The fourth and final week on the ranch was of course amazing. It was an odd week as far as the weather was concerned- being really hot some days and rainy others, but aside from that nothing too crazy happened. We rode everyday and managed to find a few dozen more cattle. The several hundred cows that had already been rounded up were finished being vaccinated then kicked out into the wild again because all the pasture around the place has been eaten up over the last month. Now, the gauchos will continue to search for new cows and any that are found without a freshly trimmed tail will need to get their vaccinations out in the field. I can only imagine the difficulty of not only finding the few remaining cattle, but then getting them roped and tied down while someone has to ride miles back to the ranch house for the shots.
After getting back to town I spent the weekend in Chicoana arranging my travel plans for the next two weeks. I went to Salta city Friday night and did a little dancing at a club there. It’s a little shocking going from no electricity at all to loud music and lights galore. Saturday we had a big asado BBQ at the hosteria and I got to hang out with my friends there one last time. Monday morning I took a bus about three and a half hours west to Cafayate. It is a town of a few thousand and is known for it’s wine production. There are a dozen or so wineries around town and I toured one of them with a couple I met at the hostel. The Nanni is the only organic winery in Cafayate and they have some amazing wines. The best part of it is that because we were at the source, I was able to buy a bottle of delicious, handcrafted, organic Malbec for 32 pesos- about $7.25! I googled it and the same bottle sells for $47.00 in the US! I instantly realized that backpacking around for two more weeks has one serious downfall- I can’t haul around a whole case of wine! Dang, well I guess the one bottle will have to do for now.
I had a great but WAY too short stay in Cafayate but had to leave this morning. In Argentina they have a sort of Taxi service that specializes in long trips- you simply wait around the main plaza of town and find a car going to a city of your liking. When you gather enough people to fill the car, you leave. I was lucky in that I only had to wait for about ten minutes to gather enough people to fill the car. I was unlucky in that one of the 4 other passengers was a little girl who apparently has a little problem with getting car sick. Yep, this little screaming vomit rocket miraculously produced a near constant flow of projectile at Exorcist level mass and velocity for two solid hours. At one point I looked for the tube that would prove my suspicion that she was actually connected to an auxiliary barf reservoir.
Once in Salta I jumped directly on the bus for my 18 hour ride south to Mendoza. I know it sounds awful, and I’d love to be able to tell a rugged travel story about how I rode sitting on a wooden crate in a rickety steel boxcar while murderous, tattoo covered gypsies held cock fights for hand rolled cigarettes and daggers, but unfortunately it was much less adventuresome. The charter busses here are luxurious. The recliners look like something you’d sit in to watch the superbowl, not travel cross country. I am almost to Mendoza but have been served three meals, half a bottle of good wine, watched a couple movies in English and I am currently blogging via the on board Wi-Fi connection. Like I said, not very adventurous but then again the girl across the isle from me has a dolphin tat on her ankle so it’s pretty much the same I guess.
Sorry but no photos this post- I will have to interject them later once I find an Internet cafe to download pics from my camera. Also, just so you know, finding Internet connections here is actually fairly difficult, as is typing 1000 word posts on my iPhone (talk about thumb cramps), and waiting literally hours while my pics upload to the Internet. It’s completely worth it though knowing that people back home are reading the blog, so thanks for reading! And please write a comment back- I love hearing them and I guarantee it won’t take nearly as much effort as it did for me to bring you the post