Cobre and Sey

ihana.com - big trip - diary - argentina - april 2003

Going up

San Antonio de los Cobres

On the way to Sey

Monday 21 - Tuesday 22 April

On our way ever uphill towards San Antonio de Los Cobres, we came across a group of llamas drinking in a stream beside the road. While taking pics a guy in a pickup truck stopped and gave us a leaflet about his hotel/restaurant just up the road. As we were peckish we stopped by and explained we only had 15 pesos left. We had a very tasty pasta stew concoction and still a bit of change. The best bit was that he recommended us to go and drive along the adjoining dirt road to Sey and beyond to the base of the big pink volcano.

Village

Pink volcano

Old woman with her granddaughter

Sun goes down on the llamas

Disused bath houses

Rocks

The scenery was, as seems to be usual now, fantastic. The twisty track took us past small adobe villages with friendly locals until, after 70kms we reached the base of the volcano and some small empty buildings. An old woman living nearby told us they were disused bath houses making use of the hot springs. She was living there alone and had various amounts of llamas in the surrounding hills. Being quite happy to pose for pics she told us that a fair amount of tourists come here and that last season she made 70 pesos selling socks and did we want any? Looking at her socks we thought the better of it and went to have a hot wash in the springs.

B put up his hammock in one of the bath houses (now dry) and had a cosy nights sleep while T froze in the roof tent. The roof tent is not really designed for anything much below zero, fortunately a good sleeping bag helps ward off the frostbite.

A corral full...

...of curious llamas...

...have to be encouraged to leave the pen

Heading back to the main road the following morning we spotted a corral full of llamas in the village of Sey. The llama woman told us that there were about 90 in there. They are funny animals, curiously peering into the camera with their daft faces. Some have coloured feathers or pieces of cloth worn like earrings. Apparently they don't put these on themselves and the ones with the lower earrings are males, the higher, females. Meanwhile a few boisterous ones in the middle started spitting heinous looking green phlegm at each other - time to go!

Adobe bricks

Colourful donkey

Hitching a lift

A lad on his bike got lucky and hitched a lift on the roof of the landy to the main road where we left him to enjoy the enormous downhill to Jujuy. We returned to the restaurant where a bus was parked, full to bust with gringo travellers who were just leaving. Seeing their half eaten plates of lunch made us hungry and we spent our last 3 pesos on some sandwiches. We filled up with diesel using US$40 and set off up to the Paso de Jama to Chile.

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