Man I�m bored.
I�m so sick of being sick!!! I�m trying so hard to not do anything so that I can recover in time for the weekend, but now it�s friday and I�m still sick as a dog! Bollox! And I know I�ll probably end up having a couple of beers tonight and then be even more sick tomorrow... anyway, enough moaning, let me try to continue from where I left off last post....
So we arrived in San Juan and checked into a rather dubious looking hotel with an excess of mirrors in the otherwise dingy foyer. The young guy on reception as very helpful tho, and eventually we found a suitable room and I set about my ninja style mosquito extermination routine. The next day we headed into town to try and find a bit of breakfast, but the whole city seemed to be deserted. It felt like some wierd zombie movie. This feeling became even stronger when we started walking down one street and heard music playing, seeminly to no one. I tried to pinpoint the source of the music and eventually found a strange object coming out of the ground under one of the trees set into the pedestrian walkway. It looked like a chimney from the roof of a gypsy trailer.. you know the ones with the uptuned dish on top to keep the rain out and the grills around the sides to let the smoke out but stop the animals coming in.... So I figured it must be a vent for an underground garage or something where they were playing music while they worked. The we walked on for about 10 metres and realized that every flowerbed had one of these strange chimneys and each was blasting music at the same volume. W soon figured out that they were actually weatherproof outdoor speakers, that seemed to play music to the street regardless of whether or not anyone was there to listen! Cool huh?
We soon figured out that everything was closed becasue it was sunday, and after hours of wndering the streets we eventually found the whole population of the town in .... no, not church.... the park!! So we joined the masses and plonked ourselves down for some cheese and crackers. Pretty soon very plainly dressed but very cute girls came over to make sure I loved Jesus. After I explained to them that me and J went way back, they decided to bring the rest of their god bothering posse over to have a look at us. I drew the line at reciting a rather long prayer with them and they left promising to prey for my soul all the same. It�s good to know someone is!
Later that evening we made a decision of where to go and decided tht we�d better call ahead and find out if there was a room and if we could visit the national parks we wanted from there. Being as my spanish was marginally less useless than Nicole�s, I was nominated to do the talking. The phone was answered by a man called Antonio, who proceeded to talk gibberish.. I mean spanish.. to me at an astonishing speed. I somehow manged to tell him we wanted a room and that our bus would arrive at 11pm. Then he started saying something about searching... did he mean we should search for him? or that he would search for us? or maybe that he couldn�t pick us up as he was involved in a nationwide search for the presidents missing spaniel? I obviously wasn�t meant to know, as the money ran out just as I was asking him to repeat it one more time, and we had no more change. We decided it would probably be alright anyway, and jumped on the bus.
We drove thru desert and scrubland for quite some time before finally arriving in St Augustine 4 hours later. Anotnio was there to meet us after all, and he drove us back to our new home and made us dinner... awwwww. The next day we got up early and set off on a day trip to the valle de Luna (vally of the moon) with Antonio and manuel (one of his relations). The Valle de Luna was really spectacular. It�s a bit hard to describe it without making it sound like a bunch of rocks, which is essentially what it is, so I won�t bother. After arriving back in the evening we headed into "town" to try and find some info. Once again everything was closed. It�s amazing, but everything is almost always closed in that area. Apparantly it was closed today because it was a monday, and their weekends seem to change on a rotor system of ome kind! When you look at the calender, the red squares marking the weekend dont always fall on the sat and sun, sometimes they come on modays, sometimes just randomly scattered about. It�s most confusing. Add to this the fact that everything shuts for siesta from about 11am to about 6pm and it makes finding open shops a bit tricky.
We did however find a man behind a table in an empty room, which according to the sign outside was the tourist information centre. He didn�t speak any english, but through a combination of bad spanish and sign language we managed to discover that all our plans involving buses were completely useless as there were only 2 buses a week and they left at 3am. We decided to go and ask antonio if he fancied taking us to the second national park, Talampaya, the next day. Of course he did, as we were paying far to much for the service, and he said that although he didn�t actually have a car (the previous one was not his and had been taken) he would find one before the morning, no problemo.
We got up in the morning and saw manuel in the drive wiping down a vintage Peugeot that must have been a classic car for sure. It had the tail lights on fins, fins over the headlights, chrome hub caps.. the works. It wasn�t however in the best condition, especially for driving down a dirt road into the middle of the desert. We got in anyway and were almost choked immediately by the petrol and exhaust fumes. After a few scary moments parked by the side of the road with the hood up and almost continuous backfiring, we eventually arrived at the talampaya national park. As we drove up to the park we saw 2 ppl hiding in the shade of a small shrub at the side of the road. One of them jumped out and started waving her arms. They turned out to be Cecillia and Ben, and argentine girl and an american boy, who had been dropped at the main road and had decided to walk the final 13k�s to the park in the baking midday sun along an infinitely straight road thru the desert! They�d got about 3 k�s before they decided to hide under the shrub...
After a few more hours of waiting at the ranger�s station, we eventually headed into the park. It was awesome. Just like the arizona you see in the movies... huge towering red cliffs and massive tottering red pillars of rock that seem to defy gravity. We were the only people there and it was really something.
I discovered that Cecillia and Ben were driving to Cordoba the next day with Cecillias boss, and I asked for a lift, and got one, which is why i am now in Cordoba bitching about my flu and wishing I could go out drinking. Oh well, maybe a bit of the fizzy yellow medicine will make me feel better....