Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Day 8: Cachi to Purmamarca via Salta

Day 8:  Cachi to Purmamarca via Salta (the shortcut to Purmamarca is closed for the next 5 days at least), 7 hours in transit

Weather: Pretty Damn Nice! High 50s before breakfast, a bit warm in Salti and lunch time and back to very pleasant in Purmamarca

Sunrise in Cachi

The view from the front of the hotel

Quotes of the Day: THB actually culled these from Pinochet and Peron because they resonate with what we might be hearing…does anyone believe DJT knows who Aristotle was? Alexander the Great? Israelites? (okay, he probably knows who Israelites are)

  • He could have a thousand faults, but I do not blame anyone in particular and I despise brutality with which the Nazis acted against Israelites; but the fault is not only of Hitler, but a group of high-ranked dignitaries.
  • Alexander, the greatest general of all history had as master Aristotle, and I have always thought that my office had something to do with philosophy

Breakfast is pretty basic: mediocre medialunas (croissants made on site), toast and regular coffee…no yogurt.

All carry-on all the time

Now the most famous Argentinian ever?

Andres picks us up promptly at 8:50am, we tour the main square of Cachi (literally nothing to see) and we are on the road to Purmamarca. The shorter route is out of commission for days. 

Wildflowers near the Cardones National Park


Why would you send accidents an E-vite?

Yesterday in the mist, today sunny and gorgeous

Where we're heading: down, down, down

Local goat cheese for sale (he wasn't here yesterday in the mist)

A shrine to Gomerias (tire repair shops) that at one time did a booming business

Lunch is in Salti, once again at Dona (not Dora) Salta, for empanadas, two salads, limonada, $30 (and we treat Andres, this meal is not included in the package). Single cones at Rosmari, $3.50 for the two).

Andres claims to eat 12 or 13 empanadas at dinner; when guiding he holds himself back to 4 or 5

THB claims to hold himself to a single cone except when he orders doubles or triples

Andres go-to chew: coca leaves

More weather ahead

Sugar cane

Sugar cane processing plant

The round-about route (we didn’t need to visit Salta again, let alone eat at Dona Salta again…we did need to have ice cream again) takes us by sugar cane that is being used to generate biofuel for electricity, through Jujuy province, and up a gorge that 2-3 weeks ago had a huge mudslide full of large boulders and gravel.  

Pics of the landslide from a few weeks ago:

The slide covered the road and left several dead. The road has been cleared now, so at least there’s one route to Purmamarca. Andres thinks the slide also has held down the crowds going to Carnaval there because sometimes the traffic backs up for hours and hours and today we have no backups and coast into  our hotel parking lot at 5pm.

Same architect as last night's place in Cachi

A few lights work off the master key

Check in to Manatial Del Silencio, a sister hotel to La Merced del Alto of last night. Our room does have a rainbird showerhead and a working safe, it does not have wifi, washclothes or TV (no loss, we never watch unless there is some sports thing that doesn’t need translation).

The bands are rotated all day and night

Carnaval goes for days and almost 24 hours per day, maybe slacking off in the morning, and the “downtown” of the village is full of revelers, very respectful except for the occasional spray can of some lime-smelling stuff that evaporates quickly and some flour (not much) throw around. There are clearly some people over-indulging in alcohol, not many.

We share a cheese and ham folded over quesadilla, $1.50 and wander around the village. They will be going until the wee hours of the morning.

Dinner at the Silencio (which will be anything but quiet tonight if the bands rev it up):  diced quinoa salad and corn chowder soup for DB along with a pisco sour before dinner and a glass of Torrentes with dinner (another glass of wine for $4); THB has a very good trout salad with diced veggies and squid chicharrones (not too good) and a glass of Malbec from last night’s wine.

THB is feeling exhausted, leaves DB to settle up (one bustling waiter for 10 tables) and falls asleep at 9:30 the second his head hits the pillow.

Silencio, por favor!

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