May 06, 2009

From steak to fried chicken

Our last few days in Argentina were spent mooching around our hostel in Salta. The Wedding Singer, Blood Diamond and Die Hard 4.0 were all watched – along with daily doses of Friends – the internet was surfed and sleep-ins were enjoyed. All great ways to bide our time until Wednesday, when the train from the Bolivian/Argentinian border ran to our next destination: Tupiza.

I'm embarrassed to say that we did so little in Salta, that I almost wasn't even going to mention it on the blog. We rationalised our laziness by telling ourselves we were resting up before we embarked on a gruelling four-day, three-night 4WD circuit of the Bolivian 'outback'. The drizzly, overcast weather also made for the perfect excuse for our excess couchsitting – yes, our blog title is becoming more and more redundant by the day.

We did, on occasion, make it out of our hostel. There was a walk around the pretty city centre, a trip to a museum where you can look at the three dead bodies from the Inca times that were preserved perfectly in ice in some nearby mountains, and a trip up a cable car to enjoy some views of the city we were too lazy to explore.

The couch in Salta was also where we met English couple Hannah and Richard. Once we had determined they were normal, we quickly recruited them to do the 4WD tour with us in Bolivia – they were going to go to Chile and do it from there, but we had read that the best place to do it was from Tupiza in Bolivia. Most travellers do it from Uyuni, but with over 80 dodgy companies offering tours with crap food and drunk drivers, we wanted to go with an exxier-but-reputable company from Tupiza.

After an overnight bus, some stamps at immigration, a stop at an ATM, an eight-and-a-half-hour wait at the train station and a three-hour train ride, we had gone from the steak-devouring nation of Argentina to the fried-chicken-loving land of Bolivia.
The best thing about Bolivia? The prices. In Tupiza, we stayed in our own private room with en suite and cable TV for $AU5 each, we enjoyed fried chicken and chips for $AU2.20 and ate a three-course lunch for a mere $AU2.80 each – when they told us the price, all we could do was laugh!

We were only in Tupiza for one day before we began our 4WD tour, we spent that day living it up – an empanada for 20 cents here, jelly and cream for 50c there – and quickly fell in love with the Paris Hilton-esque lifestyle we could afford in Bolivia.

COMING UP: Stay tuned for our awesome four-day tour through the Bolivian desert and salt flats...