Thursday, 6 September 2012

A mini milestone - North Argentina and Salta at last.

I have been in Salta a while now and the weather here has been great so have finally bust out the shorts and shared my pasty white legs with the locals after so long.   I actually arrived here on the 30th August after spending a night in Cachi, which is a small remote town a few hours from Salta.
Rush hour in Cachi
Looking back into Cachi on the way to Salta
A typical scene during the daily commute
The journey from Cachi to Salta is a good one involving a pass through the Parque Nacional Los Cardones which hits 3500m and then slowly winds down to Salta, which is much warmer and as it lies at 1200m. 

Real colours, no photoshop needed

Lunch at the top

Another twisty road

Yep, it is a rickity as it looks
As I was coming into Salta I saw a couple parked on the side of the road with an impressive looking KTM 990 with British number plates so I stopped to have a chat with them.  Mac and Helen are staying in a campsite in Salta and have been stuck here for 2 weeks while waiting for parts for Helens BMW.  Mac’s bike is actually 5 times the size of mine, it seriously is a work of art.  I won’t lie I have bike envy.   We arranged to meet later and I rode on in and checked into the 7 Duendes Hostel as recommended by my a mate who had stayed there.  Arriving in my room I saw there was another biker called Andy from Widnes, who also has a decent bike a Tenere 600.  He needs it, he is travelling for 3 years around the world.  He knew my mate Darren but strangely enough he also stayed at Victorias place in La Rioja, where I had stayed too.  The next day Andy and I rode to Calle Jujuy where all the bike shops are to buy some bike parts and met Fletch from the US in one of the shops.  He is also on a 3 year trip on a Kawasaki 650, and after talking he said he would move to our hostel, so in two days I’ve met four people all travelling the world on (real) bikes.  

A real bike the KTM990

Its not the size.....but Fletch's bike shows how ridiculously undersized my bike is!
With the weather being so great here pretty much every night Andy and I have arranged an Asado for the hostel.  The biggest one being last Saturday where we had the whole hostel involved.  In Argentina when buying, you have to allow for 500 grams of meat for each person so there was a massive amount of food and of course drink going on. 

After that we all went out to a club that was recommended to us, but looking around we noticed it was a gay pirate night so that was verging on surreal.  Some “pirates” were walking around trying to face paint everyone.  It got weirder, so when Andy and I were invited to go Salsa dancing with two seriously loaded 40+ year old women who (its fair to say) had had a certain amount of surgery we thought why not.  We ended up being driven to another club and the others from the hostel came in taxis.  Hahaha I was a terrible dancer and what made it worse was that the woman I danced with owned a dance studio and taught all kinds of dancing from salsa to pole hahaha.  I must have been her biggest challenge to date.

Talking about plastic surgery, it’s a completely different thing over here.  Its so accepted that as part of health insurance people are offered one free operation every 2 years.  Not that everyone is doing it, but it is quite common.  I have heard several stories such as how one Grandmother bought her 2 granddaughters boob jobs for their 21st birthdays, crazy stuff.  It definitely is part of life but it takes some getting used to. Anyway it was a funny random random night.  Funnier still seeing all the people from the hostel emerge from their rooms the next morning and sitting at the breakfast table with various coloured paints smeared across their faces.

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