Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

September 23, 2010

Finally Get To Salta

Filed under: South America — Tags: , — steve_happ @ 10:36 pm

It’s a long way to Salta

I finally made it to Salta in North-west Argentina. I made a massive misculation on the buses and it was a 2 day bus ride and not one. I should have stopped in Mendoza for a night and broken the journey up into two stages. I misread the times on the schedules and thought I would be there the next morning. The first night I was freaking out because we were in Neuquen and it was like 2 in the morning and I am thinking I am going to miss my 11pm bus from Mendoza. I cannot believe the number of bus terminals I have been to in the past two days. They are just a blur. You even have to pay to go the toilets at the terminals. You give the attendant 50 centavos and they give you this great chunk of toilet paper. In one toilet they put kerosene in the piss troughs. That was a nice smell. Although it is a bit of a toss-up between the smell of stale urine and kerosene.

Salta, North-west Argentina

Ha ha that digression was funny. How very rude! I ended up in Mendoza the next morning and only had a two hour wait in the terminal for the next overnight bus. I spent the time at a cafe using their Wi-Fi and trying to rearrange all my hostel bookings. The country really changed north of Mendoza around near La Rioja. It is very dry and desert-like. It reminds me of the Australian outback, similar to the Wimmera or Mallee country. There are low bushes and very stumpy trees and they stretch for miles and miles. I would hate to get lost in that country. It seems very harsh and unforgiving. We had some rain during the night Catamarca way and today it is overcast and quite muggy.

I got a taxi to the Hostel La Salamanca and it only cost 5 pesos. Its only about three or four blocks from the bus terminal. As soon as I checked in I hit the sack for a snooze. A shower was even better and then I went for a walk to Centro. North-west Argentina is heaps different from Patagonia. I think I am starting to see the real South America. Patagonia and Buenos Aires are so European. Salta Centro is very busy with heaps of shops. I strayed into a market and got accosted by hawkers wanting me to buy some of their stuff. I was not used to that. I must learn how to deal with that sort of thing again.

I was hearing a few birds from my window so I got out the camera and took some photos of some swallows wheeling about over-head. I do not know what sort they are yet. I have to look on the internet to get an identification. They look pretty similar to our Australian swallows, but. Blasted WiFi keeps cutting out on me. Will have to do it later. I finally got some internet connection and it seems to be a Blue-and white Swallow which has a Spanish name of Golondrina Barranquera.

Blue-and-white Swallow
Blue-and-white Swallow (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)

I went for a walk in the park and saw heaps of sparrows, and then heard a Great Kiskadee and tracked him down. I had been hearing one all the time in my room but I had failed to connect the dots. A Southern Crested Caracara flew past and landed in a tree. I think I had seen him earlier wheeling overhead. There were heaps of raptors on the road on the buses the last hop – mainly Chimangos, Andean Condors and probably American Kestrels. I even saw a caracara by the road.

After a walk around the park, I went for a ride on a gondola up a mountain. I was hoping to see some birds up there, but the bush had been burnt out and was looking really sparse. Anyway, I was too tired to enjoy being a tourist and just went through the motions. There is a photo of the city I took from the gondola up the page somewhere.

Salta bird list

Great Kiskadee
House Sparrow
Southern Crested Caracara
Blue-and-white Swallow
Eared Dove

1 Comment »

  1. I am liking your travel tales a lot!

    Comment by adam — September 28, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

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