Sunday, February 5, 2012

Salinas Grandes and Purmamarca

The salts flats (Salinas Grandes) of Argentina cover an area of 3200 sq mi and are often compared to Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. I think you need to take each for what they are.

I did not know what to expect as I have heard all the stories. Well Salinas Grandes did not disappoint and it literally becomes where the earth meets the sky. The rain was  a perfect addition to help with the reflection and adding to the mystery and beauty of the place

 You have to remember that this is a working industry/factory. A single road (not in the picture) leads down to the Salt flats. From there you just park the bus and go wandering. There are artisans that have some interesting salt carvings, a standard restaurant and tienda, but its all about taking your shoes off and going for a walk. This place could be called crazy beautiful with its shimmering top, hexagon patchwork and deep horizon reflections. It is not a huge place, smaller then I expected but large enough to be impressive. Bring on Uyuni.

 From the Salt flats we drove up a series of winding switchback through a valley to a view point at 4000 metres, about 12,000 ft. I had forgotten how quickly altitude can get a hold of you if you move to fast to quickly. I jumped out of the bus and instantly became dizzy enough that I had to sit down for about 5 minutes. Once I pulled it together it was just photo ops then back on the bus. The views were great and if you ever find yourself getting tired of such views, go home.

The final stop of the day was unexpected on my part. The town of Purmamarca. A dry dusty adobe town whose fame is Cerro de Siete Colores, or the hill of seven colours. There was a great market in the square but everyone was selling the same things and looked bored to death. I did find a shop that sold me 20 meat, cheese, egg and potato filled empenadas for about 3 bucks. That with a large OJ was lunch in the square. There were an odd about of young white Rasta's here. I like to think my mind is a pretty open space but I will never understand a white guy trying to be a Rastafarian .

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