Saturday, February 25, 2017

Day 6: Salta

Day 6:  Salta

Weather: Pleasant early, warming to mid-80s at noon, raining hard with high winds and thunder at 4pm (conveniently when we had been at the pool for 10 minutes), then clearing and low 80s, finally a lightning storm at 9:30pm

Rust-spotted towel used to stifle sound of faucet drip during night; maybe we shouldn't be drinking out of the taps 
Quotes of the Day:

·       Not a single leaf moves in this country if I'm not the one moving it. I want that to be clear!
·       Governing is easy, how difficult it is to lead ...
Our group of 4 units

Breakfast by ourselves at 8am, sitting on the veranda off the huge dining room. It’s buffet (they will make eggs) and THB and DB have cereal and yogurt, taste the pastries (dry), and decaf coffees that comes with toast! Our waitress forgets DB’s second coffee.
HoJ is piling up wood for winter

"Candy Corn" mushrooms?

A parasite that attacks eucalyptus  trees

Andres picks up sharply at 9:30 and, using a large country map, gives us an overview of Salta and where we will be going tomorrow. Not a long way, it will be up to high mountain passes (15K+ feet), through national parks, and approaching a group of small towns that are celebrating Carnaval.  That could make traffic slower than normal. THB and DB think it could make for some unusual sights!
Many local houses have a water tank on the roof

Our conveyance for this stretch of 4-5 days

The viewpoint above Salta, next to the gondola cable cars

Off to town to get a vista from a mountain overlook, back down to visit the:
·      A contemporary art museum, with a juried show (not great) and photographs of politicians and personalities from the mid-1990s by a photographer/journalist that was assassinated in 1997
·      Two well-known churches near the main square 

·      Children of Llullaillaco museum, dedicated to the three Incan mummies of children from the 1500s found in cut out “caves” at 22K feet. They display one mummy at a time to help with long-term preservation and the one we’re seeing is Lightning Girl. She was struck sometime after “burial” and yet is still reasonably intact. Another Incan mummy, excavated in the 1920s and sold to a private party and subsequently found on the streets of Paris, is also on display; no pics allowed inside the museum 
Guides also not allowed in the mummy museum

Lunch at Dona Salta: THB and DB have the same meal of pollo con fries and limonada; Andres has 4 jerky empanadas. Afterwards THB and DB have two-scoop ice creams ($3pp, included), very rich and more on the gelato scale.

Andres inside Dora Salta

Waiters dressed as gauchos

Andres drops us back at House of Jasmines and after resting up a bit we decide to head to the pool for a dip. A few minutes later the wind picks up, thunder is heard, and THB and DB head for the umbrellas and back to the room to watch a downpour.
Salta is a large city, 600K, with very blue skies

The meter is running

Andres brings his own memory stick full of musica folklorico

HAH! The weather changes again and back to the pool we go. It is very pleasant out, probably high-70s with direct sun, cooler in the shade of an umbrella and the light breeze, accompanied by a jug of ice tea.

A rarity: a fresh-from-the-garden salad, topped with croutons and cheese

Dinner again at the hotel, and we go light: THB has two empanadas and ravioli al pesto (though apparently the basil was left out and THB got more of a light olive oil and parmesan coating) and DB has a goat cheese and tomato appetizer followed by a salad from the hotel’s garden which featured lightly toasted croutons and roasted cherry tomatoes. With the other half of last night’s Torrontes and a glass of local Malbec for THB, dinner comes to $40 (and THB wasn’t dreaming, there was no place to add a tip to the bill, last night’s meal probably was closer to $75 because the bottle of wine was on the bill).
Bugs attracted by the light

The A/C works extremely well in the bedroom and living room

During a discussion with Andres today, a year ago the exchange rate was 8 to the dollar and now it is closer to 16. And, all major purchases are priced in dollars (the same was true 10-11 years ago when we were here last), so if you buy a car, a condo, a house, etc., or anything major, you pay in US$. 

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