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2013-03-26_NorthArgentina
Lomo de llama, the gastronomical column of the Comfortzone Magazine now discovers the facts.
  • No KMZ (Google Earth) for this traveldiary.
Toward to Purmamarca
Woke up at 7 in the morning, and from quarter past 8 the breakfast is served; the usual tea, coffee, little bakery stuff, butter, jam and dulce de leche were spread out on the table.

Good news that the Experienced Argentine Traveller doesn't need to carry such things anymore which are mandatory to stay alive, like the BlackBerry charger and such, but they can go into the backpack.
d02_01 (2013-03-27 08:44:03) -- show location on Google Maps
Kisses-kisses, left the hostel, and by 9am I arrived to the bus terminal, where it came out that I have 45 free minutes, because the next bus to Purmamarca departs only at 9:45am.
d02_02 (2013-03-27 08:52:36) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_03 (2013-03-27 09:06:54) -- show location on Google Maps

panorama01
d02_04 (2013-03-27 09:12:41) -- show location on Google Maps
6.5 peso ride.
d02_05 (2013-03-27 09:16:35) -- show location on Google Maps

panorama02
I don't know if all the Argentine regions have this naming custom, but the locals are called after the name of the cities or regions:
  • Salta: salteño is the man salteña is the woman.
  • Mendoza: mendocino, mendocina
  • Neuquén: neuquino, neuquina
I know two demonyms in the capital, the porteño/porteña is used specifically for those who live in the capital. The other one is the bonaerense which applies to the inhabitants of the Great Buenos Aires region, what was connected to the capital during the 19. and 20. centuries.
d02_06 (2013-03-27 09:16:55) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_07 (2013-03-27 09:18:40) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_08 (2013-03-27 09:20:58) -- show location on Google Maps

panorama03
d02_09 (2013-03-27 09:31:41) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_10 (2013-03-27 09:37:45) -- show location on Google Maps
A local linguistic characteristic, men aren't called as hombres but varones herearound.

The bus was self-service, the driver opened the trunk and left the rest to the passengers where they wanted to put their luggage.
d02_11 (2013-03-27 09:46:11) -- show location on Google Maps
Look, how much leg space!!!
d02_12 (2013-03-27 09:48:09) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_13 (2013-03-27 09:49:58) -- show location on Google Maps
On the way to Purmamarca
Punta del Campo town, south from Tilcara, north to Maimará.
d02_14 (2013-03-27 09:51:50) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_15 (2013-03-27 09:56:34) -- show location on Google Maps
Maimará
The main square of Maimará.
d02_16 (2013-03-27 09:59:48) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_17 (2013-03-27 10:07:17) -- show location on Google Maps
Arrival to Purmamarca
Less in an hour, by 10:40am we got over to Purmamarca. I was just about to step onto the ground from the last stair of the bus, when nearly from nothing two girls attacked me: You too want to go to the Salinas Grandes, right?! We have a transfer what leaves at 11am, but two more people are missing! I replied that of course, this was the idea - but first I will drop down my backpack.

I wandered around a bit on the streets, because I couldn't find the hostel, when finally I realized, it was right where I got off from the bus.

I did the check-in, an another girl appeared, with whom and after paying 80 pesos the transfer minivan was ready to leave.
d02_18 (2013-03-27 11:31:27) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_19 (2013-03-27 11:47:19) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_20 (2013-03-27 11:50:59) -- show location on Google Maps
With a little fantasy, even the Stelvio Passage could be visualized.
d02_21 (2013-03-27 11:55:31) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_22 (2013-03-27 11:57:58) -- show location on Google Maps
En route, we stopped at the turn, what can be positioned on the map: at 4,170 meters. Taking photos, and some others buy local handicrafts - potteries - from the sellers.
d02_23 (2013-03-27 12:14:43) -- show location on Google Maps
A 360 degrees panorama.

panorama04
The oldschool eco-friendly harmony of the stone statue breaks the shrilling new-age environment of the futuristic aluminium sign.
d02_24 (2013-03-27 12:15:03) -- show location on Google Maps
Look, even a French car could come up, ha-ha-ha!
d02_25 (2013-03-27 12:18:58) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_26 (2013-03-27 12:22:15) -- show location on Google Maps
A 360 degrees panorama.

panorama05
Arrival to the Desert of Salt, aka Salinas Grandes. The name is very tricky, because the at least four more other open salt mines of the country have the same name, thus the Argentine Traveller must find confidence that he'll insert a good Wikipedia link for the best of the accurate informing.

So, now we're talking about the Huge salt mine of the Jujuy and Salta provinces, what offers 212 square kilometers of the goods from satisfying gastronomical needs up to the beauty industry.

According to the scientists, the salt basin emerged about 5 and 10 million years ago: at this time due to the volcanic activities of the region, it was filled with salty water and due to the continuous evaporation, this inland salty water pool nowadays offers an average of 30 centimeters of salty crust.
d02_27 (2013-03-27 12:51:02) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_28 (2013-03-27 13:01:16) -- show location on Google Maps
It may look like as a product shot, but here and now I'll have inappropriate words and let me step away for a second from the travel and carry the keyboard to a photography trek.

As I mentioned this in the older traveldiaries or in the minidiary, I carry my gear in the bags of Lowepro, from the sunlit plains of the Great Hungarian Plain through the early dawns in front of the Prague Castle up even to the blizzards of the South Pole.

I used to and still have a Lowepro Compact AW shoulder bag, but for travelling it's terribly cumbersome: it has a lot of space (even a Nikon-Nikkor 80-200 mm fits into nicely), protects the gear, but it's bulky and cannot be used for other purposes. Therefore it's great for journal or event photography when you arrive to the scene by car, but outside it cannot be used for any mobile actions - it still doesn't make any sense if you were Arnold Schwarzenegger but training only to one shoulder.

Then I have a Lowepro Pro Trekker AW 400 backpack too, what has a modular interior, dedicated place for a laptop and its comfortable build can support other uses too, not only for photography gear.

Besides of these, I have a Lowepro Nova 170 shoulder bag as well. Likewise it's great but it's limited. It's amazing because the body of the camera, a 18-70 mm lens, maybe an extra macro lens or an external flash fits into, then goodbye-lullaby, it's so lightweight, that even the weakest wisp of wind grabs it away from your hands. Its smaller size is a total advantage, because there have been many travels, what I finished with such gear as I foresaw the possible photography subjects. But, sometimes you really need a 14 mm lens (what doesn't fit anymore) or a 200 mm tele lens (what doesn't fit anymore).

As a kind of scaffolding, I have a lens bag totally perfect to safely carry a bottle of wine, but this isn't that comfortable.

Thus and so, I was simply out of my body because of the immense happiness, when I spotted the Lowepro Outback on the market and the "200" size stirred up my fantasy: it has everything, a shapely chest and well-shaped hips. Evaluating in a professional manner, it has two detachable lens bags on the sides, has an internal space, what can take the body (with grip) with a tele lens attached + has a pocket in the front. My pleasure was out of limits, you know:
  • first lens bag: 14-24 mm lens and batteries or a macro lens
  • second lens bag: 80-200 mm lens
  • frontal pocket: SB-800 flash, other batteries, memory cards, cleaning stuff
  • interior: the body of the camera with grip and a 18-70 mm lens attached. It exactly fits, that I still have some space at the top, so I can carry other small things like the GP1 receiver, passport, etc
Superb, in similar circumstances they say that such matches are made only in Heaven: when they clearly don't. Naturally ya ain't gonna get such bag in Argentina, noononono, not at all. Forget it. If you might be able, then you can grab this bag only after vulture-taxation. Thus, during my travel to Budapest in the November of 2012, I espoused one copy of this bag.

But.

Seeing from the above, I can tell for sure that I know the product line of Lowepro. With and after this, I completely learned this bag yet I simply cannot make room in my head, to try to understand how on the Earth could they put the builtin All Weather AW, rain protection cover (all of the above bags have it) only to the "300" size? When the first line of the product marketing starts this way: For photographers and photo enthusiasts who carry their gear to the limits
What happens if the monsoon reaches me on Jakarta?

What happens if the deceptive rain of La Plata crookedly attacks?
I just cannot see, why and how could they leave out the protection against the rain (shall we add, the frontal pocket is thin, could get wet in a split second), when this wouldn't add too much extra cost over this anyway-not-so-cheap bag and why only the biggest version got it.

Then. I carried, hauled the above bags around a lot of places. And likewise I'm paying attention to this Outback as well, but this became discoloured in a shorter amount of time and for instance the sponge at the bottom escaped because of the poor quality of sewing.

Nowadays the plastic industry can produce good quality, resistant plastics and this obviously make the bag easier - but we'll see how long will the carabiners and loops live.

The Lowepro Outback is a well-designed bag with great structure, extra clapping for the built-in belt what takes the weight away from your shoulder - but the lack of rain protection, the poor quality of sewing, thin materials terribly strongly put a damper on the passion.
d02_29 (2013-03-27 13:02:59) -- show location on Google Maps
The salt desert.
d02_30 (2013-03-27 13:06:17) -- show location on Google Maps
A 360 degrees panorama.

Important service announcement: I wrote about this that the excursion arrived a bit fast, so I left the sunscreen in the backpack in the hostel. This caused a little toast for me, even that I was out there only about 30 minutes. Anyway.

But, I still was luckier than that unknown girl in the minivan, who didn't even have sunglasses: boys-girls, sunglasses are man-da-to-ry! That's one thing that the sunlight coming from above, from the sides and reflected back from the ground will charr your eyes, and if it doesn't bother you, still the sunlight is so strong, you won't be able to keep your eyes open, so you won't see sh.t at all. What this means you'll just throw out the money of the travel.

Long and short of it: take sunscreen, apply it a long before arrival, protection for the head like a cap or hat is neither a disadvantage, but the sunglasses are mandatory.

panorama06
I was an anarchist. I broke the rules. I stood my legs firmly on the ground and with pulsating temporal, with a bull-like determination I went against the trends.

There are unavoidable photos, what every tourist must shoot: such positions like imitating to push against the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The Eiffel Tower can't escape either, but at least the girls have fantasy.

If you visit an Argentine salt desert, then you must shoot jumping up pictures or gestures in perspective, strange looking photos. I didn't do it.

But tasted the ground. Indeed salty. More salty than sweet.
d02_31 (2013-03-27 13:15:26) -- show location on Google Maps
A late restaurant, what's being consumed by salt.

During the walk I asked around the drivers, I'd be interested in a ride to Susques. One bloke appeared, who would do it for 300 pesos, and the girl from the hostel had been interested too, still 150 pesos per two persons would be too much. Thus Susques was removed from the itinerary.
d02_32 (2013-03-27 13:29:06) -- show location on Google Maps
Need to explain this, salt is in Hungarian, so they sound similar; I'm sure no other explanations are needed of the title. Going back to Purmamarca.
d02_33 (2013-03-27 14:11:14) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_34 (2013-03-27 14:23:02) -- show location on Google Maps
The restaurant from outside, and you can buy salt directly from the manufacturer here.

panorama07

panorama08
The Show Must Go On.
d02_35 (2013-03-27 14:33:24) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_36 (2013-03-27 14:57:54) -- show location on Google Maps
Two times each day, the buses leave at 1:30pm and 4pm from Purmamarca to Jujuy. You're welcome.
d02_37 (2013-03-27 15:09:11) -- show location on Google Maps
As follows, returned from the salt desert, in a foursome we sat into a restaurant and I started to explore the first llama steak of my life.

The question arose in the first edition of the Comfortzone Magazine, With or without lemon? The answer is antipodean, it does not raise the gastronomical pleasures, at least the sour lemon doesn't befit the roasted meat in the taste of the editor: why is it needed? As the side dish, the two piece of potatoes were overwhelming, but what corn or pea was the other player, I couldn't tell: but they either didn't cook it well, or they like to put it hard into their mouth and chew.

The meat was good anyway, tho' I didn't sense anything special, it's probably the closest to the beef. And to the chicken, of course.
d02_38 (2013-03-27 15:51:06) -- show location on Google Maps
After the abundant lunch we had a little walk to the sight of the town, to the Cerro de los Siete Colores, aka the Hill of the Seven Colours, what's situated at the southern part of the town.

Before the hill, there is an another hill and from the top of this second hill one can get the best view of the main hill (hillarious), but before reaching it, there's a small house in front of the second hill; both of the hills. In this little house an entrance fee had to be paid. One of the Argentine visitors in front of us bitched for some time (Wellwellwell, if you knew, that the same things happened/happens for the Hungarians who wanted to visit their own Fisherman's Bastion) but everybody paid the 2 peso fee to climb onto the hill.

The picture isn't the hill yet. View to the north.
d02_39 (2013-03-27 16:27:06) -- show location on Google Maps
The llama steak.
Still not. View to the west.
d02_40 (2013-03-27 16:28:26) -- show location on Google Maps
A little trek to an another hill and looking back to east to the hill of the town (from where the Hill of the Seven Colours can be seen, this is the supporting hill).
d02_41 (2013-03-27 16:39:04) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_42 (2013-03-27 16:55:15) -- show location on Google Maps
A 360 degrees panorama, from the hill above the town, including the Hill of the Seven Colours. The remarkable colours is a result of a complex geological story: various marine sediments with different colours were pressed into this hill during the movement of tectonic plates.

panorama09
Whole Purmamarca from above.

panorama10
d02_43 (2013-03-27 16:57:51) -- show location on Google Maps
Probably I could immense in this part of the journey more, if I had any induction and interest for the homespun articles.

I really respect the endless rows of the products, the mood-enhancing effect of the oversaturated colours, the efforts, the skills, but I just wasn't interested that much to buy such kind of things.
d02_44 (2013-03-27 17:18:01) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_45 (2013-03-27 17:21:25) -- show location on Google Maps
Strolling on the market of the town
d02_46 (2013-03-27 17:22:46) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_47 (2013-03-27 17:30:25) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_48 (2013-03-27 17:42:51) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_49 (2013-03-27 18:32:27) -- show location on Google Maps
Promise, this 8 peso coffee was already served like this!
d02_50 (2013-03-27 18:36:56) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_51 (2013-03-27 18:46:16) -- show location on Google Maps
Another explanation: puska literally means gun in Hungarian.
d02_52 (2013-03-27 19:07:43) -- show location on Google Maps
Warm water is served only between 7pm and 10pm. Well, there wasn't.
d02_53 (2013-03-27 20:03:32) -- show location on Google Maps
The room what included a gross amount of 0 wall outlets. The only possibility was the common room, where below the reception desk, in a hidden security I finally found one. I put the BlackBerry to charge, then went for an evening walk.
d02_54 (2013-03-27 20:03:49) -- show location on Google Maps
The night descended
As one can imagine, Tilcara isn't a skylit city during the nights, but compared to that Purmamarca is even more peaceful, perhaps ghost-town, not too many lights, a few people on the streets or in the barely lit doors of some kioskos.
d02_55 (2013-03-27 20:36:34) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_56 (2013-03-27 21:01:47) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_57 (2013-03-27 21:17:42) -- show location on Google Maps
But it has an atmosphere: if you can catch a wind-blown, cloudy night with full moon, over the brick or clay one-storied houses, illuminated in yellowish-bluish lights.
d02_58 (2013-03-27 21:29:46) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_59 (2013-03-27 21:32:46) -- show location on Google Maps
d02_60 (2013-03-27 21:37:12) -- show location on Google Maps
When I'll be retired and the state will pay my expenses and carry me on its palm after the money I paid into the pension fund, then I'll remove the electric cable and the pillar.

Except the cable and the pillar, one of my favourite pictures from Purmamarca.
d02_61 (2013-03-27 21:51:24) -- show location on Google Maps
Back to the accommodation
Likewise in the afternoon, now still there wasn't any hot water. I ran again into the girl from the afternoon in the room, she bought things for herself on the market.

While I was packing my backpack, I overheard one of the most esoterical calls of my life so far, what the girl exercised:
... I'm here on the accommodation, grandmother. Everything is okay, the place is good, a Hungarian guy is my roommate.
I didn't hear the other side.
BUT GRANDMOTHEEEEER!! Don't worry!

I started to giggle silently in myself (probably she thought I'm hungry and will consume the grandchild), then with the laptop and the rest of the things to be charged headed to the common room, where allegedly even WiFi can be found.

I sat next to one table, WiFi obviously doesn't work, on the other hand fortunately, the whole family who run the hostel, from the young to the eldest smoke at the same time in the unopened room. I said okay, then I won't pursue the charging, because I still have energy for one more day in each equipment.

Allegedly there are more places to stay, but I found only this hostel in Purmamarca, with free bed, at the time of my visit - thinking then and now, probably I had better experience if even for more money, but I choose a hotel. So, there's no WiFi, no hot water, no charging things - but a decision, that tomorrow I'll wake up at dawn to see the Hill of the Seven Colores in the sunrise.