Well, I am writing this in a bit of a strange situation. By the time I upload it I am sure it will be so old it will be verging on irrelevant but better late than never hey! Right now I am in a tiny town called Purmamarca. It is in the north of the Argentina in the Jujuy province. Yes Ju Ju is in Jujuy, unfortunately pronounced Hoo Hooey and not really the same as my name but kind of similar!! Ha ha! Anyway right now I am in a little hostal sharing a room with a guy who is a guide in the north of Argentina and is taking a group of tourists up to Iruyi tomorrow. How did I get here you ask? Good bloody question! Started off with me taking a tour from Salta this morning going up along the trail of the Cloud Train. I had the original plan not to return to Salta but rather to get the tour bus to drop me off in Jujuy (the capital of the Jujuy province) and from there take a tour up north the next day before catching the bus over to Chile. But while I was on the tour I was talking with guide and he told me it was stupid to go the whole way back to Jujuy when I was going to Purmamarca today and that I wanted to pass there again tomorrow. Which of course was true! Only problem is that Purmamarca is the smallest town I have ever attempted to stay in! I asked around for rooms and only found super expensive hotels. I returned to the guide and let him now I couldnt find accommodation here so I was going to back to Jujuy. There was another guide there who asked me if I wanted to share a room. I said yes. Next thing I now he is calling over another guide and telling him that I am going to share a room with him! All a bit weird! But turns out the room is really nice. Has three beds and is a cheap price. Pancho, the guy I am sharing with is lovely and very respectful so in the end much better than spending the night alone. And as I will expand on in a second having just said goodbye to Adriana and having no phone or internet access, tonight was the not the night to be alone in a creepy hotel in a complete ghost town! The bus to Chile only passes here on Thursdays though so I have my ticket but will have to spend tomorrow night here as well without Pancho who is heading off with his tour group tomorrow. Might have to try and find some other accommodation though because as it is it is only cheap because I am splitting the cost with Pancho!
So some background to the situation I hear some of you ask (the rest are wondering how you can quickly skim this entry…heres a hint, miss this paragraph!). Well, after almost a week in Salta feeling sorry for myself my Venezuelan friend Adriana arrived on Sunday night. It was so great to see her! We spent Sunday night and Monday just hanging out. Dinking coffee, getting our hair cut and just generally catching up. This morning we organised to go on a tour of the cloud train and around the great salt flats. The tour was truly magical (again!!) I have fallen madly in love with the terrain around the north of Argentina. It is just breath taking. Adri and I went crazy taking photos when we got to the salt flats they did all work out but you can get the idea! Ha ha! When we arrived in Purmamarca I decided to stay and Adri decided to go back to Salta to take the night bus down to Cordoba. So we split ways. Felt a bit teary and very lonely. I have had huge pangs to return to BA. My sickness in Salta hit me for 6 and I feel like I have lost a lot of my energy to keep travelling. I have to keep reminding myself that I have wanted to do this trip for a really long time so that I will keep going. I think I have decided though that I am going to go as far as Cusco on bus and then I am going to fly directly up to Bogota to stay with Cristinas family.
So the night with Pancho in the end was fine but so weird when you dont really know who you can trust. I started getting worried when Pancho said that his company picks up the tab on all food and drink and suggested that we go out to dinner but then chose a super fancy place with candles on the tables. Very date like and very uncomfortable. My sick boyfriend back in the hostel story wasnt going to work in this situation. I was trying very hard to find the line between flirting and being friendly (I have found that the majority of Latin American men I have met blur that line considerably!). I thought I had managed to get through the dinner ok when on the way home Pancho decides to take me for a drive through the local hills around Purmamarca. Ahhh! I went into such a panic I thought my heart would explode. I was (half but I really didnt know) that I was going to get raped and killed in the hills of Purmamarca. Thoughts were streaming through my head. I had Dads personal alarm but there was no one out here to hear it. I had heard that if you wet yourself it often turns off rapists so I checked my bladder to see if I could make something work. But then I thought maybe he would kill me straight away. So all this was happening in my head while I was also trying to look totally cool on the outside. In the end I feigned complete tiredness and a need to return to the hostel in this exact moment. By the time we got back I reasoned that if he was going to pounce me he would have already done it in the car but as a cautionary measure I put on two pairs of pants, one with a belt and layered the top layers too.
An hour ago Pancho left to go on his trip up to Iruya. Nothing happened. He was just a guy sharing a room with a fellow traveller. Wow! Ok so lessons learned: it sucks not knowing who you can trust…I wish I had been able to see into the future last night to know that nothing was going to happen and maybe I would actually have been able to enjoy the drive which I am sure was beautiful but I really couldnt tell you! Second thing learned is that having to pay more is always worth it. Although nothing happened last night if I had just shelled for a private room last night (at double the cost) it would never have been an issue. Huddled in bed last night wearing a pair of pants with a belt made this very clear! So, I am probably only telling you this story because I just woke up and have no one to talk to and it was a pretty intense night. Please dont panic (that note is for Mum and especially Dad). The lessons have already been learnt! Tonight I am shelling to have the same room but as a private! So today I am off to Humahuaca gorge knowing that some greater force is looking out for me. Im told I can catch a public bus there so might go get dressed now and then head out for some breakfast and some more info!
Next stop Chile, on the way up into the salt flats of Bolivia. Do it.
Just a really quick update: Sorry cant get this computer to upload photos! I am currently in Ticara a small town an hour from Purmamarca where they have internet – whoop whoop! I will try and upload photos soon xoxoxo
posted Wednesday October 2008