Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cachí, Argentina

On the way from Salta to Cachí. Salta, Argentina is the base camp for many tours. It lies near the foothills of the Andes mountains, and you can choose from any number of day trips that lead to outlying towns. One that I chose was to Cachí (1673), a small town a few hours away, up in the mountains (just under 2,300 meters).

I was the first one picked up in the large van at about 7:15 A.M. We made only one other stop and that was to a large hotel in the town center. The guide told me we would be picking up a bunch of old ladies. We A field of cacti.had to wait about 10 minutes for them. As they began strolling out, I just knew I was in for a really boring day.

It took a few hours to arrive at Cachí and we stopped at a few key spots along the way, including a place where a local lady had a baby goat for the tourists to hold and be photographed with, and another where there were thousands of cacti stretching out across the desert.

We stopped for a couple nature breaks on the way up, including a nice lunch, where I ate goat meat—a first for me. Rafael, our tour guide (This was the first tour where he Our tour group.did all the talking. His mentor, however, came along for the ride, just in case of emergency, before setting Rafael loose on his own.), sat at the table with me and we had a very nice chat. He previously taught phonetics so we had a very interesting conversation about language.

We stayed in Cachí for a couple hours, free to wander around. There's the typical plaza, a nice museum with many artifacts gathered from the local area (Museo Arqueológico "Pío Pablo Díaz" Archaeological Museum), and a church. Rafael and I continued our time together while in Cachí. During lunch, he had told me how he calls his buddies "negro" (just a bit of local slang, I guess). When he talks to his American friends, he calls My lunch—goat meat.them "nigger," his English equivalent of negro. He had been to this town a few times before on previous tours. As we headed in the direction of the church, I asked him if he'd gone into it before. His reply was, "I'm not a Catholic, nigger. I'm a Mormon!" That totally cracked me up.

On the way back down, the mentor guide began to sing. It must have been a song by some Latin heartthrob (Luis Miguel?), because the ladies began to howl. Before long, they were all singing. This continued for the next hour. Dirty jokes were interspersed between the songs. Pretty fun group for a bunch of old fuddy-duddies. Still working on not making assumptions about people.

The museum in Cachí. The church in Cachí. The church in Cachí. The pulpit—lots of things in this region are made of this wood, from the Cardón cactus. On the way back to Salta from Cachí, in the foothills of the Andes.

5 comments:

Cheryl Mingo said...

Ok Jay, so I asked you 9 days ago when you were leaving Salta and you said the next day or so??? You're still there? Must be those tours with old ladies that have you stuck huh? :) Looks like you'll be making Nicaragua some time next year. Love your pictures.

Jay said...

Cheryl,

I left Salta, went to Iguazu Falls, Posadas, Trinidad, Paraguay, Oberá, Corrientes, and now am back in Salta to get my visa for Bolivia. I didn't know that I needed a visa for Paraguay, so I decided the ruins would have to do for now. I'm not that motivated to go to Paraguay (beyond the ruins, which were nice). I'll be blogging and posting about the past 8 days over the next day or so. Keep your eyes peeled.

South America Blogger said...

Some great tips on this site of yours... if you're heading North from Salta I'd really recommend Iruya - I recently got back from there - here's some tips if you're interested:

Iruya Travel Tips

Cheryl Mingo said...

Alright Jay, I'll be waiting. Have fun!

Jay said...

Thanks for the travel tips, Chris. I added a link to your site on my home page.