Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?
Bismillah, no! We will not let you go.
Let him go!
Bismillah, no! We will not let you go.
Let me go!
Will not let you go.
Never never never let you go-o-o-o-o
No no no no no no no!
Oh mama Mia mama Mia
Mama Mia let me go
Beezlebub has a devil aside for me, for me, for me
                                                                       Freddie Mercury

We spent a long time in the San Miguel de Tucuman bus terminal. It is quite a big station, with 40 t0 50 bus companies running out of it. I looked at at every window, and inquired at any that looked promising. No companies seem to have buses that run to Arica, despite what I was told in Iguazu and despite the fact that it lists Arica clearly on many of their windows in their lists of destinations. Some have buses to Iquique which is 4 hours south of Arica, maybe, but not today. One company told me I can buy a ticket direct to Lima and they will drop me in Arequipa on the way. They told me the bus does not run today, only in nine days. I can only go to Chile once a week. I have to get on a bus now and go to Jujuy. I have to get on a bus in the morning and go to Salta. I have to wait until next Saturday to go to Arica. I need to go to Antofogasta and then I can go to Arica. I need to leave immediately, because the bus to Chile leaves in 4 hours and the bus to Jujuy takes 5 hours to get there, so maybe it will be too late when I get there. There is no buses to Chile from anywhere. I have to go to Bolivia. I need to go to Calama. I need to go to San Pedro de Atacama. I need to take a colectivo. I might be able to buy a ticket in Jujuy to Chile. I might be able to find some information about where their buses run when I get to Salta, or maybe in Jujuy. We cant take you to Mendoza (12 hours south), they have lots of information there. 

I was there for more than two hours trying to figure out what to do. I bought a ticket to Salta for tomorrow at 9:05am on Chevallier. I will take my chances and figure it out in Salta. The company seems sure that their company has a bus that runs from Salta to Chile on Saturday. I hope it is true. I did not book a place to stay in Salta tonight in case there is the chance of getting on a bus tonight.

We got a taxi to the hostel because we had taken so long at the terminal and Aodhan was being very well behaved and we were exhausted. I’m glad we did, because it was a lot further away than I thought. I had seen the map of the town and saw that I just had to walk to the other end of the central park, and then turn left and walk about the same distance. The park turned out to be the size of High Park, and the map only showed the main streets, not all the side streets in between. 

The hostel was great. It is family run, and it came with high praise on the internet. They deserve it. It is not fancy. It is a very old house that has been converted. Our beds were clean, the washrooms were spotless. The showers were hot. They had a nice living room with TV and sofa and computer to use. I kind of wished we were staying there a couple of days. 

I asked Aodhan to take a shower. He asked if there was a pool. He asked if there was a bathtub. He said ok to the shower and had one. I washed his clothes, and hung them to dry in the morning sun on the roof. It is about 35 to 40 degrees here, so, I might get lucky. I let Aodhan put his other pants on. I traded one item at a time for his clothes. You give me the one t-shirt, I give you the other etc. He was pretty good about it. He looked at where we were and where we have been, on Google Maps the computer. He started to watch TV, but was falling asleep on the sofa. We went to bed. 

I woke up just before my alarm went off at 6:30 and I tried to reset it until 7am. Instead, because I was half asleep and exhausted, I ended up setting another alarm for two minutes later and then had the regular alarm go off while trying to turn that off. I gave up and got up. Aodhan got up too, and got dressed - his clothes that I had washed were dry, so he was very happy that he could wear his grey pants again. Then he went and fell asleep on the sofa in the TV room. I tried to wake him for breakfast, but he just slept. I got everything packed up and had coffee and a bun with cream cheese. I went and posted my blogs, and the taxi came. I quickly got everything out and locked the room so that Aodhan couldn’t search it for 15 more minutes. The staff was so nice and carried my luggage out to the taxi, and I got Aodhan up. He ran down and jumped in the taxi so that he could get to the terminal. He only asked for or demanded his sweater 17 times or so. I have told him that if he keeps bugging me or tries to get his sweater, I am going to mail it back to Canada. 

We got on the bus. Greg is great when I have Wifi at the terminal. I go in Face Time with Greg, and Aodhan settles a little and it is not such a fight to get him to stay in the bus with his luggage downstairs under the bus. He sits there fighting to climb over me and get his suitcase. 

On the bus, I asked if they could show a funny movie, but they all just look at me like I am from outer space when I ask for a comedy. All they seem to like here is action movies with lots of shooting and killing and fighting. All things that bother Aodhan. One of the French guys that I met on the other bus, told me that they showed Hangover2 on a bus they were on. There is hope? They put on some movie about Nazi Germans being on the dark side of the moon. I think it was called Iron Moon. They left the soundtrack turned to music instead of the movie soundtrack. I mean, yes, there were Spanish subtitles, but isn’t the soundtrack half the movie? I asked if I could hear the movie, and they told me that this was the soundtrack for the movie, that it was just music, no words in this movie. They finally switched it over, after I asked three more times, and the movie is in English, so at least Aodhan can watch it.

My leg is feeling so much better. It still shoots blinding white flashes of pain if I rotate or twist my knee. I can go up and down stairs pretty well and I am hardly limping. It still cramps up on the bus, and I cannot sit cross legged or bend it to squat. I can lay for short periods on my side now too.

I am still trying to figure out what to do when I get back to Arequipa. It will be around the 25th when I get back there. I will have two and a half weeks before I fly home. I have to go to Bolivia a full week before I fly to Canada, just to make sure in case I have problems getting him there. So it looks like just over a week in Arequipa. I would love to go to Nazca and see the Nazca lines. I would also really love to go to the Amazon from La Paz, Bolivia. I am not sure either of these trips is going to be doable, so I am not getting my heart set on either one. 

They put a second movie on, it is a comedy. Aodhan just said he had to go  to the bathroom, and he went. Things are looking up today.

We got to Salta and there are no buses to Chile today, or tomorrow, or perhaps ever but there are maybe Pullman has a bus, yes, but no front seats until Thursday next week, maybe Andesmar, but they only go to Calama, maybe Chile line, but it is closed right now, they will open again at 5pm, maybe Chevallier that said for sure they had a bus tomorrow, but they don’t go to Chile like they said they would when I was in Tucuman, maybe Flecha Bus, but I went to the window and before I said good morning they said they didn’t go there before I said where I was going, maybe the other bus line that advertises Arica but they don’t go until Wednesday and there was no one in their office to tell me if the bus was available on Wenesday anyway. 

I wandered window to window for two and a half hours and finally when the Chile window did not open at 5pm, I gave up and booked Andesmar to Calama. I checked the temperature in Calama and in the daytime it averages 24C, but at night it goes down to 3-5C. So, as long as we get out of there in the daytime, we should be alright. The bus arrives at noon, and there are lots of buses out, so I think we will be ok. 

I went back and went online at the little coffee shop again to book the hostel. All the rooms were sold out for tonight. I tried three different booking sites. None would let me book. I went back to the really nice woman at the tour office and she phoned the hostel for me. They spoke perfect English, and I told them I was willing to sleep in the grass, could I please come out there. They laughed and said they would find me a bed. I almost kissed her.

I took bought a city bus card and put a few dollars on it. I got on a city bus, after stopping briefly for a giant litre sized cup of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. OMG was it good, especially after being stuck on so many buses for so long, and walking around in such hot weather. 

I got to the hostel and checked in. The hostel is called LOKI. It is free. That’s right, it is free. It is in the middle of nowhere and they have a monopoly on food and drink. You get a bracelet and all you pay for is whatever you eat. The food and drink is very reasonably  priced. The people we have met there so far are fabulous. It is one big party all day every day. They did name this place appropriately. 

It was pizza night and the kitchen was closed. Aodhan has not really eaten all day. I guess this will be a test. He had pepperoni pizza. It was home made, and fabulous. Aodhan is really happy here and wish I could stay longer. Not giving him gluten and dairy has so far not seemed to change anything, soI don’t know, maybe I give up on this again. It certainly has not affected his temper tantrums. It also says that this diet has the best results with kids who have had digestive issues. Aodhan is has not. 

The fields of sunflowers on the way to Tucuman. I love sunflowers. I always think of France and of Van Gogh. 

Palm trees lining the road

Interesting old farm house. I think the dome building would be a silo?

Colourful little bus stop.

One of the towns was flooded.

Many of the roads in Argentina are so straight. It was a pretty straight shot from Iguazu to Tucuman

One lane part of the highway - everyone just passes each other.

This truck is being towed, but it looks like it is driving all by itself

The telephone wires are all covered in air plants

It is beginning to be so beautiful in the foothills of the Andes

Aodhan caught a frog tonight in front of our cabin. This place is kind of like a summer camp for Adults:)