Back to the Future
Salta Travel Blog› entry 24 of 115 › view all entries
The change didn´t happen as soon as we crossed the border, but after shifting a mere 5 hours south in our (luxurious, air conditioned) Delorian bus I found that I had miraculously travelled forward in time 30 years to the year 2006. Salta is a thoroughly modern city and almost everything about it is of the 21st century - thank God. It even has toilet seats and paper that you don´t have to supply yourself. The only differences from home are that the technology is a bit out of date, everyone speaks Spanish, the steaks are the size of one of Mike Tyson´s biceps and the weather, icecream and girls are all equally gorgeous.
After three months of travel in the Andes, it feels genuinely great to be here - it´s just what I needed. In the last 5 days I´ve been to the cinema (Love in the Time of Cholera - not bad, in English with Subtitles for the locals), wondered around this strange place called a "shopping centre", and been clubbing (chatting up local girls in broken Spanish with bass heavy music blaring is tough). I even did a most civilised side trip, travelling with a European Union alliance of a Norweigan, a Dane, a Dutchie and a bloke from Burnley. We went wine tasting in the bodegas of Cafayate - very nice; I still have two bottles of a mellow red to take on the bus with me.
Sometimes it´s the simple things that give the most pleasure, and it has been nice just to wonder around Salta, eat, drink and relax in streets that don´t smell like the corpses of hundreds of tramps have been rotting in them for weeks (sorry again Bolivians). No, as I meandered through the leafy thoroughfares of the city, instead of dead tramp I could smell the Sycamore trees that line the way. It reminded me of Sheffield in Autumn, my favourite time of year, and I got a bit homesick for about 10 seconds.
Then I remembered that, in the next week, I was lining up to see the mightiest waterfalls in America and the Argentinan capital Buenos Aires and, funnily enough, the homesickness evaporated just like that. I just wish the bad stomach I carried across the border like a rotten souvenir could have disappeared just as easily. Sadly not - although I´m pretty much recovered now.
So today I´m off to Puerto Iguazu, the Argentian side of the Iguazu falls. It´s a mere 23 hours on the bus, my longest journey to date, but I´m sure the falls will be worth the trip. I have my CDs and a new book to entertain me (just finished the brilliant Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe - if you get a chance, definitely give it a go - it´s merciless satire and bloody brilliant) and if I get too bored I suppose I can just open my wine and get sloshed. Chin Chin folks!