Thursday, June 21, 2012

God is in the small details, #5

- People selling "artesanias" absolutely everywhere in Salta. And the winner of most unlikely place goes to the Amphitheater, a small, natural canyon about an hour away from any town, where there were several vendors.
- Redundant names you keep running into in different areas: Laguna Azul/Verde, Garganta del Diablo, etc.
- An old woman in Salta, who told me (with a smile) about how Ushuaia is not for people like her, but for tourists like me, that don't need to work too much for their money (she was quite right, I'd say).
- The story of the musicians in the restaurant in Purmamarca. "It's so touching to see two Bolivians play the Argentinean national anthem with such feeling" (they musicians were Argentinean, but from the far north).
- The cute soldier/policeman on the drive back to Salta, who started a whole spiel about the law regarding seatbelts, which apparently would've been pretty long, and exclaimed "Gracias a Dios" when we told him we don't speak Spanish.
- The hair salon in Salta with the inviting sign outside of it: "Compro Cabello" (I buy hair). Why didn't I sell them some? I had an obvious surplus at that point in time...

FTTN: Mercedes and Ibera- Authenticity

Authentic. How many times do you hear that word during the trip? But is what we, the visitors, call autenthic, really so? And if not, is there anything that is actually authentic? Is there any way to recognize it as such?
An attempt at definition is probably a good start.

FTTN: Puerto Iguazu- Tourist towns

I saw it in many places: a town (or village) whose very existence is linked in steel cables to its tourist attraction. Puerto Natales and Puerto Iguazu are great examples, I think. And they feel right for me as examples, being at opposite edges (of the countries and of my trip), so they somehow encase or include all the others, at least figuratively. The tourist attraction that is next to both these towns casts a very large shadow on anything and everything in them. This includes the names of restaurants, hostels, shops and even streets, photos of the attraction everywhere, many services linked to it, the majority of the townspeople working in something that has to do with it, and last but not least, a sense of local pride (or small-scale patriotism) that you get when talking to locals about the attraction.
I would love to know how residents of Puerto Iguazu really feel about the waterfalls.