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marge & ian’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 18 Feb 2006

Location: *Salta - ARGENTINA*, Argentina

Map*Salta - ARGENTINA* 18/02/06 - 21/02/06

18/02/06

Despite a slight panic when it looked as though the Bolivians had tarmaced over the railway lines (in preparation for the Carnival), the train departed almost on time. It was a lovely scenic and relaxing journey only slightly tainted by the fact that Ian accidently threw the bloody train tickets out of the window!! Fortunately the guard had just noted that we were legitimate passengers!

After travelling many many miles across a 3,000+ metre flats, we arrived in the Bolivian border town of Villazon. As we were travelling with Damian (our new friend from the Blockade, who is Argentinian) we got across the border a little quicker than we would have otherwise. It also helped that the Argentinian´s had two queues, one for the rest of the Bolivians and one for the rest of the nations, I don´t think they liked the Bolivians (but who does!!).

Things were going well as we were on a bus sitting down comfortably only 15 minutes after crossing into Argentina (again it helps to have an Argentinian guide, every backpacker should have one!). We settled down for an uneventful 5 hour journey to Salta. By now we should have realised that WE don't have uneventful journeys when travelling in South America!

Event 1: Argentinian guy (not Damian), decides to pull out a bag of cocaine on the back seat next to us, and proceeded to take out his flip knife and indulge in a little of Bolivias finest export.

Event 2: "Coke-snorting Argentinian Guy (CSAG)" has tightening of rectum when the bus is pulled over by the army looking for...Drugs!! and contraband. Selected bags are taken off the bus for inspection. Point of note: The police never seem to take off backpacks, only local bags (which are basically big, plastic laundry bags). In this case the local bags contained about 100 pairs of crap jeans, obviously heading for the markets. We waited around for about 40 minutes because no-one would own up to owning the bags. The "CSAG"´s rectum begins to whistle when the police threatened to search all bags, if nobody owned up. Unfortunately for entertainments sake this didn't happen and the police let us go after about an hour - minus the confiscated jeans!

We arrived in Salta to a bus station that looked more like Stansted airport, it was nice and clean, oh to be back in the lovely Argentina!! The three amigos found a nice hostel, and went in search of a nice juicy Argentinian steak. Forgot to mention that Ian had not had a solid poo since the "MachupichPoo" and needed some food that didn´t originate from Bolivia.

Met up with Pat and Deirdre and Irish couple that we had met on the Inca Traila and again in La Paz. Had a load of cocktails and got pissed, Happy Days!

19/02/06 - 21/02/06

Spent the next few days enjoying the beautiful Salta in high temperatures, going out for nice meals (with free champagne!) and drinking lots of cocktails - all very civilized! The only stressful bit was when Ian tried to send a parcel home and it took him 3 hours, 6 forms, 46 rubber stamps and the two most sour faced old government officials later to get the job done.

We even managed to leave Salta in style, by plane to Buenos Aires our stepping stone for Uraguay, it should be beaches all the way from here...... oh and a massive waterfall in between - oh joy!