Saturday, November 18, 2006

Salt In The City

Trad.While in Cafayate we attended a kind of school fete, on Tradition Day, to honor the birthday of gaucho, poet, journalist and freedom fighter Jose Hernandez. Being Argentina of course, it didn't start till 9, and was still going strong with the children dancing traditional dances and wearing traditional costume when we left at 12:30. Jujuy seemed to have delayed the celebrations for my arrival.

Al PucaraI am now in Tilcara, apparently the tourist capital of the north, no idea why, it just seems that there are more tourists than inhabitants, and not just backpackers, but Argentineans and bus loads of old (North) Americans too. It does have a hilltop ruins, Al Pucara, although they've been reconstructed, so they're not really ruins, though maybe that's why they're ruined, no, it's actually quite nice.

Tilcara and the surrounding villages are at 3000-4000m, and you can really tell, a walk up a small incline has you out of breath, and I tried running today, it was actually painful.

High JumpWe went up over 4000m to get to the salt planes today (Saline Grande), I wasn't sure whether to do it or not, it seemed a little expensive (20 pesos, woo, £3.45!) and I want to go to the Chilean/Bolivian planes anyway, which at a four day excursion must be a whole lot more impressive (I've seen pictures, it is). Anyway, I am really glad I did it, it was an incredible thing to see. I didn't have any sunglasses or suncream which was a mistake, luckily I don't think I've burned too badly and I borrowed the driver's sunglasses. I was expecting the photos to be disappointing but they actually came out quite well, they all look like something out of a music video, probably U2 :) I took so many that I think I'll upload them to my own webpage.

Admiring the Seven ColoursWe went to the salt planes from Purmamarca, whose claim to fame is the 7 coloured hills, although apparently there are 16 coloured hills a bit further north. Anyway, the 7 are impressive enough, no photoshopping needed here, just a polariser.

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