After another beautiful morning in Tilcara we headed to San Salvador de Jujuy to return the car and catch a bus back to Salta.
As we were filling up the gas tank on our way back I noticed a few nicks in her armor (under the layers of dirt) from our previous days adventure to Iruya. I was pretty nervous because I was almost certain they were going to stick us for something and we were already tight on funds.
So, for a little added security, we spread just a touch more dirt to the area in question and crossed our fingers.
When we arrived at the bus station back in San Salvador de Jujuy where we planned to meet, the rental manager was already waiting. We had a brief conversation about the trip and he began to inspect the car. Luckily, His natural Argentine vice for admiring women kept him from doing a solid inspection. Rocio strategically kept a conversation going with him the entire time and I don’t think he looked at the car once (except maybe to check the re-view mirror as she walked away).
I signed the forms as fast as possible and made sure I had all the copies of my credit card info and we took off! We jumped on the first bus back to Salta scott-free, feeling relieved and a little sneaky.
Back in Salta we needed to pick a new hostel stay in. Right at the station there are a bunch of hostel promoters with books of photos and information about each spot. So, we gathered them all around and I let Rocio have at ‘em - she’s cut-throat.
Happy with the photos, location and price we settled on the El Duende De La Posta Hostel and spent the rest of the afternoon just cleaning up, doing some work and relaxing from there. The place was quiet, clean and close to the action of Balcarce street.
Day 5 – On Thursday, Salta had a full day of festivities planned to celebrate the bicentennial.
We woke up early, grabbed some breakfast and headed over to one of the main plazas in town to watch theArgentina vs Korea World Cup match. Even though it was very early for most Argentines the vibe was electric. There were 3 huge screens, all the gauchos watched from atop their horses and the military even showed up and gave out free hot chocolate.
After the impressive 4-1 win we followed the crowd to the Monumento de Guemes for the start of the parade. To be honest, I could only handle about 45 minutes of it before we bailed. It was so slow and drawn out that we didn’t even make to the start. Once you’ve seen 400 gauchos, you’ve seen them all.
We dodged all the horse poop and road-side empanadas cooking stations and jumped on a public bus to San Lorenzo - A ‘suburb’ just outside the city. San Lorenzo is this beautiful village with a mix amazing old mansions, American-style suburban properties and traditional Argentine homes. We spent the afternoon in the park where there is a ton of hiking trails. Only thing that sucks is you have to pay $15 pesos to hike… stupid.
That evening “we” had only one goal. Find a place that would show game 7 of the NBA Championship. Sounds like an easy goal right? Wrong. We walked up and down Belcarce (main nightlife) and asked everybody if they’d be playing the game. You would think we asked them if they were going show porn tonight the way they responded.
Finally, the great folks at Bonnie & Clyde said they’d put it on for us so we settled in. I backed the Celtics so obviously Rocio rooted for the Lakers and by the end of the 3rd quarter we had the entire bar divided down the middle. The manager, the guy at the cash register and the entire wait staff chose sides and cheered for their new favorite team. I had one of the waiters trash talking to me in Spanish the entire second half and he had no idea who was even playing.
Although my boy Garnett and the Celts couldn’t pull it out, it was a great night. I felt good about bringing a little fun American culture to Salta. After a few rounds of high-5s, we helped stack chairs and actually closed the bar down. Rocio was happy she won and so were the rest of the adopted Lakers fans even though most of them didn’t know what the hell just happened!