Autumn’s Adventures

Bed and Breakfast my ass!
March 25, 2009, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Argentina, Travel | Tags: , , , , ,

When Alex and I arrived to Buenos Aires we checked into our “Bed & Breakfast”.  Alex had warned me that this B&B looked like someone’s apartment but I didn’t believe him because the website had such convincing photos that I thought we were staying in a nice place. I was wrong and was really pissed at the false marketing on the website.  This B&B looked more like some dude’s apartment, or some sort of hostel.  It was on the 3rd floor of an apartment building so we had to climb 3 flights of stairs to get up to it.  I was not happy.  The only thing that was true from the website was that the guy that ran the B&B was pretty hot.

Tucuman & Rosario
March 22, 2009, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Argentina, Travel | Tags: , , , ,

On the road again — Alex and I make a master plan to pass through Tucuman on our way to Rosario where we would take the train to Buenos Aires.  The bus from Jujuy to Tucuman was about 5-6 hours.  When we arrived in Tucuman I tried to make plans to meet up with my faux baby sis, Emi and my friend Eze for a quick hello but we only had enough to do a quick walk around the main plaza and grab a bite to eat.  Tucuman is where I learned the word for eggplant which is berenjena and i fell in love with eggplant.

From Tucuman we caught an overnight bus to Rosario.  We rented a room in this hotel that was pretty old.  I didn’t much dig it so we only stayed there for one night and then moved on to a better hotel down the street.

Our time in Rosario was quite nice.  We spent the first day walking around the city exploring and we spent the second day by renting bikes and biking along the river.  Rosario is a really nice city and I would definitely visit it again, but only for a long weekend.  I would recommend going to a all-you-can-eat buffet here as they have asado and basically anything you can think of.  It was delicious and like $10 dollars per person.

In the wee hours of the morning, approximately 4am, we woke up to catch a train from Rosario to Buenos Aires.  I didn’t think there was a train system in Argentina so I was surprised and excited to find out that there was one.  The train was something straight out of the 70’s.  Although it was a bumpy ride and it was cold as balls for most of the trip, I did enjoy it a great deal.

Walking with the Llamas
March 21, 2009, 8:13 pm
Filed under: Argentina, Travel | Tags: , , , , ,

As a good host should, I brought Alex up to the north and we spent a night in Tilcara.  We rented a really nice room and had a nice dinner that included a live folklore show.  We drank 2.5 bottles of wine and I was d-r-u-n-k.  We left the dinner place and stumbled into another restuarant with live music.  There we ran into some chicks from the hostel that we stayed in when we were in Salta.  They were probably not as drunk as we were but you can never tell when you are already super drunk how drunk others are.  Alex ordered a beer and I drank some but wished I hadn’t.  I guess I was in the habit of drinking so I didn’t see the stop sign my stomach had so boldly put in front of my fuzz-drunk face.  Let’s just say I spent a good part of that night hovered over the toilet, stomach teasing me but never actually puking.

Somehow, Alex convinced me that going Llama trekking at 10am the next day would be a good idea.  My hungover mind and body did not wholly agree but as a good host I put on my “good sport” attitude and signed up for the trek.  Seeing Alex’s broken little spirit was something I could not bear.  After all, he’s such a good travel buddy that I figured just being around him would make it fun.

This trek was going to be 5 hours of walking with/leading llamas up a mountain in the middle of the day in blazing sun.  I prepared myself with sunblock and brought it with me for re-application.  I didn’t have a hat so I prayed that my head would not burn.

The trek started out pretty easy.  Llamas walk pretty slow so it was a nice stroll until we reached the bottom of the mountain.  Our guide, Santos, had a bag of coca leaves that he had us throw into a hole at the bottom of the mountain wishing for a good day ahead.  He then told us to chew on coca so we wouldn’t get altitude sickness.  I’ve had coca leaves before and the taste is gross but I did it anyway.  Going up the mountain was pretty intense because it was a steep incline.  I couldn’t believe how agile the llamas were and how swiftly they climbed the mountain.

When we reached the top of the mountain we found a nice spot and set up a picnic there.  The guide had prepared a pretty awesome picnic for us, complete with wine, fresh fruit and goat cheese.  I was impressed.  We chilled there for a while and Alex realized that he was severely burned on his left arm. He was as red as a tomato.  I gave him some more sunblock but by this point the damage was done.

The trek down the mountain was the scariest part as he had us going down some pretty steep cliffs, still leading our llamas.  I let my llama go at one point and told him to find his own way down while i slowly baby-stepped my way down the slippery slope.

Overall I had a good time but I can’t say that I would do it again.  It was cool but I don’t dig climbing mountains, especially guiding a stubborn llama behind me.

Yok Wahi Asado
March 20, 2009, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Argentina, Travel | Tags: , , , , ,

For my travels with Bobby, I decided to rough it with a ruck sac.  I have only used them once before when I went hiking and camping in the Shenandoah with my good friends.  I didn’t so much enjoy the pack back then but it’s necessary when hiking.  Pulling a wheeled suitcase up a mountain doesn’t seem too practical.

I don’t have a ruck sac so I rummaged through my landlady’s backpacks to see what she had.  2 of the 3 had holes in them or were generally of bad quality so I went with the 3rd choice.

It worked out quite well for about 30 minutes but when I arrived at the bus station with Bobby on my way to Salta, one of my straps broke off.  We ended up tying it to another part of the bag so it was fixed for a hot second but midway through my Salta trip it ripped off again.  Let’s just say carrying a 1980’s ruck sac with one strap is not the most comfortable thing in the world.

When I got back to Jujuy with Alex I was so ready to ditch that stupid backpack. I didn’t care if it made me more authentic to graze the country like a true mochilera.  As I’ve said before, I’m a sucker for comfort and there is a reason they made suitcases with wheels.

It was still siesta time in Jujuy so no one was out and about when I walked him around the city to show him my stomping grounds.  We ended up running into a guy I had met at this hostel I recommend in Yok Wahi.  I hadn’t been there in about 3 or 4 months so he invited us over there for dinner.  We agreed and headed over there around 10pm for the asado they were preparing.

I had a really good time catching up with them and getting to know them better.  About 90% of our conversation was in castellano so that was cool.  Alex was a talk-a-holic in spanish so I got used to talking a lot in Spanish with him and whoever we came across.  We drank boxed red wine with tonic water because that was what some of the guys were drinking.  It was ok but I much prefer beer over boxed wine diluted by fizzy water.  The asado was delicious and the cozy hostel and great company made the night one to remember.

March 19, 2009, 7:37 pm
Filed under: Argentina, Travel | Tags: , , , ,

Somehow in one day Alex and I had managed to spend all of our cash.  On what? Who knows, probably booze.  When we arrived to the bus terminal that was taking us to Cafayate we literally only had enough for the cab and a little bit more for another cab ride.  The one bank ATM in the terminal didn’t accept foreign bank cards so Alex took the last of our cash and headed back into city center to take out money for the both of us.

I thought the trip to Cafayate was a short, 1 hour bus ride.  Where I got that number from I have no idea because the bus ride was actually 3.5 hours…whoops.  It wasn’t a boring ride as we were both surprised to find out that there was a beautiful quebrada view for 2/3 of the ride.  The mountains were gigantic and almost as brightly colored as those I could find in the north.  I felt so tiny in that bus against these mountains.

When we arrived to Cafayate we were bombarded by people trying to get us to stay in their hostel.  We went with the first one because it seemed legit.  The lady was nice and talked us all the way to her “super close” hostel that was probably about 7-10 blocks from town center.  The outside of the hostel looked legit and it was only 26 pesos per night.  When we got to the dorms we were staying in a giant room with 10 bunk beds.  I felt like I was back in camp.

We left the hostel and immediately went to the wine bodegas.  Cafayate is known for it’s wineries so we were set on getting good and toasted on some wine.  The first one we tried looked like a cool winery but the wine wasn’t very good.  The second place we went to was brand new and I discovered that a good wine that I tried in Salta was made in this winery.  We bought a bottle and drank it there and had a jolly good time getting semi-drunk at 5pm. (Ok in all honesty I got pretty drunk off of that one bottle).

We walked around city center until we settled on a place to eat.  When we arrived it was 8:30pm and the kitchen wasn’t all the way open yet.  We could only order a few things on the menu.  I am used to the custom of eating late here but I can’t say that I like it.  One thing that I miss about the States is the ability to get a decent meal pretty much anytime throughout the day and night.  In Argentina, it is sometimes impossible to find a place to eat after 3pm until 8pm and you are stuck eating bar food.  Most places, including bars, limit their menu in this time period so most of them only have 1-2 options, sometimes just 1.

When dinner was over we headed back to our hostel.  The sleeping experience for us was less than enjoyable as the mosquitos attacked us, the fan was too loud to keep on in the thick night’s heat and the pillow should more appropriately be called a thin rock.  I am a sucker for comfort and I don’t realize this until I am in these types of situations.

We left Cafayate heading to Jujuy on the morning bus and relished in the views of the mountains again.

Salta means JUMP!
March 18, 2009, 7:12 pm
Filed under: Argentina, Travel | Tags: , , ,

Once Alex arrived to Salta and my friend Bobby had started making his way to Rio, I knew I’d be seeing this city in a different light.  I would adapt to Alex’s way of traveling and abandon the one I adopted with Bobby.  I was worried that Alex’s army training and general appeal for sweat-inducing activities would mean that we would be climbing mountains and probably hunting pumas or something and I’m not really the “active” traveler so-to-speak.  Hiking is not one of my hobbies nor is any type of extreme water sport.  I wouldn’t be using my computer as much as I had been these past few weeks and I prepared myself by packing my mini-leatherman, just in case I needed to pull ticks off my body or defend myself against a wild boar.

When I met him at the airport and saw him emerge from the gate all my fears fell to the back of my mind.  His giant smile and warm, social presence reminded me that he was just here to have a good time, no matter what we did.  The army didn’t harden him or make him into this super mountain expeditionist salivating for the peaks.  He was more excited to meet all the Argentine’s he could, as he was impressed by the ones he had met on the plane and in Buenos Aires in his short 24 hours in the country.  Apparently his experience as a New Yorker for one short year had left his bright and bubbly spirit jarred by all of the harsh and closed off people of the city.  Argentine’s were angels to him compared to what New York had to offer and he was overjoyed and highly impressed.

We didn’t waste much time as we grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed for the Teleferico of Salta.  The Teleferico is a set of cable cars that climb up the mountain Cerro San Bernardo.  The view is spectacular and the tickets are incredibly cheap ($20 pesos there and back).  The buildings on each end of the Teleferico that load the people into the cars were extremely cool with giant cranks and metal wheels of bright reds, and oranges.  I felt like I was inside a giant clock.  We roamed around the mountain and took silly pictures of ourselves.  We saw tons of giant spiders that had taken residence just above our heads along the trail.  Alex bought a postcard and then lost it.

Since I had already been in Salta for 4 days and was pretty burned out, we didn’t stay for much longer.  We made plans to head down to Cafayate to see as much of the north as we possibly could.

March 16, 2009, 7:39 pm
Filed under: Argentina, Health & Wellness, Paleo, Travel | Tags: , , , ,

i fucking ate bunny rabbit tonight and drank 2 bottles of wine. it was so delicious beyond anything words can describe. i’m going back again tomorrow. BUNNY YOU ARE MY NEW MEAT! I LOVE YOU. and i’m a little bit drunk which is no way to write a post. i apologize now.