Well we were in Iguazu Falls at the northern “shoe” portion of Argentina and our plan had always been to get across to Salta – before heading over into Chile and up into Peru. Salta is an amazing place – we took the boys today to go see children mummies that were sacrificed by the Inca 500 years ago and planted on the peaks of the mountains – 22,000 ft. It wasn’t a “sacrifice” as you would think of the ugly movie ones. The Children were given a drink / potion that basically knocked them out – how out no idea. But then they were planted in the ground atop these mountains at 22,000 ft. The bodies basically are frozen in time which is amazing to see – it’s not the traditional “mummy wrappinigs” that you think about – it’s basically a child in children’s clothing that has been buried sitting upright in the ground – in a sitting position. You can see their face, lips, eyes, teeth, etc. All is there.
Anyway, before we got here we were in Iguazu Falls – which is jungle. We then proceeded down to Corrientes and across in a very, very straight line to Salta. We had planned on stopping at this one town – but when we got there it was very sketchy so we decided to go all the way. It took about 10 hours total driving time, so not crazy. The road was pretty simple – but you also had horses roaming freely on the road, the occasional pig (large variety) along the road, the typical dogs, and of course road construction. We did have to suddently slow down for a herd of goats that decided to cross the road in the middle of nowhere.
We spent one night in Corrientes – which worked out well as they had parking for the car. We also ate at a very nice restaurant, the owner Bruno, was very nice to us and of course we had “Bife de Bife” – steak all around. I think we are actually getting tired of having steak these days – its so common here and cheap to have that it a regular thing.
In Salta we didn’t get a hotel room – since we didn’t know our real travel schedule, but we found a nice room at the Wilson Hotel. If you walk in and ask for a room you usually get a deal – pay cash – even better deal. We got parking for our car, two hotel rooms and breakfast for all four of us for about $115/night – pretty good for a city. The biggest thing I worry about in the Cities is the car – so having secure parking is key.
We stayed only two nights and have moved outside of the city to San Lorenzo – which is very nice and a much better place to stay. We have a very nice hotel and our room has two bedrooms, a living area and small kitchen. We’ve booked this through Friday, but then a holiday weekend is here (yet another) so we are migrating down south a bit so we can experience some of the high desert over the weekend. High desert being 12,000 feet. In Salta we didn’t do much, it was nice yesterday and we walked around and took the tram up to the top. Today it has been raining almost all day, so we are regrouping and planning a bit.
WE understand most of the post cards have made it – only takes a month to get a post card back to the USA.
Getting Money exchanged. – Ok this is really for those that ight be reading our blog and wondering aout exchanging money – blue rate vs black rate stuff. Most of the larger tourist towns we have had no problems finding more official cambio houses who will change dollars for pesos. In the smaller towns on the coast – forrget it. We have also had multiple gas stations, hotels, and restaruants not take credit cards – so you must have pesos. We typically have about $750-1000 in Argentine pesos on us – available to us when we are driving, etc. As we get closer to leaving we will try to leave with as few as possible – the exchange rate out of the country is really bad. 60% is what I saw in Montevideo.
Anyway, when you are walking down the street you always get dudes stadning there saying “cambio, cambio” who will buy dollars and sell you pesos. I did this once from one guy in Bariloche – and it was wakling down a pretty sketchy hallway to a clothing store – looking over my back the entire time. The better way is that in places like Iguazu, Salta, etc. are official “cambio” stores – glass windows – looks like a bank – at these places we have gotten the best rates and you don’t feel like you are buying drugs on the street. In Buenos Aires we ended up going in a place that was jewelry store as well as a bill payment/money transfer place. Really just look for the glass windows and go in and ask if they buy dollars. Most seem like they will. I got worse exchange prices in B.A.s than elsewhere in the country. Hundred dollar bills get you better rates than smaller bills too. The bummer is that everyone uses 100 Peso notes – at 12:1 ratio if you exchange $500, you get 6,000 pesos – 60 bills. It’s sort of funny watching Cindy pull out these wads of money to try to buy an ice cream.