Monday 29 March 2010


I eventually woke to find Humahuaca bathing in magical early evening light. Everything in the town was glowing, I had to rub my eyes to believe it. I strolled around for a while, fuelled by my third gatorade of the day, snapping away. I couldn't face a proper meal and survived on a few alfajores bought off some dude. First impressions again (not counting the walk from bus to bed) and this is my favourite of the three towns I've stayed in in Jujuy.

Come morning I am feeling normal again. I decide to take a cab to a hillside cemetery we passed in the bus and I'd read about in the guides. I trawl Frommers and the Lonely Planet looking for it's name but the entry seems to have mysteriously vanished. I splutter out my request to the taxistas and head off. After a while, no cemetery. Definitely not where I left it. Then it transpires that the one I'm looking for is Maimara, which is south of Tilcara, not Humahuaca. God I must have been tired. I basically forgot a whole day. 30 pesos later and my cabbie drops me at Humahuaca cemetery instead, which he insists is very nice. And it is.

Their cemeteries here are alive with colour, and they build little houses for the dead people to live in. It's Saturday morning and the place is buzzing with people, tending graves, arranging flowers, and there's even a new guy being interned. I feel awkward strolling about with my camera, an obvious gringo, but everyone smiles and says hello. They really are great. Everyone raves about Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, but given the choice, I'd definitely rather see out eternity here, away from all the pollution, cats, famous dead people and American tourists.

I walk back into town past the monumento a los héroes de la Independencia. I'm sure they'd be proud of it. It towers over the town, fist clenched and raised triumphantly. Which is pretty much how I feel when I get to the top of all those steps.

It's Saturday. I had thought about taking the tren a las nubes - a crazy train ride that takes you up into the Andes on a winding, spiralling track. It is meant to be amazing. But you're on the train for 17 hours. I sit in the Plaza Santo Gomez, sipping gatorade in the shade, watching the world go by and congratulate myself on not going. A cute little kid picks the right moment to ask me to buy her some food and walks off with ice creams in every pocket. Once I get lunch out of the way, I'll be ready to leave. Sadly.

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