europe and Latin America selling jewelry on the streets and he was visiting home for the first time in ten years. We downed some beers and he admitted to just taking a massive line of cocaine and he was clearly in his own crazy world. When boarding the bus, he invited us to come down and hang out by them. We said sure, but really just wanted to sip our bottle of red wine and pass out. An hour in he decided to find us and we eventually went down to chat. They were playing a live concert on their laptop while a baby continued crying a few rows ahead. Then he asked us if we wanted to party and proceeded to pour out lines. We awkwardly declined and quickly snuck back up to our seats. Only in South America….
Moving on, the twenty-four hour bus ride actually wasn’t too bad. We slept, read, and watched some Spanish films. By the next night we arrived at our first stop and I decided to hop off to find beers and water. No shops nearby had booze but I eventually found a restaurant and quickly made a purchase. Knowing I had taken too long I sprinted down the middle of the street and as I turned the corner I watched the brake lights turn off. I realized the bus was starting to pull away. I sprinted with all my might screaming and attempting to wave [I was carrying too large beers and a water] and made it to the window and they finally stopped. I hopped on all red-faced and out of breath. Woooo close one. Thankfully when Ryan felt the bus going he started yelling as well, but with his lack of spanish he just yelled “mi amiga mi amiga.” We laughed and cheers’d and were glad to only have a few hours left.
After 25 hours, we arrived in San Salvador de Jujuy. Most tourists head to Salta, a beautiful city to the south but our cheaper bus landed us here. We only planned to stay a night since we got in at 10pm, but after looking at the route north chose to skip Salta and hop around small cities north towards Bolivia; our next destination. In the morning we hopped on a bus for Tilcara, a small desert town with nearby hikes. During the day the sun cooked our pale skin, but as soon as the sun sunk behind the mountains the temperature dropped rapidly. From tanks and shorts to sweaters, scarves, and hats but the views made it all worthwhile. That first day we hiked to Garganta de Diablo [Devil’s throat] to visit a waterfall and take in the desert scenery.
Our quaint hostel had a simple terrace where we sipped red wine while reading, writing, and drawing [Ryan started his world mandala] watching the moon rise. Never in my travels have I watched a moon rise and it was quite spectacular. Thousands of stars glistening in the night sky while the moon slowly crept up from behind a mountain. I wish I had a proper camera to capture it.
[breakfast on the terrace]
[market with a view]
The next day we took off for the 7-colored mountain [Cerro de los 7 colores] in Purmamarca just a few towns over. We decided to take our chances at hitchhiking because why not?, we assumed we’d have a ride in seconds. Well after about a 5km walk and no sign of getting picked up, we chose to wait at the bus stop to escape the desert heat. Less than a dollar later we arrived in Purmamarca. Here is the famous 7-colored mountain, that is honestly seven layers of color. The colors have been formed by sea, lake, and river sediments that were deposited over 600 million years ago. We climbed to a viewpoint to check out the beautiful rock. The next hour we hiked around the town and layered rock before bussing back to Tilcara.
That night we counted what was left of our Argentina pesos and decided it was time to book it to Bolivia. Because Argentina’s economy is a mess, taking money out of an atm is a much lower rate than exchanging on the street. With $100 bill you can get 12.5 pesos to 1 dollar when exchanging in Buenos Aires. From an atm you get around 8-9 pesos to the dollar. Unfortunately we did not carry much in dollars [plus Ryan lost his when his bag was stolen], but thankfully an amazing money service called Azimo allows Europeans to send money to the website that sends it to a selected shop in Buenos Aires for you to pick up. With Azimo the rate is around 17 pesos to one pound, much better than the atm. Anyway we were out of pesos and refused to take out more cash so we booked our bus for the next morning said ciao Argentina and hola Bolivia!