Santiago, Chile to Mendoza, Argentina to San Juan to Valle Fértil to Córdoba. We´ve journeyed to the center of Argentina and quickly want to make our escape. We tire of large cities quickly and long for the dusty roads that seem to be taking you nowhere, but that´s exactly where we want to go. It is somewhere. These small towns are relaxed, less globalized and we can wander around aimlessly. The locals are quick to offer directions or advice on things to see.
We camped for 5 nights, it cools down to the lower 40sF when the sun sets, and we fell asleep to the chorus of dogs and dirt bikes. If we weren´t camping alone, we would find only one or two scattered tents in the camping area. Camping is about half the price or cheaper than staying in a hostel. We could probably get away with camping for free seeing as how some of the grounds are closed for the winter, but then we also risk our things not being there when we return for the night. So instead we support the local people who supply us we with a comfortable place to sleep.
Camping Don Bosco in San Juan is the local hangout for the weekend and it involves handfuls of parties with big cookouts, bands playing and futbol too of course. Everyone gathers in the parque-camping area and parties all day until late in the night. I´m pretty sure we were the only people there who weren´t locals, which is the way I like things to be.
We travelled on to Valle Fértil in an attempt to visit a national parquethat is supposed to be full of rock-sand formations. It´s difficult to get to unless you arrange a ride to get there, and then have to pay a fee to take a guided tour through the park. It was more money than we wanted to spend so instead we wandered about some dirt roads in search of birds and other nature and found a good amount of the two. The main road crossed the river, we opted for a shoeless entry only to find that halfway through the crossing a 50+ year-old man hopped the wet rocks across to get his donkey and arrived on the other end of the river with dry shoes. We laughed and he smiled at us, giving us a nod.
I´ve come across some bird books that cost double what they would cost in the U.S. so for now I have a rough list of bird names in Spanish that hopefully I´ll have time to look into soon.
We depart the city, after two nights in a comfortable hostel, this afternoon and aim for some gems around the area and then continue to head east until we reach Uruguay. Beds are comfortable but I prefer the outdoors even if it involves having to face the cold in the middle of the night because my bladder refuses to let me make it through until the sun returns in the morning.
More photos can always be found here, or see the link on the right, Our Stuff: My Photo Albums.