so after having finally managed to sort out a tour (quite difficult as they need a minimum of 2 people and i had no mates!), went for a siesta, but was rudely awakened by an argentinian man storming in really loudly, throwing his valuables on the floor and playing rammstein at top volume. more imressed than disgruntled, i got talking to him, tried to find out what was going on with the protest in the square, but he seemed to think it was a bit of a joke as well, something to do with privatisation of industry and the government being stupid and the americans being stupid. pretty standard. he invited me to go drink mate with him (pronounced mattay), which as i mentioned before is a really strong tea that everyone drinks all the time, its quite a good ritual where you pass around the gourd and drink the contents through a metal straw, then pass it back to the mate master who fills it up again and passes it to the next person. so had a really good afternoon drinking mate and talking with him and the german girls, turned out he likes loads of good music, so has given me the names of lots of argentinian bands to look up. really cool hostel actually, its run by about 6 young blokes who spend the whole time playing guitar, drinking mate, watching films and shouting, ideal.
got picked up early the next morning to go to the quebrada de humahuaca, ended up on a tour in a 4x4 with two geriatric argentinian women who kept fussing over me and calling me their angel, fairly disconcerting. also another really loud woman, who kept saying "AAAAAaahhhh....la quebrAAda!!" etc whenever the guide mentioned anything. had a really good day though, the scenery was pretty stunning, loads of multicoloured rocks and mountains, impressive. quite good spanish practice as well as no one spoke english, coped quite well for most of the day but had a bit of a headache by the end! was slightly concerned about the guide´s consumption of wine during lunch as his driving was a tad reckless at the best of times, but managed to get home alive so its all good. well actually the car broke down 2 blocks from the hostel so had to walk the last bit, yaaay. got my first taste of altitude effects as well, the last little town we visited was at about 3000m, was trying to walk up some steps and got out of breath really quickly so had to have a sit down, quite strange! watched knocked up in the evening with an australian girl who had turned up, then tried to have an early night but got rudely awakened again by a different argentinian man storming in, turning the light on and making loud phone calls while rampaging around. seems to be what they do. so after very little sleep i got up really early to get the bus to the bolivian border, great scenery again and took a little longer than expected due to llamas and donkeys deciding to wander across the road in large numbers and several points. got there in the end though, you have to get off the bus at la quiaca, walk about 1km across the border bridge then sort out onwards transport in villazon, got across without any trouble, and found some new mates on the bus, an english bloke called lee and quite an annoying american girl who we got rid of asap. found out you can get trains in southern bolivia, theres one a day which runs from villazon to oruro, so lee and i got tickets to tupiza, which is much nicer than villazon and only 3 hours away, didnt really fancy another 8 hours travelling to uyuni. train was awesome, incredible scenery and they played eurotrip dubbed into spanish, then loads more power ballads, dubbed into spanish by impersonators this time. lady in red in spanish is something quite special. although they played angie with mick jagger dubbed over by some middle aged bolivian woman. not ideal. in tupiza now waiting to get a jeep to uyuni, should be interesting. OUT