Saturday, November 8, 2008

Argentina 1

I recently spent a 2 week vacation traveling Northwest Argentina with my friend and fellow Peace Corps volunteer Brandon Kobashigawa. It was a fast paced and exciting time in which I saw and did hundreds of new things, and made a few foreign friends along the way. In the next few posts here I will put down some of my experiences and a few photos to go along.

Tafi del Valle
Amaicha del Valle

Formosa was only a place to switch busses on our way from Asuncion to Tucuman, and back from Salta to Asuncion so I won't say much about it other than that they have a nice but terminal.

Tucuman is a large city of about half a million people. When not sleeping in the filthy but cheap Hotel Florida, we walked around the central area and explored the shops and restaurants. I ate my first baked potato since leaving home, it was a sign of the great food to come.

My best memory of Tucuman is one evening when we were looking for a place to drink terere. We sat down on a bench near an outdoor restaurant seating area. Almost at the same moment, a man walked up to the bench across from us and pulled out a red trumpet. He played for us (and the outdoor diners) for about 20 minutes, including some decent Louis Armstrong classics. I think I saw just about everybody there give him a few pesos for his performance.

There is an amazing restaurant in Tucuman called El Portal. Near the plaza. The owner is a friendly (and beautiful) older woman who speaks British English and will have plenty of suggestions on where to go and what to do in this part of the country. She also treated us to a free lunch on our final day in the city. They serve a great regional dish called humita. Humita is, as far as I can tell, made from fresh corn, cheese, and spices. A treat for vegetarians in an otherwise big meat eating country.

The day before we left Tucuman we met some European travelers, Sara from Spain and Carlo from Italy. We were all traveling in the same direction so we decided to meet up the next day in the next city, Tafi del Valle.

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