A Natural Ampitheater

The wine-growing region of Cafayete is south of Salta. More spectacular mountains on the way, including this natural formation, an amphitheater:

Ampitheatre3

 Ampitheatre2

At the amphitheater, there were people selling handicrafts and making music. 

CachiView

Here’s a view of the mountains of Cachi from our hotel window.

On the way back to Salta we passed high mountains and desert terrain, sometimes with a view of an adobe house in the distance. We passed through without incident to arrive at Bishop’s Peak, the highest point, with clouds curling beneath us, and a little shrine for roadside prayers.

Bishop'sPeak

Mind you, this was deserted country! We were enjoying the spectacular views when all of a sudden, someone noticed… JJ’s car had a flat tire! When did it happen? We had not noticed anything particular during the trip over the desert, and now here we were stranded in the middle of high country nowhere. Well, JJ and Paul and Julian began to unpack the trunk to get the spare tire. JJ said that he had to find his anti-theft device. One of the lug-bolts of the tires could be looosened only with this particular anti-theft device, a precaution JJ had taken after many years’ residence in South America. (Once in a parked truck someone had stolen all four of his tires.)

Well, he looked here and he looked there and we looked everywhere. “It’s the darnedest thing, I KNOW I put it in the glove compartment!” But a thorough search of the glove compartment, trunk, floor of the car, and other areas failed to turn up this magic device. The wind was fierce. I had visions of being stranded for hours on this deserted windy mountain.

Some other people drove up, and some Good Samaritans stopped to help us. There were actually two different men. They had the idea of breaking the lug-bolt. Honestly, they worked for an hour: one of them brought a tool box out of his car, they took turns working. But nothing seemed to be working. I said a quick Hail Mary and within seconds the second gentleman exclaimed- “it’s done!” or “Hola!” Success!

As a tribute to spiritual power or to Argentinian persistence, I don’t know- but how grateful we were to resume the trip home!

Cathedral and Procession

Here is a snapshot of the Cathedral in the main plaza of Salta:

Catedral

 

Statue of the Virgin:

Catedralinside

 

Tomorrow (Sept 15) there is an enormous procession in honor of the Virgin. According to JJ,  on Sept. 15 in the year 16–(?) there was an earthquake which levelled a town in the province of Salta. After that, the people in the province vowed to hold a festival every year in honor of the Virgin. Here are some preliminary preparations:

Procession1

Procession2

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We will have to miss the festivities, as we are going on an excursion tomorrow.

Finally, a beautiful small country church we saw yesterday:

OldChurch

Armadillo

An enormous armadillo – on the road to a nearby village. It stands in the middle of a traffic circle.

TheArmadillo

Trash Disposal …and Dogs

People dispose of small plastic bags of trash in these upright disposal bins made of grillwork, some of which are quite elegant. No doubt, Argentineans dispose of a fraction of the trash of the average North American. On the other hand, I would not want to give the impression that the roads and neaby fields are free of litter. They are not, and it is becoming a growing problem.

Here’s a trash bin attached to a tree:

TrashThing1

In the next picture, the obligatory dog is barking at me while I’m snapping the picture. Everyone has dogs, and sometimes four or five of them. Most of the dogs run around free, without collars – and I have seldom seen any of them on a leash. Although dogs bark from their owners’ property when folks walk by, I have never experienced the slightest unpleasantness from free-roaming canines. In Salta, about 12 miles away, they are everywhere, running around in the endless dog business, investigating trash sites, and sleeping in obvious places, like right in front of the bank or the market. Salta is a city of nearly a million people, and it probably has as many dogs – if not more.

SanLorenzoHouse

Finally, one more trash bin. It shows up well against the wall.

Trashthing2

In Salta, late at night,  you often see men collecting trash bags with a horse-drawn cart.

San Lorenzo Architecture – A Small Sample

SlHouse3I snapped a few pictures of some of the houses near the Castillo, within walking distance.

Slhouse4

SLhouse5

Here’s another small castle – it appears not be inhabited. There is a curious row of blue tiles above the front upper window.

SLhouse6

Notice the rockiness of the ground – and how dry and dusty it is.

SLHouse2

Julian’s Day Job

JuliansDayJob

Actually, Julian plays every Sunday for the brunch – jazz standards, blues, and popular piano bar music. He performed for a dinner of Pfizer employees last week and will play next Saturday for a wedding. Here, he is shown relaxing in a bamboo hammock. We were visiting a friend of JJ’s.

Here’s are some pictures of the friend’s kitchen:

Marcello'sInside

An artist painted the hood over the stove. Figure, with armadillo on horseback.

Marcellosinside2

Fireplace, with hanging chair.