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      I'd been to Argentina before and wasn't so crazy about it, but I am glad I returned as I have a new appreciation for it. For the country, I mean, as the Argentine travelers are another story, but that's for another section. After three months in Brazil it was startling to see new things like homemade pasta everywhere, good bakeries, and hear the bewildering Argentine Spanish, which is nonetheless still more understandable for me than Chilean Spanish.
      The following eight photos are from Foz de Iguazu, a sublime waterfall that straddles the Argentina-Brazil border. "Waterfall" implies one waterfall or one place you stand and see the chain of waterfalls, but that is impossible here as it is enormous, the largest in the world. Despite it being 17-24 hours by bus from Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo or Rio, lots of people come here. It's worth it.

      These two pix are from Puerto Iguazu town. Look at the colors in the clouds! Amazing. This monument is from the point where the river brings the three countries together. Duh! I really should be a professional caption writer.

      Jujuy, Argentina in front of the Bolivian consulate. If you try to get a Bolivian visa in USA, you can just about forget it. I tried to get it in Asuncion, Paraguay, which somehow was even more difficult. In fact, I was turned away at the embassy for wearing shorts. Then when I called I was asked for my email because the lady claimed that the list of requirements was too long to tell on the phone.
      She was right, but then I got smart about it and did some research and called around. There is no one single policy for Bolivian visas down here, just like Brazil. (Generally, the closer you are to the country, the better it gets.) The best deal I got was here in Jujuy in northern Argentina: $100 and proof of yellow fever vaccination and a phony document I made about having an onward ticket.
      What brings a smile to my face now when I look at the photo of my passport was when the consular officer was poised to put the sticker in my passport, I swear it took him a full 60 seconds of hovering over the passport, not sure where the best place to stick it was. It was so fraught with tension that I couldn't help but want to laugh, and my suppressing it caused some consternation.

Downtown Jujuy

Tilcara's swimming pool

      Hitchhiking To Purmamarca from Tilcara. This might be my favorite thing about Argentina--and Chile, for that matter, too: there is a culture of hitchhiking. Even this grizzled old-timer picked me up.

      This is the view looking back towards Purmamarca and then over the pass is the Salinas Grandes, salt flats. They looked huge to me, but that was before I went to Bolivia.

      They still harvest salt here. Is there a worse place for sun exposure than a salt flat, at a crazy altitude (about 3300 meters/10,000 feet)? I think not. The sun reflects from the vast whiteness, so you are getting it from above and below. My skin was literally sizzling. There is no place to hide.

      Purmamarca and then the road back to Tilcara. The colors in the mountains are fantastic. My camera doesn't do it justice.

Rhodesia chocolate bar
      This is a photo of myself in Susques, the last town before the Paso de Jama and the Chilean border. There is absolutely nothing between Susques and San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. It's 289km of pure bleakness and wild, savage, vegetation-less beauty. I wondered about the wisdom of hitchhiking, but I tried anyway and was successful. Then again, how can someone pass this face?

      This is a typical photo of the way to Chile. At the border (4400 meters/14.500 feet) I was refused entry until I found a driver willing to take me. Traffic was extremely thin on the ground, but miraculously an Austrian couple materialized out of thin air (literally!) and took me. Our car died just before the peak of the pass, but we took out the air filter, let it rest a while, and we eventually made it.

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