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Time Dilation on a Bus to Salta

Posted by on August 25, 2010

As with the last two posts, I’m back-dating to catch-up. Please maintain calm and keep a July calendar at hand to ease the transition.

In Argentina, and indeed other South American countries, there are five classes of bus. Class one and two you don’t usually want to know about (the difference being individual seats on class two!) with semi-cama being class three. Semi-cama gives you seats which recline to a 45 degree angle (cama being bed) and you get served food on board, and there’s often a tv screen as well. We got seats down the back, and it was looking pretty good. Almost nighttime, and Salta tomorrow.

TWENTY-FIVE hours after starting the 18-19 hour bus trip, we stepped off the bus, sore, tired, and mildly cranky. But we were now in Salta, our stepping stone to Bolivia. We looked at buses to Quiaca, the half-town on the border of Argentina, with its other half – Villazón in Bolivia. They were the next day, and so after a chat with a friendly hostel advertiser, were driven to Sol Huasi. Fairly cheap and included breakfast. Nice. After a chat to the guy running it, he recommended what would be our last Argentinian meal – and naturally it involved steak.

It occured to us at this point that the Atacama desert was only just over those mountain things (some call them the mighty Andes). A look at Blair’s giant map showed that Calama, a town in Chile, also had a windy road going from it into Bolivia. And if we went there, hey, we’d see the mighty Atacama desert. A quick walk to the bus station, during which we decided Salta was a really nice town and we wouldn’t mind staying a few days, we found there was a bus leaving for Calama at seven the next morning. Sigh. We bought tickets and went to the steak restaurant. We got three different types, and I’ve never seen so much meat. I enjoy my meat, and there was a giant slab filling my plate, with a secondary plate as well. No salad or anything, just solid steak. I ate one plateful, and made a start on the second and had to give up. I mention this small anecdote to emphasise what we found with the bill. Turned out I’d managed to order a half-portion. I’d stuffed myself, and only eaten just over half of a half-portion! I love this country’s approach to dinner!

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