After this exciting trip we bid farewell to our three lovely Argentinean passengers, Guadalupe, Martina and Pia. We started looking for a hostel and luckily, very soon we stumbled across the superb Hostal El Cerrito, where first thing we showered off all the mud from this travel.
After a short phone call to the car rental company, we knew was to do! First, report the damage to the police, then buy plastic sheets and tape to cover the big opening in the rear where once used to be a window. All this was done very easily and quickly. Especially the police was efficient and helpful, very different from these legendary rumours about police in South America. True, the methods are completely outdated: the officer taking our account wrote it down by hand in a kind of register. The next day, it was typed up at amazing speed using an antique typewriter, xeroxed and given to us.
Only when the car was taken care off, did we relax a little and realize how hungry we were. At El Beduin we fed on Arabic food of average quality and then holed up in our room: rain was pouring down again.
Excitedly we set out the next morning to explore Salta, but soon found that Plaza 9 de Julio and a few restored colonial buildings were the only visual highlights in this town. To be fair, it is the surroundings that make Salta such a popular tourist destination.
In our hostel, we met Dieter and Willemena from Germany, true Argentina “aficionados”. During a long lunch at another and this time better Arabic restaurant, the Dubai, they provided us with lots of advice regarding our further trip north to Purmamarca and Quebrada Humahuaca. The lunch ended in a rather bizarre political debate with our Syrean host informing us of an invasion of Jewish capital in Dubai and his admiration for Hitler and Nietzsche who, in his opinion, believed in superior and inferior races. We opted for leaving the place rather soon.
Museo de Bellas Artes, our next stop, was rather disappointing, but an excellent folkloristic performance by young local dancers near the main plaza made up for the rather boring museum. Besides, the main event of the day was yet to come, a special carneval parade, with lots of feathery headdresses and colourful costumes. Guess what, it rained again, heavily! With the parade cancelled and this miserable weather, we bought a bag of empanadas and watched “Mutiny on the Bounty” on TV. Repeatedly, we complimented each other for being able to follow a film in Spanish! Or was it the fact that we knew the plot of the film?
But another disaster was looming around: the power adapter of our laptop went dead. At that point, we realized how dependent we had become of this tool: downloading, selecting and organizing the hundreds of pictures we take day by day; writing down or impressions and experiences for the website; following and controlling our budget, something Gilles takes very seriously; …
So Gilles started looking for a solution, walking from store to store, at times in heavy rain. After asking at about 15 places and being soaking wet, one thing was clear: we would not find a solution to our problem in Salta! And it was definitely not sure if we would find a solution in the bigger city of Tucuman. Slowly, we started worrying about this situation.