ARGENTINA HAS REAL COFFEE!!!!
After splitting off with Malin and Eirik we took our very first bus booked by ourselves! Knowing what to expect we took with us our mountaineering gear, packed on our layers and settled in for the long ride out of Bolivia. As allways the bolivian bus rides ends up in the middle of nowhere, in darkness with some obese man trying to get us into his car.. Luckily we met some very helpful (and spanish speaking) irish ladies that was very helpful on our struggle to cross the border, get some argentinian money and get on a but onwards to Salta.
In both bolivia and Peru, the chewing of coca leafes is a well established practice. This is not so for Argentina, and the smuggeling of coca leafs is a little more than frowned upon. (did someone say cavity search?) Of course I discover the bag of coca leafes we had been going through in the salt flats lying with our food. "Relax" I said to Cecilie "We'll just get rid of it when we get of the bus." Half an hour later the bus pulls over and a scowling border police officer walks in. With a sleight of hand to make Magic Trond proud I pured the bag of coca leaves into our bag of popcorn and was able to throwing it into the trash without being found out. Once back on the bus we calmed down a bit feeling that our hides, and cavities, were safe!
Salta was our first real meeting with Argentina. It is a cozy town that is easy to get to know, and during our 2 nights staying there we got to know its streets, cafes and untimely siestas. We checked into a 8 room dormitory, but as the only occupants there it was a cozy enough stay. Cecilie had by this time coughed enough to injure one of her ribs and was struggeling against coughing and pain. After conferring with both a local doctor and Stig, Cecilie finally agreed to take some painkillers and NSAIDS. We spent our time relaxing, washing clothes, drinking coffe and NOT VISITING MUSEUMS =)
After this we took the night bus to Cordoba. Here we met a taxi driver that was practically sitting in the backseat while driving his little Fiat. His fragile doors was a major concern of his, which sadly I did not know about. We spent the rest of the taxi trip a hurt silence. Luckily the next person we talked with was a frendly italian guy that fixed us up with a nice room and some hints and tips regarding the city. Here I tried some of the world famous Argentinian steak! Sadly it was served without any sauce or gravy, but with a generous protion of cartillage. Corboba is a city that is not too large, has a bunch of good places for coffe and a park that is ideal for a stroll.
Hopping on to our 4th night bus in 6 days we started towards Buenos Aires! I had heard alot about this city and had high expectations. The hostel we had booked with had somehow misplaced our reservation so we had to look around the neighborhood to find a roof over our heads. This turned out to be a real stroke of luck, since it took us to the fantastic hostel "Ostinatto". This was a great place to stay with its helpful staff, frendly atmosphere, good music and fantastic rooftop area! If you are passing by BA: Go to Ostinatto! Ragnhild, an old frend of mine was currently studying in BA and after some work we hooked up and she gave us some hints and tips regarding the city. The hostpitality did not end there! After spending a few days in the city she invited us to a genuine asado (Argentinian barbeque party)! Here we eventually got served all the meat we could eat, and got to know a little about life in BA. Our second hostel was a whole other deal compared to Ostinatto.. The people there slept until 11-13 before drinking a cup of tea and setteling down with their computers. They stayed there for the rest of the day, occationally bothering to rise up and let us in the door.. Not to be dragged in with these people we took a guided bike tour around the city and bought AWESOME new leather jackets!
The last thing we did before leaving Buenos Aires was booking a whole night out with a dinner and a professional tango show! The dancers were so incredibly good that babe would gladly have stayed in her corner to watch. It was a mix of a duet singing followed by one or more pairs of dancers on stage. The only thing more impressive than the dancer was our waiter. He was hands down THE best waiter I have ever had the pleasure of serving me. It might have something to do with the fact that our glasses never stayed empty for more than 0.35 seconds. In addition the style, quality and speed of the service was simply mind boggeling.
Next stop foz de Iguazu and the Devil's throat!