Monday, 23 April 2007

Stranded in the Puna!

From Cachi we headed to Salta the regional city established by the Spanish. The same driver and tired old car offered to take us to Salta for a similar price as the bus. We stupidly accepted, thinking that again we could stop as we liked on this reported scenic road. We certainly stopped! Within half an hour, ajacent to the Cardonnes National Park, steam and black smoke billowed. We were pretty well stuck. The driver thought he could make it to salta, but we felt it was time to give up on French engines, and opted not to continue and see if we could hitch.

For three hours in the hot sun we waited on a lift. Very little traffic passed us. Most vehicles were already full. I sat and read my novel, occasionally joking as to who would eat who first if we became hungry.

We were rescued by an electrician heading back to Salta in a very smart 4wd pickup.

Leaving the flat puna we reached the 3000m pass to drop down to Salta. From the pass the view was quite something. We were above the clouds, looging down on sharp, red peaks. We corkscrewed down the road at quite a pace, passing our rather forlorn looking driver who seemed totally stuck. We were dropped off at the bus station in Salta, had a quite lunch and jumped on the next bus north to our next destination, Purmamarca.

It was getting dark as the bus dropped us off at the main road junction for Purmamarca. We had just 2km to walk to the village.

After settling into to our 1.5UKP a night rooms, we went in search of food. Music was playing in one place so this was the one where we headed. Given I was the omly foreign soul, I was forced to pick up the microphone for a Queen and Beatles rendition. Poor souls having to suffer me mumbling through two songs!