Saturday, March 26, 2011

Argentina Part 3: Jolley Good Wong Graber

[The boys horsing around in Iruya]

After a few days, our volunteer coordinator Courtney Wong joined us in Cordoba to form Team Jolley Good Wong Graber. Me, Kevin Good, Zach Graber, and Courtney Wong. And yes, the name was my idea. How sad would it have been if we had had someone with a normal name. I think that may be a new travel guideline: Must have fun name.

Team Good Graber when to the Salta region on Saturday, while team Jolley Wong stayed a bit longer in Cordoba, since Courtney arrived a little late.

After riding in the coldest bus on the planet, Courtney and I arrived in Salta and caught a bus to Humahuaca to meet up with the boys. Or so we thought. After receiving some of the most incomprehensible text speak messages from Kevin we finally realized they were in Iruya, a town 4 hours farther north of Humahuaca. Unfortunately by the time we arrived, there were no more buses to Iruya until the next morning. Fortunately Humahuaca is a lovely little town.


I was struck by the fact I could understand people’s Spanish again! It was also amazing at how nice everyone way. People in Cordoba were not particularly friendly, but here everyone said hello to us on the street, locals and tourists alike. Everyone was so pleasant.


Courtney and I caught the 8:30 am bus to Iruya the next morning. I realized as I got onto the bus I had left my travel blanket back at the hostel and asked the driver if I had enough time to go and get it. At first he said no, but a few minutes later he indicated I could go get it if I hurried. I heard a collective groan from the other passengers to which I gave them a mental ‘fuck all yall, I want my blanket’. I ran 2 blocks to the hostel, found the blanket, and was back in less than 5 minutes. The bus attendant hadn’t even started checking peoples’ tickets yet. So there.


Through our deciphering of Kevin’s texts, we gathered that he and Zach though Iruya was one of the most beautiful places they had seen. At first I was skeptical; the geography strongly resembled Big Bend Park in. However slowly but surely I saw what they saw. As we came closer and closer to Iruya, an astoundingly beautiful, cloud covered valley. Honestly, that view alone was worth the 8 hours of travel.

[Jolley Good Wong Graber in Iruya]

We arrived in Iruya and Team Jolley Good Wong Graber was reunited. I got off the bus and immediately noticed the boys had gotten quite a bit of sun since we left them in Cordoba. Courtney noticed as well. It must have triggered our motherly side because we couldn’t help but asking if they had been wearing sunscreen, did they have sunscreen, did they want to borrow sunscreen. They didn’t seem to believe us that they had gotten quite so sun kissed, but I assure you the Paraguayans will comment when they go home.

[The gals horsing around Iruya]

We only spent a few hours with the boys before they caught a bus back to Salta. Courtney and I did some exploring, though not much hiking. The altitude was getting to me and I'm out of shape for vertical walking. Give me a flat road and I'll walk all day, put a bit of an incline and I'm a goner. That evening we cooked up some tasty stir-fry, chatted with the owners of the hostel, and marveled at the clouds rolling into the valley.


The next morning we resolved to get up early and go for a hike, but the valley was still enveloped in a snuggie of fog. We abandoned those plans and slept in. I did a bit more walking around the next day as we waited for bus back to Humahuaca and then Purmamarca for the night. As we left Iruya, a storm rolled in from the south and the bus with hit by a short hail storm. Thankfully things cleared up for the rest of the day.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Every time I read the title of this post I laugh!