Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Salta

They have a gondola up to the top of one of the hills in Salta, so we went to the top of that.

You're way above the ground the whole way up; a little scary.
At the top they have just a massive artificial waterfall system. Ridiculous, but cool.

We walked back down.

They have some humungous spiders and spiderwebs over the trail for the top part of the trail.



There's a big and nice park in the middle of Salta. Our hostel was right by it so it was pretty convenient.

There's a constant little market in the park selling lots of tourist crap, but also some really good food.

12 Empanadas for $1.50 is pretty much impossible to beat. It is right up there with 5 for $1 Mexican street tacos.

Our hostel was just awesome. If you're in Salta, stay at the Inti Huasi. It is really nice, cheap, and on Wednesday and Fridays, they have this ridiculous parilla dinner for $8. It comes with all the awesome Argentine steak you want and all the wine you can drink, and it lasts for about 3 hours. Probably the most impressive part is the truly high quality vegetarian creations that the house chef makes. This was definitely one of the best meals we had the whole time in South America. We ended up having it twice.


Our first time, the owner/manager guy (seen in the picture above) just kept forcing the wine on us. We had plenty, then when he got tired of pushing steak on us, he went back to the wine. I had a big water glass, and I thought it was cool that he kept re-filling it. But after a while, I was done with wine. Then when I turned around, he would fill it back up. He tried that on everyone. Then about 11pm, he said, "Ok, we're all going out to a club! OK, we go in 10 minutes; I know the owner, I can get us all in." Um, ok. So we hop in a few cabs and are pretty suspect about this, but what the hell, we've had liters of wine. We get to this area of Salta with clubs all over this street and lines snaking out of all the clubs. Our guy runs inside and after a few minutes, I figure this isn't going to work but, whatever. Then, our guy runs outside and yells for him to follow him and we all not only get in free, but get to cut in front of the huge line. Pretty cool, and pretty fun.


Again, Salta is a really nice place to hang out.



The next day we headed back south a few hours to Cafayate (pronounced Caf a Jat e).
The drive down is pretty picturesque through some pretty spectacular canyon country.


We'll start with Cafayate next time.




I really like college football, but at least at the end of this season I can stop hearing about Tim Tebow. He's a good college player, and he likes church, and sometimes he gets concussions. OK, I get it. Enough!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Barreal

Barreal is a pretty small town way out in the middle of nowhere. It is a pretty pleasant place though. People from San Juan (Argentina) drive out here for weekends. Mostly they just hang out and enjoy a break from the city and the nice views.






We headed back the same way we came and may have passed 2 or 3 cars the whole way back to Upsallata.








We headed back to Mendoza and camped just outside of town near the winery areas. They had a little farm there with nandus there:


The next day we went out to try to go wine tasting. It is a pain in the ass in Mendoza though. You can't just drop in, you have to make reservations. We ended up making it to one winery tour. Nieto Seniter is apparently the oldest winery in Mendoza. It was a cool tour because they were harvesting grapes.



We went back and stayed in Mendoza again and signed up for a winery tour for the next day. It is pretty much the only way to conveniently do it, and it was fun and easy.




We went to four wineries. Then we went to this place for a terrific lunch. There were just tons of different kinds of food and also all you can drink wine.

They let us stay there for a couple hours to eat and drink.


That evening we took a night bus to Salta. Fully reclining seats are terrific.


Salta is nice. We really liked it there.



If you end up in Salta make sure you go to the mummy museum. It was probably the best museum we went to on this trip. They found mummies on top of a 20,000 foot mountain nearby that were really well preserved. They don't let you take pictures of them, but they do let you take pictures of the stuff they found with them. Here are one mummy's shoes:


and llama figurines:


Some of those are made out of gold.






This isn't the best picture, but the mountains here are just enromous. It is hard to believe how high they look from Salta. Salta is around 4000 feet, and these mountains are around 20,000 feet.



I'll have more about the Salta area later.

Seahawks game review: 0. We suck.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ओं थे वे तो बर्रेअल

Those goats are still messing up my titles. In English, that says on the way to Barreal. In goat, it says the above.

It rained:

video

Naomi was actually kind of worried about this situation. Once we got back to Upsallata, we started to head out to Barreal and realized the road is a dirt/gravel road totally in the middle of nowhere to get there. She was concerned about that, but then it started pouring down rain.

But there was nobody else out there, so she could chill out with a beer:


Here's a map that clears right up where you are and where you're going:


I thought it was pretty cool out there.



Then she had enough and made me drive (even though I was not an authorized driver on the car! omg!)
and it started to clear up for a while.


We found a dry lake bed:




Drove around on it for a while:
video

Saw some goats:


and made it back to paved roadway, just outside of Barreal, much to Naomi's relief.


Movie review: Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist: 6
Not too lame for a teen movie, really.