Putting Yourself Out There

Have you ever stumbled across something and thought to ourself “Wow! That is incredible!” or “What an amazing opportunity!” or “I wish I could do that!”

Man, I have. I have watched these opportunities come and go. One recently came my way by an old friend – who said something to the extent of – “you’re already doing this – you can do this.”

Now, I have to hand it to Jauntaroo – this is an incredible marketing strategy – but their call for submissions for “The Worlds Greatest Job” was too enticing for me NOT to try.

What is this job?  To be Chief World Traveler for Jauntaroo. You get $100,000 and you get to travel for a year representing Jauntaroo. Does it get better than that?! It does! You aren’t just traveling, doing amazing things, but you are also going to be doing volunteer work in each destination.

HELLO DREAM JOB!

This would be so INCREDIBLE. I can barely find the words to describe how much I want this. SO here comes the shameless self promotion:

I need your help! I have until the 15th of Sept to get enough votes to get me into the top 50. Once the top 50 are compiled they will then chose 5 people. Out of the 5 they will choose a winner. So please follow the link

http://www.bestjobaroundtheworld.com/submissions/view/13624

Or click HERE watch my video, “Like” it, and maybe share it amongst your friends? You can like it once every day and I ask that you do.

Why not try to do something AMAZING?!

Thank you, thank you, thank youImage

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A Little Late But Not Forgotten

Now that I have caught you up I need to backtrack a little. I am not sure if you can recall but I had gone on a trip to the north with some girlfriends back in June dubbed the “Salta, It’s Natural” tour.

In my last post on the topic I left off when we arrived at Purmamarca

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We took our time watching the sun set on the Cerro de los Siete Colores before we began our journey of trying to find a place to shower, drop our things, and fill our bellies. Because we arrived during the low season a lot lot of places were closed but we were still able to find an affordable hostel and a restaurant with live music. While the north is known for its cazuelas (stew), tamales, and locro – you will also find a lot of llama featured on the menus.

LAMAS!!!

LlAMAS!!!

So, naturally, I had to try some.

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It was. . . dry jajaja.

It was so cold and Purmamarca doesn’t offer much in regards to nightlife so we called it a night. The nice thing about traveling during low season is there wasn’t a shortage of beds and, though it was freezing, there were plenty of blankets to go around. The next day the desert embraced us with perfect weather to explore the bazaar in the plaza.

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Purmarmca was really refreshing for me. It was nice to leave the Eurocentric Buenos Aires and get a taste of indigenous Argentino culture. I found that so much of the north reminded me of my roots and New Mexico – the use of adobe, tamales, the colors the music. It is only natural to look for the familiar in the unfamiliar, and of course it was not the same, but it was comforting and familiar.

* All images courtesy of Eva Pederson

Jams to Make Her Dance

I know I have been absent the past couple of weeks. But, my life has been crazy hectic recently. It is despedida (farewell) season here – so my nights have been filled with goodbye dinners and drinks/spanish class – homework/ and a few other side projects.

Gah! All right, I’m aware that I have the rest of the road trip north to cover, and cover I will, but first here are a few of the songs that made up our “Salta, It’s Natural” playlist 😉

You should probably learn every song, and then sing along as loud as you can, while dancing like it’s nobody’s business!

Enjoy!

1) LION BABE – Treat Me Like Fire

2) Nene Malo – Como Me Gusta la Noche

3) Los Abuelos de la Nada – Mil Horas

4)Unknown Mortal Orchestra – So Good At Being In Trouble

5) Destiny’s Child – Say My Name (Cyril Hahn Remix)

6) Los Autenticos Decadentes -Besandote

7) Klezmer feat. Reagadelica ( Original Mix ) – Pizeta

8) Soko – I’ll Kill Her

9) Bon Iver – Skinny Love Remix

10) Niki & The Dove – Mother’s Protect (Goldroom Remix)

The Journey Continues – Purmamarca

After our, ahem, interesting night in Salta – we woke up and were excited to get out and continue North. Deciding to rent a car was the best idea we had. We were able to rent one for a pretty reasonable price – 420 pesos each! We had originally asked for a smaller car, as it was cost efficient, but luckily for us the car had issues so we got this baby instead! DSCF5774Considering the roads we were to drive on in the next coming days; we lucked out. I like to think they did this on purpose. . .

BTW, I highly recommend renting a car – it gives you the freedom to travel at your leisure, and take as many photo ops as you want (lord knows we did).

Tip: If you are going to drive outside of Buenos Aires, and you are American, you need an international drivers license. I also recommend being able to drive a stick as they are more readily available and cheaper to rent. I don’t have an IDL, nor can I drive stick, so all I had to do was sit back and enjoy the views :).

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Next on our newly dubbed “Salta, it’s natural” circuit was Purmamarca – home to the famed Cerro de los Siete Colores.

Cerro de los Siete Colores - Eva Pederson

Cerro de los Siete Colores – Eva Pederson

There are two ways to get to Purmamarca from Salta (we learned this a little too late) – on your typical highway, or through the jungle. We, of course, crossed into the region of Jujuy through the jungle. IMG_7838The drive was beautiful, yet slightly unnerving. Prepare yourself for hairpin curves and steep drops. On this road, 2 is a crowd, so be courteous and pull to side; if you can.  Don’t allow this to sway you out of taking the jungle, be adventurous, it’s a gorgeous drive.

Lastly be warned – the closer you get to the Bolivian border the more frequent the check points are. This can be time consuming but, luckily for us, most of the time they would look in the car say something like “todas hermosas” and wave us through.

We arrived at Purmamarca right as the sun was setting and our timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The rosy skies, adobe buildings, and el Cerro de los Siete Colores all blended together and left everything draped in pink.

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Journey to the North – Salta

I had hoped to post as we went along our trip but, knowing that we would have limited access to the internet and, in an effort to pack lightly, I decided to forgo packing my laptop. An effort I failed miserably at BTW.  I was preparing for what I thought was going to be a blistering cold journey, and if I had to bundle up, I wanted to look cute doing it. That said, in the back of my mind, I knew I would end up wearing the same things anyway. The vanity, the vanity. . . Luckily for me, I didn’t have to carry my bag much.

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Anyway – after about a 23 hour bus ride we arrived in Salta – tired, needing a shower, and hungry. After having asked a few people were we should go to eat, we got a little excited when everyone mentioned the same place – Panadería del Chuña. With all this hype, how could we NOT try it out? So, we showered and marched our hungry asses in search of what seemed to be a legendary restaurant. And, legendary it was. . .

Just east of the plaza we came upon the restaurant and each of us just stopped and stared in . . . amazement. Was the building huge? Yes. Incredible architecture? Meh. Beautiful? Not particularly. So what was the big deal? The wall opposite the entrance was lit up by a huge curtain of Christmas lights that changed colors. -_-

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There was a small debate about whether we should find another and then we succumbed because A) we were starving and B) “well, when in Salta”.

The food was mediocre at best – the empanadas were the smallest I’ve ever seen, the meat was the worst that any of us have had in Argentina, and the wine list was limited. At one point we were drenched in a savory blue lighting followed by a light show sure to bring on an epileptic attack. All the while there was a mix of Folkclorico dancing, singing, ANND a video of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World which included (of course) Iguazu Falls. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good cultural event – I did major in Anthropology in college with a focus on Cultural Anthro, but this was too much, even for me.

The strange thing is, we seemed to be the only non-Argentines there. And everyone was LOVING IT. They were clapping, cheering and dancing along. It was all a bit awkward, to say the least. I am sure Salta has some wonderful restaurants but this is not one of them.

Maybe it was the long bus ride, maybe it was the lighting that made my food look like black ink,IMG_6989 or that this place was INSANELY over priced (I am serious you can eat 10x better in Buenos Aires for less, and that is saying something) – whatever the reason we were eager to finish our wine and get some sleep.

All of that said, we still had a great time and it was an experience. At the end of the day, what more can you ask for?

**** I have had issues with loading images this week, thus the delay in posting AND the lack of pictures. But don’t worry, I will be providing images as soon as I can ;).

Journey to the North

Happy Sunday! I know I’ve neglected my blog for a little over a week, but for good reason. . . I finally had a vacation! Being that this month marks my 6th month here, it only seemed proper (and a bit overdue) to get out and explore this great big country. It’s too cold to go South this time of year (and you should know by now that I don’t do cold) so we went North, naturally. Who is we? It was an international affair, 5 chicas – 1 Italian, 1 Danish-Italian, Italian-Argentine-Austrian, 1 Uruguayan-American, 1 Mexican-American.

Our itinerary? Buenos – Salta – Purmamarca – Salinas Grandes – Tilcara – Maimara – Humahuaca – Iruya – Cafayate – Salta – Buenos. All in 9 days!

How did we do? You will have to read to find out 🙂

Visa Fees, Maté, and Tears

So a few weeks ago I hopped aboard the Buquebus ferry for a quick trip to Montevideo, Uruguay. I, sadly, only had time for a 1 day trip. So why go? Well, if you enter Argentina, you’re most likely on a tourist visa. This is true for pretty much everyone, whether you’re here to study abroad, for work etc. Why? Because it’s easier and cheaper than going through the process of applying for papers. So if you are here on a tourist visa, you must leave the country every 3 months, aka, every 90 days. If you are planning to stay in Argentina longer than 90 days you must do what everyone does – a quick day trip to Uruguay get your stamps and come on back. No biggie. . .

A few things to keep in mind.

1. You HAVE to leave within 90 days. Not a day after, not on the day of, WITHIN.

2. Choosing not to will cost you $300AR – I am sure that price will go up ;). You can pay this at immigration or at customs. I learned this the hard way.

3. If you are from the states make sure you have your receipt showing that you paid your reciprocity fee. This was also a lesson I learned the hard way. Here is what happened…

I had just had a lovely day in Montevideo. I arrived around 11am and even though I had to dish out 300 pesos I was not going to let that ruin my day. I walked around the old part of the city – keep in mind if you go on a Sunday EVERYTHING is closed, I mean EVERYTHING (and I thought Buenos shut down on Sundays). The only places open are the churches and the super touristy over priced parrillas.

I, of course, went on a Sunday – facepalm.

I didn’t let it get to me, it was a beautiful day, I had a good book and my notebook – I was set! To be honest all I wanted to do was sit on the beach anyway. Montevideo is at located in the south and creates a little tip. So on either side of the city you have the Rio de Plata.

Map of the Río de la Plata, showing cities in ...

Map of the Río de la Plata, showing cities in Argentina and Uruguay. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the widest river in the world and it runs into the Atlantic ocean. The Rio de Plata separates Argentina and Uruguay. Buenos Aires is also located along the coast of the rio, but there are no playas (beaches) in Buenos.

The first thing I noticed about Montevideo was the water. The rio here in Buenos is, well, ugly. It’s a warm brown color – like café con leche – mmm ;). But the water in Montevideo was a lovely blend of different shades of blue. I later found out the color of the water changes based on the direction of the wind. If the wind is coming from Brazil the water will be blue. If the water is coming from Argentina the water will turn brown (I am sure this adds to the friendly rivalry between the two countries).

The city itself was pretty empty, but that was because everyone was lined up along the coast. . .

– drinking maté in the parks overlooking the water

– fishing and drinking maté

– strolling along the boardwalk that lines the coast while. . . drinking maté.

(I will remain neutral on this one, but I was told that Uruguay loves maté more than any other S.A. country.)

Montevideo is a beautiful city and I was actually really grateful that it was kind of dead. It was nice to escape Buenos for a day and have a tranquilo afternoon strolling the empty streets soaking up some vitamin D.

So, there I was feeling refreshed, optimistic, relaxed. I am in line at customs waiting to be stamped through and the agent asks me for my visa #. Erm, que? I have no visa number. All I have is a stamp in my passport. I basically needed to show proof that I paid my reciprocity fee, which is a one time entry fee for US citizens. Once you pay it’s valid for 10 years (regardless of the 3 month rule). One would think the fact that I was allowed into Argentina, had a stamp less than a year old, would be enough – it’s not. She denied me access and said I would have to pay USD$300 (!) to get into the country.

Halllluphalllluphalllaup – hold the fuck up! What?!

Trying not to get too stressed out, I tried to work this out for about 20 minutes in my broken castellano and her broken english. Finally a manager came along pulled me into his office and explained that there was no other way. We go back and forth, back and forth. So, at last, I gave up, looked him dead in the eye and said – “well what am I supposed to do?” – and then the tears started rolling down my cheeks. He looked at me as if my face was melting off, said “tranquilo, tranquilo, espere” and within minutes he had found, printed out my proper documentation, and sent me on my way.

The day didn’t end there. Relieved, grateful, but completely drained I got on the ferry looking forward to finishing my book. Next thing I know I am joined by a futbol team that had played in some tournament in Montevideo. 🙂 I can’t think of a better way to end my trip than by being serenaded, learning how to properly cuss men out when they bother me, and drinking maté with a bunch of sexy Argentine soccer players.

Good lookin’ out universe, good lookin’ out.