Our trip continued, and after seeing one of the wonders of the world, we were preparing to cross the border to Argentina. Crossing borders is always something that creates a certain feeling of nerves. With us they increased a little more, because Douglas had his passport expired, so we didn't know what would happen when he passed the border. When passing from Brazil to Argentina through Foz do Iguacu, nothing happened. We got out of trouble with Douglas's passport. Although later, we did have some problems on this matter.
We took a bus (collective as they call it there), as many of them we had already taken. We had made thousands of kilometers uploaded in these huge “collectives”, some of two floors. In Brazil and Argentina, the distances are huge but people usually move a lot in a collective, it is cheap and not very uncomfortable. The seats are wide and you can sleep more or less well. We also did not get bored because during the hours we spent in them we entertained ourselves making macramé. Douglas is in love with this art and today he continues to live on this and many more beautiful projects he has to change people's consciousness. Among others, bioconstruction and permaculture. A project that he has and takes wherever he goes, giving it with a lot of unconditional love. He is a really admirable person and impossible not to love.
I loved to accompany him in his projects and somehow he was also accompanying me in mine. I remember that at that time I had in my mind the idea of wanting to study midwife, but in other ways, always looking for the "alternative" or complementary part (I prefer to say so). And there in Argentina I met one of those ways. They are called "midwives" and accompany in childbirth as before. It was a very nice thing to be able to experiment and see how these women are formed again not only with nursing techniques, but also training mothers again to feel, fathers to accompany the woman during this process, which is the whole family, and the midwives also accompany emotionally from the first moment of pregnancy. It was a gift to see that. Although it seems that my way wasn’t to go in that direction.
Before arriving at this part of the trip, Douglas and I headed north to Argentina. Salta, Cafayate, Purmamarca (Jujuy).
We arrived in Salta, capital of this region. A medium-sized city, with a very beautiful charm. There I had arranged to meet with a girl I had met in Castellón some time before. So it was a nice reunion. We all went to eat together and then we continued on our way, this time we rented a car and would go around this beautiful area.
We started in the Cafayate area, at first the landscape was steep with long roads and virtually no cars. We begin to climb mountain roads, passing through landscapes with huge cactus. At one of the stops we found a group of people the age of my parents (about 60 years old). Suddenly I heard them speak in Spanish and I couldn't help turning around and talking to them. “Where are you from?” I asked. “We are Spanish, from Valencia specifically,” they told me. I could not believe it, I explained where I came from and we had a laugh talking a little in Valencian. I love this kind of coincidences!
We continue up the road and the landscape was changing, huge cactus, mountains of reddish colors ... Until we began to enter a "lunar landscape." There were hardly any cars passing by, the road began to be only of dirt and we made a lot of dust when passing. Suddenly, among the mountains, a beautiful full moon appeared, we couldn't help stopping the car and taking some pictures of that beauty. It seemed as if it were looking at us. The trip with Douglas became such magical moments, living with him was easy, although our internal things were going out, but we were very well accompanied with each other. Even with different languages. He speaks Portuguese, although he rather spoke "Portuñol" as they call it. And I spoke to him in Spanish and we understood each other very well. There were many moments of silence in the car, but not at all uncomfortable. I have some gaps where we slept during the trip.
Well, we were in many places and very different. Sometimes looking for hostels and cheap places to sleep in the middle of the night. We continue through the Cafayate area stopping at a wine cellar, through this area there is a “very famous wine route”. Cafayate have one of the most beautiful Nature Reserves I've seen. Called “Quebrada de las Conchas Natural Reserve” and also Cultural Heritage of the Indigenous Community. They are places where there is a direct contact with the earth (La Pachamama) and again we klived a new sensation of magic in this place.
The Amphitheater is like a throat inside the rocks of the mountain, it is named so, because the sound is like when an instrument is played, it has one of the best sounds, such as in an amphitheater but this was natural and without speakers. I remember feeling very excited in this place. There was a man playing the trumpet that played very beautifully. And when we were leaving, another boy with a flute started playing music that left me stunned. I could not move, that music that I did not know was from a Brazilian musician that Douglas knew very well. I didn't know it, but it left me speechless and very excited. Leaving there somewhat overwhelmed with what had happened, we bought some souvenirs in the markets of local people with their crafts.
The journey continued and this time we were going further north. Very close to the border with Bolivia and Chile. The city of Purmamarca (Jujuy).
Purmamarca has a mountain called "The Hill of the Seven Colors" and is part of the Andes mountain range in the province of Jujuy. When we got there, I started to feel bad, I felt chills and very tired. I wanted to be in a bed and sleep. Douglas found a place to spend the night and there I remember that I spent a whole day sleeping and resting. We had been traveling for many days, while moving from one place to another, sleeping in different hostels and I think my body needed a great, great rest.
There are moments in the trips that you also miss that quiet life, that life of being in your own home and feeling wrapped in your shelter, in your house. But when you travel, your house is everything, everything you are, what you carry, your body is your house, and the “house”, the hostel, the bed where you rest that night become something ephemeral, without great importance.
When I started to feel better, we went out to visit the town and the hill with those colors that range from reddish to pale pink. The landscape is really beautiful and the town puts a flea market with the crafts of the local people. Always seeing in the background those beautiful colors of the hill. The next day we continue north up to 4100m high, where “Las Salinas Grandes” are located, a little smaller than the Salar de Uyuni, but also very beautiful. The road to get there is very winding and the landscape is very changing. I remember falling asleep during the climb, while chewing some coca leaves to avoid altitude sickness. Douglas was worried because he thought I was passed out by climbing so fast and by those curves, so many meters high. In a moment I woke up, I saw a flame (llama) on the side of the road, these animals fascinated me, they reminded me so much that I was in the Andes Mountains. Seeing animals like that which you don't often see them, people with more indigenous features ... I love those contrasts and those cultures so different from mine!
After that visit, I really wanted to cross the border to Chile and see the Atacama Desert and then the Salar de Uyuni. But economically it was a lot and also our energy was somewhat low to continue traveling more. So when we get back to Salta, we decided to take a bus to go to Córdoba, where a very good friend of Douglas was waiting for us with great affection, who later also became a very good friend of mine too.
Getting to Cordoba was like coming back home. We were sharing with Carol for a week. There were moments when I felt that I had to continue traveling, that I could not stand so long in one place. And at the same time my body was so exhausted that I felt I needed to sleep and be as I really was. The mind often has some ideas of what it is to travel, and we may really be scheduled to travel quickly when we don't have time and we take those vacations during those weeks or month per year. But in my case I was traveling for 2 and a half months. And I was really living while traveling. So, when I understood this, I left myself alone and let myself be taken care of by Carol, by Douglas, who always took care of me during the whole trip and by that lair of Carol.
We shared many and also went to visit the city of Cordoba, a university city with many bars and taverns with a lot of charm. We went to visit "The Valley of Calamuchita", where there is a large colony of Germans and where we met nature again. We shared with Carol's family and, as good Argentines we ate a barbecue. Although finally the roast became rather a Brazilian roast, as it was done by Douglas. Carol had a place where she used to do screen printing workshops. So one day she offered us the gift of making our own shirts. We designed our drawings and then printed them on the t-shirts, it was very fun and creative. I still remember what I put on my shirt… ”Don't push into the river; let it be it that leads you to the ocean, for it is already on its way. ” I could understand this phrase at that time at the mental level, now, more and more I can understand it at other levels. For more and more I let myself go through life (the river), living more in uncertainty and letting myself be surprised by what life is offering me. One day Carol told us that she wanted to take us to a beautiful place to spend a few days there. That place is called "Umepay." This place is located in the mountains of Yacanto de Calamuchita (Cordoba). It is a retreat center within nature. There are different types of workshops for personal development. Yoga, art, vegetarian food ... And another of the things that Douglas also liked very much, they had built it with the system of bio-construction. So we went there to discover that place. It was very nice to share with Carol and Douglas those days there, we met a lot of people, we made art, walks and baths by the river ... It was also there where I met the midwives that I talked to you before. And another thing of those so magical that happen to me connected me to that place, but at that time, I did not know it ...
Do you remember my friend Natalie? My friend I met in Guatemala ... Well, in one of our meetings in Spain, just after returning from this trip, I told her that we had been in Umepay, she was perplexed. And she said: "You say you have been to Umepay and have met the midwives?" There in Umepay his nephew was born. Her sister-in-law is Argentina and is married to her brother and curiously there they had their first child with the help of one of the midwives I met. Incredible!! Our days in Cordoba were over and our next stop was Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina.
The only collective with which we could travel lying in a bed, was in this one, the one that is on its way to Buenos Aires. The others are semi-bed. If I tell you the truth, it was the worst night that I slept. It's true that the beds were quite comfortable, but I couldn't sleep very well. I think the fatigue was still in me and I couldn't get my legs well rested. Arriving in the capital meant 2 things, on the one hand I was excited to know the capital, people I know spoke to me very well about it. Art, street exhibitions, museums, parks ...
I usually feel quite comfortable in a city. But for Douglas that was a martyrdom. He doesn't like big cities and being there for a week was like having him locked up in a jail. Still we enjoyed it equally, Douglas with his generosity and still feeling somewhat uncomfortable, he accompanied me and was there with me. We spent some rainy days, locked in an airbnb apartment that we rented to a man who had his art workshop right below. It was a very modern room, with a bathroom and a very nice terrace. In the mornings we always used to receive the visit of the owner’s kitten that came to visit us.
We walked through the streets of "El Caminito" located in the neighborhood of La Boca, with its colorful houses, markets ... We went to see a theater show, we walked through the parks and we drank our mate as some good Argentines. We went to dance tango one night, where we enjoyed and laughed a lot, and also to see people dance tango in the ballroom and in the streets of downtown. We didn't stop doing things and resting too. But a week there was being too much for Douglas. So we started preparing to move to Uruguay.