A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...
Young Luke's lightsaber has been stolen from his wallet, leaving him stranded in the clutches of the evil Lord Vader, with only 60 credits.
And now, let's be serious. My credit card was stolen on the 22nd of February. I spoke to the bank right away to cancel it, and see if any transactions have been made. Nothing was gone, so I could relax a little, but I was still stuck with no card. On friday, the 25th, I left Puerto Iguazu for Salta, in northern Argentina. After an excrutiating 23-hour bus ride (with Jennifer Lopez romance movies, and an Argentinian folk Idol) I arrived. A woman was sent for us, by Lior and Ma'ayan, to pick Dima, Sivan and I, to their hostel. The hostel is one of the best ones I've been to since I got South America. Here we found many Israelis and we immediatly became real good friends with most of them. I spoke to the bank, back home, and ordered myself a new card. The man on the other end said it would take between 5-8 business days to arrive. Unfortunately for me, it was Saturday by the time we spoke, and a business day doesn't include Saturday, Friday AND Sunday, which means this could take a while. In the meantime, I have to keep myself busy. So, on our first night here, we all went to a party together. Then, on the next day, we went to this really beautiful spot over the city. On the way, we encountered a giant statue of one of the Argentinian hero-gods. The man was sitting on his horse, high enough to look over the entire city. Very meaningful.
Most of the time I didn't do much, other than sit around and talk with some friends. It also gave me alot of time to brush up on my ping-pong skillz.
Sometime during the week, Me and ten others from the hostel, all went to a paintball ground. There, my training kicked in, and my team won, leaving me one of the only ones who weren't "killed". Eventaully only Emanuel and Myself were left, and we went at it, Wild Wild West style. We stood back to back, and counted ten paces, but like in every cheesy western, the bad guy cheats, and after nine paces I was shot in the back. What a world! But I didn't give up, and my foe was still at large. I placed some cover fire, and while he was in his cover, safe from harm, I charged, thus declaring me the victor. The nurse at the hospital was so nice, that she massaged my wound back to health.
The next couple of days were full of meat, more freinds and go-karts.
On Thursday morning, I went with some people I met to a town called Cafayate (pronounced Ca-fa-ja-te). We rented a car and drove nearly 200 km. The way was absolutely incredible. The terrain was deserty, with beautiful mountains, canyons and french people, though they weren't exactly the highlight of the day. We stopped at every possible place to take pictures. All the way, while I was driving, and when I wasn't, I kept looking out the window, and couldn't stop thinking of my days in basic training. The desert reminded me too much of the Bik'ah, where I was first located, when I joined the army. Only one difference, this desert was red-ish. When we arrived at the town, we walked around, looking for everything, and nothing. Just enjoying the day. After a few hours there, we finaly had to head back, so I drove all the way, for over 3 hours. Fun. Not a teriffick experience, this driving in Argentina.
My next destination, once my card arrives, is Chile (once again!). I met a girl (once again), in Iguazu, and decided we want to go to San Pedro together. San Pedro de Atacama, is in the north of Chile, west of Salta, beyond the border (da!). San Pedro is also very close to Bolivia, which is due north from there. From San Pedro, through the Salar salt-desert and into Bolivia. Today the Salar is flooded, and most of the treks in the area are still closed, so we want to drag as much time as we can, for as little money as we can, before crossing the border.
The next couple of days were very insigtful. I was left alone in my room, because all the people that were with me here at the hostel, all left. Every day new people came and went. On friday morning, I woke up to alot of noise in my room, seeing that two girls are being bunked with me in my room. One of them needed a doctor, and I offerd her my list of doctors in Argentina that I got from my insurance company. I looked for it in my money belt, emptying it from it's contents. I didn't find my list, though I did find something else. My "stolen" card. The second I saw it, it all came back to me. When I was in Puerto Iguazu, we went to Paraguay for a day, and I left everything of value at the hostel, hidden deep in my muchila. I completely forgot about it, so I immediately declared it stolen. Now I know that this passed week or so, was avoidable, but I don't regret a second of it. On Friday night, after Kidush with everybody from the hostel, I looked at my card's status, and saw that I missed an attempt to deliver it. I was out of the hostel, and it completely ruined my evening. The next morning I found the lost card, and became even more upset, but despite all that, I regret nothing. Well maybe the fact the hostel lost my lucky boxers in the laundry. I think I would like to have them back.
On Saturday afternoon, the girl that I was supposed to travel to Chile with, Inbal, decided she couldn't wait any longer here in Salta. I couldn't blame her for not wanting to stay here, so we said goodby, and she left that night for a town north of here, called Tilcara. Tilcara is 3-4 hours away from here, on the way to the Bolivian border. There is a big Carnaval contest there that's supposed to be very cool to see.
All the while I spoke to my friends that I came here with, Swarly and Oran, and learned that they were in Buenos Aires. Oran unfortunately, isn't happy here and wants to return home earlier than he planned. He booked a bus ride straight to Bolivia, and from there to Sao Paulo, Brasil, and then home on the 20th.
Swarly went to Rosario, the same city that I've been to, a couple of weeks ago. From there, he went to Puerto Iguazu and bathed in the falls. His first plan was to cross the border to Brasil, but soon gave that up, and decided to come here to Salta to meet me.
Sunday, Monday and Thursday were a holliday here. Apparently, the carnaval is a big deal all over the continent, not just in Rio. After I found out that I missed the delivery attempt on friday, the next one was only to be made AFTER the holliday, which meant it would arrive the soonest on Wednsday, if nothing went wrong. In the meantime I tried to keep myself as busy as possible. We found a real chinese restaurant. The people there spoke no english and no spanish, so it was very challenging to comunicate with them.
Finaly, on Wednsday, I spoke to the bank again, then UPS israel, then UPS Argentina, then a small, private, local delivary company, who had my card. I didn't want to wait any longer, doing nothing, so I asked for the adress and went to their office, to pick it up myself. Update: I RECIEVED MY CARD.
Wednsday was a very happy day for me. After getting my card, I could finally leave Salta behind, but not yet. I had to wait for Swarly one more day. He's supposed to arrive here the next morning, on Thursday. I waited for him all morning, and he arrived finaly at noon. We were very happy to see each other, and we talked for a while about our next stop. I sugested we go to Tilcara, in the north, spend the weekend there, and from there, take a bus to Bolivia. We agreed, so today was done, and we had to pass the time. We went to a bike renting company, just around the corner from the hostel, and rented a bike for the rest of the day. After so long here in Salta, I knew my way around here pretty well. I showed him the city, taking him to the view point on the mountain, looking over the city, spent the afternoon there in the shade. Then we studied the map we had, and drove 20 km, to the nearest town, called San Lorenzo. There, we spent the rest of the day, looking at the countryside, and went back to return the bikes.
On Friday morning, March 11, I finaly left Salta.
All's well, ends well.