The last journal entries will be a 2 part affair, with me doing the 1st stint and then DSW will provide the final blog of our 11 month long 'Life Experience'. The 2nd part of our South American journey has been made up of actvities such as camping, horse riding and looking at lots and lots of salt.
After leaving the highest town in the world, the silver mining town of Potosi we headed for a place called Ayuni which is well known for its vast Salt Flats. Us and the rest of our tour group climbed aboard several Land Rovers and headed off in search of salt and salt is what we got, in abundance. The 1st stop was to see how the salt was collected and packaged which, if I'm honest was not the most exciting stop in the world but we grinned and beared it. The rest of the flats offered some spectacular views with pure, white salt as far as the eyes could see. The landscape of the salt also provided an opportunity for some amusing photos. If captured correctly, then things could be made to seem a lot larger than they actually were. Upon hearing this information, DSW whipped down his trousers to pose for photos to make his 'thing' look larger. This resulted in an unsuspecting young lady being portrayed as being the same size as and touching 'Little Dave'. We made several stops throughout the day seeing some great views and a picturesque sunset across the flats which was nice.
Also at lunch that day we played in a footy match against a group of Israelis. After the very amusing jokes that I looked Israeli and should join their team we started the match and produced and very disciplined performance and came away with a well deserved 2-0 victory, thus keeping our 100% South American record intact. When the 2nd goal went in the Israelis said nothing and just walked off the pitch. MUGS.
Next stop was our last in Bolivia, a place called Tupiza whcih was pretty crap. Had a uneventful walk around, had an average meal and then left the next day. NEXT PLEASE!
We then crossed the border into Argentina where we stopped at a town called Salta where our 4 weeks of living in a tent began. The highlight of our couple of nights here was a BBQ prepared by myself, DSW and our driver guide Dan. After the meat feast we opened a few boxes of Bolivian wine flavoured drink which cost a grand total of 70 English Pence called Vin Up. The drink is not advertised as wine as it contains vegetable extract so you can get your '5 a day' veg intake while slowly getting pissed. Apparently (because my memory is distinctly hazy) I was unable to string a sentence together by the end of the night so Vin Up is a dangerous beverage.
Our next campsite was in South Salta where most of our group went rafting or went on some zip lines over the river but me and Dave were content to relax and create a new game which was christened Jave-ball!! Here was the 1st place that we sampled the famous Argentinian Steak as we enjoyed a BBQ at the campsite where they kept bringing over more and more meat. A good sign of things to come!
Horse Riding was next on the agenda as we visited an Argentinian Estancia where we stayed for 3 nights. We enjoyed an excellent 1st night as our host provided a free wine tasting with all the wine we could drink being provided. This wine was of a much better standard than Vin Up and didnt seem to contain any veg at all. Strange. The wine tasting soon turned into just wine drinking and at times wine downing!! The result was 5 people out of our group of 12 (not me or DSW) throwing up. They later claimed it was due to our evening meal and not the copious amounts of wine they drank. DUBIOUS.
Our Horse Riding began the next day. Just because I was given one of the smallest horses to ride, DSW was convinced that it was to quote 'A girls horse'. As Dave was on the largest horse - due to his weight (muscle or fat, you decide!) he provided me with constant abuse about my little horse. That was until it was revealed that the name of his horse actually meant 'Rosemary', a very manly name I'm sure you will agree!! We rode around the Argentinian countryside and took in some breathtaking views in the brilliant sunshine. That evening we were treated to some traditional Gaucho entertainment and were seneraded for an hour or so. One performance was just spoken word which prompted DSW to liken it to a Gaucho version of 8 Mile.
Another day of riding was followed by a lassoo competition and it is hard to tell which I was worse at, surfing or lassoing - my technique was all wrong. On the other hand Smith - Watson bagged one and made a final play-off in which he triumphed in and won a bottle of Argentinian wine. The gaucho, called Jose then prepared one hell of a BBQ with DSW eating his and another of our tour groups share easily. The Argentinian meat was beautiful and came from the cows that were kept on the Estancia.
Horse Riding was excellent fun but it left our arses a bit worse for wear and me feeling that Elton John had been my tent partner rather that DSW.
Due to the flexible nature of our trip we were able to detour to Buenos Airies for several days where me and DSW planned to sleep on the truck in order to save on accommodation costs.
Smudger will pick up from there in the next entry.
All the Best
Jake and Dave