Wow, it has been a shock. Between the weather being 85 degrees and sunny, prices being so high that I am having trouble spending money, and the talking speed of Argentines, it`s been a change. It definitely feels like summer here. It`s hot, but not too hot. You can walk around without sweating too much. During the days this weekend, there is hardly anyone in the street. At night when the weather is perfect, there are people everywhere, including the packed plaza.
Like I said before, prices are sky high versus the prices in Peru and Bolivia. A good deal for a lunch is $5 or $6, while in Bolivia I was paying $2 at the most for a 2 course meal. I just bought another bus ticket to go to Cordoba, and I paid $75 for the 12 hour journey. My hostel with a shared room was about $12, while I was getting my own room for $4 or so in Bolivia. It´s a shock to the wallet, and for the first time in 4 months I am having to worry about money!
Right away when I got to Salta, I found my hostel and met 4 Argentines that were in my same room. I spent most of the day with them exploring the city, going to the close mountain/big hill for some good views and a coffee, and then finally going to a Peña. I didn`t know what a Peña was until last night, but it`s pretty much a typical live show or music at a local bar. Apparantly, they are different in different regions, but here in Salta it was a lot of music and dances from people in typical clothes. We ended up at a place that had several different rooms and also an outside garden. Pretty much anyone could bring their instruments into an open room and start playing. Some of the rooms were packed, and some were pretty empty. The music is very similar to Bolivian music, so it reduced some of the culture shock for me. It was a really cool atmosphere. Never was there a stage, usually just people sitting around a table playing music. Cool experience to be at a peña with 4 Argentines on my first night in Argentina.
One big problem with being in Argentina, they speak way too fast. I thought I was starting to get Spanish my last days in Bolivia, because I was understanding most things. But now, in Argentina, I can barely understand anything. They speak extremely fast with a closed mouth. With the people I met, I had a very tough time communicating. Luckily they were somewhat patient with it.
So today I have bought a bus ticket to go to Cordoba. I have changed my plans slightly. I have decided not to go to Iguazu Falls because it is a 24 hour bus journey there, and then 24 hours to Cordoba. It would also cost me an extra $200 in bus tickets to be able to go there. Instead, I will go directly to Cordoba, then to Buenos Aires, jump in Uruguay for a day or two, and then take a flight to Ushuaia, the very south tip of Argentina, and the city furthest south in the world. The flight is about $50 more than the bus ticket, but the flight is 4 hours compared to the 38 hour bus ride. I thought the saving 2 days was worth the $50 and the hastle of being in a bus that long. From Ushuaia, I will hopefully jump on a tour of Antarctica for 2 weeks. That`s the plan for now, but as always is subject to change!