Week 03-2019. Amersfoort (January 13-20). Aruba, Curacao, Nederland (2000-01-13/20)

01 ijselberch vuilnis After comments to the landlord, this situation was cleared.
Sunday, 13 January 2019. Amersfoort.
Early in the morning I went downstairs for a cup of coffee. Grace, another inhabitant, appeared to be there too. She had found the lost remote control for the television. She found it, wet and inoperable, in the dustbin in the kitchen. I took it upstairs, removed the batteries and put it onto the radiator. After that I went to church. After the interesting service, I drove to Hollandsche Rading to visit my friend there. She is still recovering from treatment in hospital. Toets, the dog, was extremely glad to see me again. I told my friend that in church, they had asked for a bicycle, meant to be given to a lady in need. She offered her folding bicycle. The bicycle is parked at the nearby railway station. We go to pick it up and I put it in my car. I walk Toets.
In Eemnes I drink coffee and talk with my daughter in law. She is lately very busy, organising her life and boys. Marnix is going out for a walk, which he more often does lately.

02 leusderweg onderhanden The street where I do my shopping usually.
Monday. In the morning I did my shopping, buying enough food for at least one week. For the first time, my grandson contacted me, rudimentary but still, he did. After shopping, I worked the whole day on my laptop, reorganising the data stored on various external carriers. A woman called me. She is connected to church and told me the background of the lady for whom she was trying to find a bicycle. I promised to sent her a picture of the bicycle. They are then waiting for any other offers, because maybe a folding bicycle may not be the ideal in this case.

03 vouwfiets voor diaconie (1) Bicycle donated by my friend.
Tuesday. I posted a real handwritten birthday card in the little super at the hospital terrain. In the afternoon I went to a shop specialised in recycled goods and bought 8 cook books to hand to my niece as a birthday present. At home I cooked spaghetti and listened to one of the young other inhabitants. Much of the day I heard about the situation in England, where the prime minister is fighting to get her plans for Brexit through parlement. She failed to do so.
Wednesday. The whole day I stayed behind my laptop, busy with data reorganisation.
Thursday. Also today I did not go out, but I finished, at last, the reorganisation of data. After dinner, I left my eyes to rest and went down to the living room for the rest of the evening.

04 afleveren fiets op enk in amersfoort (3) The donated bicycle is taken inside for safe keeping.
Friday. One of my fellow residents tells me she is getting nervous and restless. Some weeks ago she met a man, who appeared to like her. This man however, went on holiday but is coming back next Monday. Excitement with my fellow resident is the result. The previous week, I was in hospital to have my blood tested. I now rang my family doctor to hear the result. I heard that my LDL (cholesterol level) is a bit too high and I need vitamine D, 800 i.e. (international equivalent) per day. The shortage of vitamin D seems to be normal for especially older people. The LDL level surprised me a bit. The doctor blames smoking and the consumption of alcohol. She tells me again to reduce it. I bought vitamine D tablets and when smoking or drinking my wine, I am thinking of the recommendations.
Halfway the afternoon I went to deliver the folding bicycle. I met the mother of the lady who needed the bice. She told me that her daughter cried when she heard that a bicycle was coming her way.

05 party sanne and bart (1) Party location in Roelofarendsveen.
Saturday, 19th January 2019. Today I really worked to find another car that might suit me. I have a lot of documentation and visited a number of dealers, where I pictured cars of my liking. After dinner I prepare myself, shower and shave, to leave for Roelofarendsveen. I arrive at the given location, where I meet the hosts for this birthday party, I am one of the first guests. The party is held in a wine-bar, brand new and not officially opened yet. The party started at 21:00 and finished around midnight. It was a pleasant party. I got safely home in Amersfoort, relaxed for half an hour in the livingroom and went to bed at 01:30.

1998 to 2000. The adventure in Argentina, riding from Ushuaia to La Quiaca at the Bolivian border, a visit to Bolivia and flights from La Paz, to Lima, to Aruba, to Curacao and finally back to the Netherlands.

07 34a 13-1-2000 aruba, mandy en tom prins Friends at Aruba.
Aruba. Wednesday the 12th of January I arrived at Aruba, where I was met with friend living there. The next day we went around the island, visited some of the special places and had a fine day. Of course I did have a lot to tell, while they on their side had a lot to tell too. After two lovely days, I took a plane to Curacao.

08 14-1-2000 kura hulanda museum Museum visited.

06 00a 16-1-2000 curacao wandelen met remco Walking Curacao.Curacao. At Curacao lives the son of my oldest brother. He and his wife awaited me at the airport from where we drove to their home. I stayed with them the 15th, the 16th and left the on Monday the 17th. They showed me around this Dutch island, with its rich history.

09 4a 16-1-2000 curacao willemstad Willemstad, harbour.

On Tuesday the 18th I travelled back to my home country: Holland.
Netherlands. At Schiphol airport I was met by my brother in law, Paul. I remember from that arrival one thing in particular. Walking through the large airport entrance hall, I was babbling with excitement. He all of a sudden said: Those women are looking at you. Totally unaware, I replied ‘where, what’? I never saw them, did I care? Not one bit. I stayed with him and his family in Leyden for a while. My apartment in Amersfoort had still to be cleared as far as I remember. There was enough to do in Leyden: telling stories, seeing my old mother in her apartment in Leiderdorp etcetera.
That was the last physical part of my adventure: The end.

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Week 02-2019. Amersfoort (January 06-13). 2000-01-06/12 Bolivia, Chili, Aruba.

62 regenboog boven de bergkerk Winter in Amersfoort.

Sunday, 6 January 2019. Amersfoort. Arriving at the church, there was a beautiful rainbow, extremely clear and exactly over the church. My friend Hanke had a difficult week, with surgery and anaesthetics. Her body is known to react on anaesthetics very bad, with a lengthy recovering time. I did not visit her, after consultation, and went straight to Eemnes. My daughter in law asked me to join her visiting a friend who is diagnosed for cancer, but I resigned and went home.

61 sneeuw in medzilaborce (2) Winter in Medzilaborce (Slovakia)
Monday. The RSCPA asked me to bring a tiny hedgehog to the sanctuary in Huizen. The rest of the day, I did my laundry and continued working on my blog about the previous week. A disturbing situation happened: the top of my left hand index finger started to itch and got black. It disappeared after a lot of massage. I decided to ring my family doctor tomorrow because I suspected to have a thrombosis.

71 huizen, egel opvang Hedgehog sanctuary.
Tuesday. The family doctor was apparently so busy, that I did not manage to get the assistent on the phone for an appointment. I kept of course a good interest in my finger. The colouring and tingling occurred from time to time, but I managed to rub it away each time. My friend in Rotterdam is busy organising a daytrip to Terneuzen, where contractors are busy with the construction of a new sluices complex.

81 honden in behandeling bij lenka (1) A dog treated by my friend in Slovakia.
Wednesday. I got hold of my family doctor and she took a look and heard what I had experienced. She is also thinking of a micro-thrombosis and strongly advised me to stop smoking. Smoking is, in her opinion, the habit that causes this situation. She hands me a prescription for a blood-thinner: aspirin. Further more she is sending an application for me to see a specialist in hospital. I go to the hospital for them to take blood samples.

91 prik receptie meander Meander hospital.

I will get the result of testing somewhere next week. I do some shopping and go see some car-dealers, because I am still looking for another car. After midnight I manage to get my blog for week 01 published, at last.

92 nissan note (1) Nissan Note?
Thursday. Another day of visiting car-dealers, listening to their sales talk and looking into cars. The choice is becoming more and more difficult. I made an appointment with my former landlady in Middelburg, to spent a weekend there. It is long since I visited her. The rest of the day I worked on getting the documentation from 2018 out of the way and organise the documentation for this new year.

101 toyota c-hr Toyota C-HR?
Friday. My alarm woke me up at half past five. I planned to go to the ‘Holiday fare’ in Utrecht and wanted to be there early in the morning, avoiding the ‘rush hour’. I took the bus at 08:10 and did arrive at the fair around 9 o’clock.

111 utrecht cs-jaarbeurshallen Utrecht, CS.

That is early, but unfortunately I was unaware of the fact that visitors were only getting in at 10 o’clock. When in, at last, I walked around especially looking for a tour operator who could inform me about the options for my friend in Kharkiv to serve them as city guide. I got the information: tour operators are all sending their requests to the governmental organisation. That centralised organisation is then organising with their contacts locally. So my friend must get himself entered in the files of the organisation. I told him that and he was not too happy about it, because he does not trust those governmental institutions.

112 beeld vakantie beurs Holiday fair Utrecht.

113 voigt travel foto op vakantiebeurs Destiny Iceland.
Back from the fair, I again went to some car-dealers. I think, that this weekend or early next week, I will take a decision about another car.

114 zeist Back to home via Zeist.
Saturday, 12th January 2019. Today is a grey day, drairy, wet, but not cold. I stayed indoor, plenty to do here. Communication with friends and family. Preparing my blog a bit faster than the one from last week.

Bolivia, public transport.
Week 01. In Oruro, the “Capital Folklórica de Bolivia, there are many small businesses where they produce the beautiful dresses for the carnaval. There is also a ‘soccer academy’ in Oruro.

201a 4-01-2000 landkaart

Week 02. Thursday, 6th January 2000.
Oruro. There is much to do in Oruro, but I want to be back in Holland around mid-january. I take a bus to La Paz, this time without taking notes. The bus goes fast on the good tarmac surfaced road, passing Carcollo and Sica Sica. The scenery is interesting enough.

202a 7-1-2000 la paz plattegrond
Friday. La Paz is an interesting town, laying in a valley with high cliffs on all sides. With the small town map I got at the bus station, I try to find my way through the sometimes very narrow, busy streets. I find lodging in a backpackers hostel. Walking around in the neighbourhood, I meet both Swiss nurses again and also the German with whome I did the trip in Uyuni. We again discuss trips in this area. I go alone, because they want to do more than I do. We eat together.

 


Saturday. I get a bus to Tiwanaka.

212a 8-1-2000 la paz-titikaka meer

In Tiwanaka there is a large site depicting the remains of the local ancient Indians culture. Many of the constructions are ‘rebuild’ to show more of it for tourists. It looks a bit like a museum. One of the most known assets is the ‘gate of the sun’.

 

They say that standing in this gate, the Tiwanaka could address an enormous crowd without our modern possibilities. Small children are busy around the site, knocking larger stones open to see if there are fossils inside. If they find one, they sell it to tourists.

223a 8-1-2000 bolivië ruines tiwanaka cultuur, kinderen die souvenirs en fossielen verkopen

I was unable to take pictures at the next stop, the borders of lake Titikaka, because I don’t have a spare film for my camera. That is a pity. Once back in La Paz and with a new film in my camera, I walk around again and now I buy some souvenirs.

225a 8-1-2000 la paz, plein voor kathedraal san francisco
Sunday. As usual, I am not travelling today. I came across a young woman called Heidi. She travels alone and was looking for company, to go a bit deeper into the town. We ended up at a high point from where you have a splendid view across town. Today I booked a flight to Lima for tomorrow.

 


Monday. I flew to Lima, where I bought a ticket to Aruba. I did have time enough to go into town for a couple of hours. The one thing I remember from Lima, was the atmosphere: very hot and very sticky humidity.

231a 10-1-2000 lima gids

I hired a cap to drive around town and take me back to the airport in due time. What I saw from Lima is only a faint feeling and not very interesting. I rang a befriended couple in Aruba. They have a big house and space for me: I can stay for some nights. The flight to Aruba is leaving very late and I do spent a lot of time at the airport.
Tuesday. There is a time difference between Lima and Aruba, so I do arrive there not too early. I am awaited by my friends and they take me to their home, where we spent the rest of the day. Of course I do have enough to tell them. We are going out to town for a lovely evening with a fine dinner.

 


Wednesday, 12th January 2000. My hosts take me around Aruba. The weather is like what you expect on this small island: lovely.

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Week 01-2019. Amersfoort (December 30-31/January 01-06). Bolivia 1999-12-30/2000-01-05.

 

01 wonen op terrein waar ziekenhuis de lichtenberg stond Former site of a hospital, now developed for expensive livings. 

Sunday, 30 December 2018. Amersfoort. The usual Sunday-sequence was a bit of a gamble, because my car has start problems. Fortunately I managed to get the machine going after each stop: at home, at the church, in Hollandsche Rading and also in Eemnes. Toets, the Springer Spaniel of my friend in Hollandsche Rading, is panicking each time when it hears fireworks. Her panick is such, that she hides in the darkest spots and she is trembling from fear. Usually she is given seductive medicin to calm her down. This time, I suggest to take care of her at the New Years Eve.

02 mijn werkplek My desk.
Monday, 31 December 2018. My friend agreed to leave Toets with me for the night. I picked her up. The fireworks around my living was only very limited, fortunately. I did not like the traditional NYE show, got sleepy and went to bed at eleven o’clock. Toets was not very upset, but 15 minutes before midnight, the fireworks became a bit heavier. Toets climbed onto my bed looking for cover. I kept her there until half past midnight. The fireworks subsided and Toets went to her place underneath my bed. I did not hear her anymore.

03 troep van oud naar nieuw jaar Result of celebrations.
Tuesday, 01 January 2019. Late in the afternoon, I took Toets back to Hollandsche Rading and went, from there, to my family in Eemnes. When I wanted to start my car to go back to Amersfoort, I refused. With the help of a friend and jump leads, the car started without a problem. I came home without further difficulties.

04 vriendjes Friends.
Wednesday. With the help of a technician in my apartment building, I started my car and took it to the workshop, where I left it to have the start problems solved. One of the other tenants came to my door. She carried an enormous pan with soup: she cooked too much. She offered me soup for three days. Very tasty soup, now in my freezer.

05 auto zoeken I am searching a new car

Thursday. I only went out for a walk.

06 weg der weegen sortie 4 A lane developed in the 19th century.
Friday. In the afternoon I walked to the workshop, to see what they are doing to my car. They told me that they could only find a very bad battery. Their advise: buy a new car and for now a new battery. I am looking for a car, but have not yet decided. I told them to fit a new battery. I can pick up my car again, tomorrow, after the new battery is placed.

07 ikea Helping a friend.
Saturday, 5th January 2019. In the morning I picked up my car, with the new battery. With one of my fellow tenants, I went to Ikea to buy a writing desk and a good chair. In the afternoon I visited an elderly couple of friends in Amersfoort. The possess a Renault Scenic, over 15 years old but very good looking and with only 118.000 kilometers on the teller. With the owner, 91 years old, I made a test ride. Back at home he told me the price for it, which I considered much too high. I told him so, therefor, no deal. The couple are no longer using the car, so it will be sold eventually, but not to me.

 

Bolivia, public transport.

08 michael 008 22-12-1999 argentinië humahuaca

The last picture from Argentina: Humahuaca.

Week 52. On Friday the 24th of December, coming from Humahuaca, I considered my trip in Argentina finished and crossed the border into Bolivia. I did get information about the Reserva Nacional de fauna andina Eduardo Avaroa. I met a young German guy. With him I continued my journey starting at Villazon. We travelled to Uyuni. In Uyuni, we met two Swiss nurses. The four of us decided to hire a tour operator to take us on an adventurous trip into the South-West of Bolivia. Our basic objective was to see the famous Salar de Uyuni at 3653 meters above sea-level. The trip was to be with a Toyota Landcruiser, the driver and a cook. We took off from the town of Uyuni, early in the morning of Wednesday the 29th of December 1999. The salt lake is not far from Uyuni. Soon we were driving on the salt lake and stopped at the ‘Hotel de Sal’. Everything there is made of salt, even the toilets. We had a good look and continued, passing Isla Pescado and further on, to our first stop for the night, in San Juan.

09 19991229 reserva nacional (4)

10 19991229 reserva nacional (6)

11 19991229 reserva nacional (1)

Week 01. Thursday, 30th December 1999. From San Juan, we drove on to ‘Laguna Colorado’ where we stopped for this day. At Laguna Colorado they have a large complex for travellers. It does not look like a hotel, but effectively it is. During this trip, where we passed the 4000m above sea level, our companion Michael developed heights thickness. Fortunately he could manage it and stay with us, but with a terrible headache and a disturbed stomach. The scenes seen on the way are fantastic, with lakes, steaming holes, hot pools and volcanos.

 


Friday 31. From the hostel at Laguna Colorado we were to undertake a very long drive, first to Laguna Verde and then back tracking onto Villa Alota, where we would stay for the night and experience the change of the century, from the 20th century into the 21st century. It was a tremendous experience to go have a bath, nude, in a hotwater volcanic pool at this altitude.

 

Again we saw volcanos towering high in the sky, snow capped mountains and a barren environment, dessert with fantastic natural sculptures like ‘trees from stone’. At Lago Verde we took a short break again, before returning more or less the same route, changing at Laguna Khara. We entered Villa Alota early in the evening, installed ourselves in again some sort of a hostel, enjoyed the cooking of our cook. After that we were free to walk around and watch the locals prepare for the festivities coming with the change of the century. In a community building they all came together, men and women. I missed children. In the community hall there was a band playing and the locals danced. This dance was with one row of men and opposite a row with women. I asked one woman to join me, she smiled showing a mouth with a lot of rotten teeth but refused. I suppose that she will never forget the occasion.

19 michael 011 31-12-1999 villa alota festivities

Outside the building we met an elderly woman carrying an enormous kettle. She was pretty drunk already, in her traditional dress with her bowler hat on the side of her head, pouring a home-made strong alcoholic liquid from her cattle into any cup held up to her. The drink tasted very well, but I was a bit weary about drinking it, knowing that these home-made alcoholic drinks are often containing the poisonous methyl alcohol. It was a fun night all together. At midnight we spotted three flares going up in the air, and that was it: no further fire works.
Saturday. 1st January 2000. Villa Alota. Before leaving, we went through the village, if you can call it that, spotting quite a lot of men totally passed out laying around. It must have gone on, the festivities and the drinking, for quite some hours. On the way back to Uyuni we passed again some absolutely terrific views. Somewhere halfway, the car got stuck in a mudpool. With the help of another car we managed to free the car and carry on. It had been a trip well worth the money.

 


Sunday. I don’t remember much of this day, but I stayed in Uyuni.

23 michael 002 01-01-2000 kerk in uyuni Church in Uyuni.
Monday. Uyuni. Today I walked through town, like yesterday.

 

Tuesday. How I got there, I don’t know, but I went to a town called Chita. Here I did find a map covering this part of Bolivia, up to La Paz. Effectively this is the province of Potosi. From Chita I took the train to Oruro. On the way, in the train, I wrote some remarks on my map.

26 20000104 landkaart

In Chita I saw strange livings with thatched roofs, maybe originating from indigenous Indians. Further along we came through an area with high snow-capped mountains, a valley with lots of greens, water, large herds of sheep and llama’s with shepherds, a fertile valley with some agriculture, even a tarmac surfaced road and for the first time an area with trees. We passed Lago Uru Uru with only little water but much salt. At 18:15 we at last arrived in Oruro.

 


Wednesday, 05th January 2000. It is a pity, but I don’t have many pictures from my day in Oruro. I bought a ticket for a bus tour in the area. There is an interesting complex with old trains. One train is especially made for war, because it is fitted with a tank.

30 20000106 plattegrond oruro

 

Maintenance on the old trains at the complex does not take place, as far as I can see. In Oruro, the “Capital Folklórica de Bolivia, there are many small businesses where they produce the beautiful dresses for the carnaval. There is also a ‘soccer academy’ in Oruro.

 


							
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Week 52-2018. Amersfoort (December 23-30). Argentina on horseback. 1999. (December 23-24.) Entry into Bolivia.

Sunday, 23 December 2018. IJburg. The weather is boring: a grey sky, drizzle, hardly wind. Marley is asleep. My laptop is dead. At a certain moment, the screen went on black and I was unable to switch the laptop off. I left it, off the mains to die. Fortunately I have the laptop of my niece and all my work is always done on a memory stick, so I can do some work. I wanted to go to church, but when I encountered the problem with the laptop, time passed so I stayed at home. I managed to publish my blog. Another problem pops up: the television is no longer working. Today I had to cook. From the freezer I found a large piece of pig meat. I cooked it in the oven, on hot air. I did find rice, an onion, a carrot and some other vegetables. When done, it was enough and tasted very well.

 

Marley, unleashed.                         View from balcony, to A10
Monday. IJburg. Today the weather is splendid, sunny and no wind. The streets are absolutely silent, so I decide to let the Ridgeback walk unleashed for the first time. It appeared to be no problem what so ever. She stayed with me or at least ‘in sight’. This is how I like it: a dog keeping track of me instead of the other way around. She clearly trusts me. Other dogs don’t bother her and with some she plays a bit. One of the friends of the owners of the house came. She borrowed glasses and plates for her X-mas dinner. I ate the same meat as yesterday, the other half of it. This year I had decided not to sent seasons greetings by post. Instead I had prepared a nice picture from Bolivia and sent that to all my friends and family. In the evening I started the work on my blog for this week.

 

Turkey on the table in Barendrecht.             View to the right from balcony.

Tuesday. IJburg-Amersfoort-Barendrecht-IJburg. On our early morning walk, we met a man with a black dog. The man appeared to be an acquaintance of my niece. The man was very pleased to see Marley and his dog play, because up to now they had always been fighting. Marley follows me and the black dog as well. Its boss has to go through some length to get her back to follow him. After my lunch I managed to get Marley into my car and drove to Barendrecht. On the motorway my car caused me some problems, but I managed to keep it going and arrived at the adress, where I was expected to join the family in their Christmas dinner. The dinner was fantastic and we had a very pleasant evening playing some funny games. With a full stomach and a happy feeling, I returned to IJburg. Starting my car appeared to be an adventure, but after it agreed to start, I did not have any further difficulties.

 

Dinner table in Oegstgeest.  Bridge from A10 into IJburg.
Wednesday. IJburg-Oegstgeest-IJburg. Today is ‘so called’ watercold and grey. I did suggest to go for a walk at the beach in Katwijk, but Marley does not like water and she does not like cold weather either. So, I gave up the idea to go for a beach-walk. I had to lift Marley into my car. She is not keen on going in, since she had a bad experience a couple of weeks ago with a ‘dog walking firm’. She had to be propped into a much too small bench in a similar car as mine. Her memory is not bad and apparently it had been a traumatic experience for her. With my nephew in Oegstgeest, where I am going for a ‘Michelin stars’ like dinner, Marley is not allowed to get into the house. I understand and accept that, knowing that there will be also three little girls playing around. I have no idea how Marley would react on those playing kids. Starting the car was again an adventure: at the second hiccup I managed to get the machine running. That is the advantage of diesel engines: when the run, they keep running. So, we arrived in Oegstgeest without problems. In the kitchen there, three men were busy preparing the 8 course dinner. The different courses were specialities of either of these three men, my brother in law, his son and the husband of the daughter of my youngest sister. We were with 7 adults and three young girls. The dinner was fantastic again, with a completely different characteristic as the dinner from yesterday. Again, I returned home to IJburg, absolutely satisfied with this evening and the behaviour of Marley. Walking Marley in between dishes was no problem, even without her being on a leash. The only difficulty occurs when approaching the car: Marley is then playing and avoiding me from catching her. I have to trick her and that always works with me. We came home, not to late. I had been very good at dinner, only drinking veeeeerry little. So back at home I enjoyed a good glass of whisky: gift from the owners of dog and house.

 

View from balcony to the left.                        Unpacking the car.
Thursday. IJburg. After again a very good night sleep, in the bed of one of the daughters, I got up not too early. I was told that a technician was expected to arrive around 10 o’clock. This technician was to change the power supply to suit the need for charging the new car of the lord of the house, a Tesla type X of all beasts. The technician arrived, a very quiet man in his 50th, lefty, like me. He was ready in no more then 75 minutes. When he was ready I checked the systems for internet and television: all functions were alive. I had my lunch, walked Marley and started the wait for the family, coming back from their short holiday in the Italian Dolomites. The revival of the family was quite a noisy one: Marley had to allow lots and lots of cuddles. We have a drink together, after which they are unpacking the car and get their luggage back into storage. Ferry is organizing himself fitting a new bicycle. He needs that tonight, going to a late party in Paradiso. Fabienne is going to the hairdresser. Bo is busy on her tablet. I follow Annelies, walking Marley. While Ferry is still preparing for his ‘Brexit’party, we go to a nearby restaurant as advance party. Later we are joined by Fabienne and Ferry as well. We had diner there. When back from the restaurant, Ferry leaves on his new bike and Fabienne goes see a friend. The remaining lot is going home, walking Marley and going to bed early. I stay up till late, awaiting Fabienne to come home, because we had planned to play another game of yatzee. Just after midnight I gave up waiting and went to bed too.

 

Amsterdam, central station.                                  View across ‘the IJ’ behind CS.
Friday. IJburg-Amersfoort. On Tuesday I left Barendrecht, but forgot to take my camera with me. My niece there had planned to go to a concert with my sister, in Amsterdam. We agreed to meet there today at 13:45. She could then give me my camera. I asked my niece Annelies to come with me and show me some of Amsterdam. I was involved in the construction of the first underground railway and so far I have never travelled in it. So, she agreed. First we took a tram to Central Station. The crowd of tourists is astonishing there. We changed tram and arrived a bit late at the Concert Hall, but we met with the other niece. She handed me my camera and quickly left to her concert. We walked around in town, had a good cup of coffee and then returned to the Central Station using the newly opened underground line North-South. The station were we boarded is looking good but still a bit barren. Very functional but not yet ‘lived in’. At the CS we walked through the underground systems which is turned into a pleasant large, good looking shopping mall. There I bought a little present for the daughter of my niece, because she had allowed me to sleep in her bed, in her room. Back at home we heard the funny stories from my nieces husband, about his party the other night. It had been a very strange but agreeable party, from which he came home at 7 in the morning. I stayed for dinner and that was convenient, because I did not like to drive through the evening rush hour traffic. I went into my car, while they were looking on and I was hoping it would start. It did, fortunately, and I drove back home to Amersfoort without any difficulty. That is the beauty of Diesel driven cars: when they are started, they run and carry on, even with possibly a faulty dynamo.
Saturday, 29 December 2018. My plan was, to take my car to the workshop and leave it there for investigation and eventually for repair. I rang them and was told that they closed for a week, until the second week in January. Friends in Amersfoort had, three weeks ago, offered me to buy their car. So I rang them, but now I heard that one of their own sons was interested in buying it. That option was no longer valid. I left it at that and hoped for the best for the coming days. The rest of the day I worked on my laptop and went to bed a bit early.
Argentina on horseback. 1999. December 23-24.
Week 51. For afters I get a sort of sweet thick sludge with walnuts on top. These villages are much prettier than the towns. At 21:30 I am finished eating. The village is now totally silent, so I go to my hostel and to bed, early.

00 Kaart week 52 Jujuy From Purmamarca to La Quiaca.

Week 52. Thursday, 23rd December 1999.
From Purmamarca. It is a sunny day, so I should see the coloured mountains very well. My taxi arrives in time, at 09:00 as promised. We drive into the mountains, around a large hill. There we stop to make a good picture. That works well. Like I expected, the colours are similar to what I saw much nicer in Chubut. Real tourist blabla: unique, nowhere as nice as here, etcetera. But, there are very nice views. We make a short tour around the area after which the driver proposes to take me to Tilcara. It would cost me $10.

 

Purmamarca and vicinity.

The alternative is to wait along the road for a bus. The bus may or may not come, it may or may be not stop. I agree, the taxi takes me to Tilcara, via de Quebrada de Humahuaca. It is a lovely and beautiful ride, with the coloured hills to the left. The rain has eroded the soft red stone, leaving the most fantastic formations. I saw a large perpendicular mountain wall with rounded colomns, like a cathedral. To the right I saw the fertile valley with agriculture, fresh green, trees, boarded by the slopes of hills and mountains: barren with the exception of enormous quantities of cactusses. Those ‘quebradas’ are sometimes hundreds of meters wide, but regularly also not much wider than under a 100 meters. At these narrow passes, there is no vegetation at all, only the bed of the Rio Grande and the dusty road.

 

Pucara at Tilcara. Archeology.   Stone sounding as a bell.

There you see ‘river works’ formed by three or more sturdy tree trunks placed as an arrow like guide, with the space in the fork filled with large cobbles. These constructions serve as a protection for the riverbanks and the road, in case the waterlevel rises. The taxi drops me off at the square in Tilcara. I like what I see. I looks friendly, small with only 3000 inhabitants at a height level of 3000m above sea level, which is in general the case here. At the square, in the shadow, I drink coffee and eat a sandwich cheese with mayonaise. They don’t use butter here. Then I go to the tourist office for information. The friendly young woman there, gives met a good map of the village, with information about the sites to see. The most important to see, is at the entrance of the village: a reconstruction of a stronghold from a pré-Columbian indian tribe. I leave my week-end bag at the tourist office and go walk the route along the sites indicated on my map. First is a cute little museum with paintings from Argeninian painters, all twentieth century. Free entrance. Then the archeological museum, entry $2 which is including the entrance to the Pucará and Altura with a good map and descriptions.

17 23-12-99 Tilcara monument van de Pucará Reconstruction at Pucara.

The archeological museum is compact and well organised. They even have their displays in English explained. There are finds from various eras and locations in Peru, Bolivia, Chili and North Argentina. After the museum I am hungry and eat at a windy terrace. After that I walk along, via the small church with paintings from depicting the area and with the unavoidable sculptures of saints. A showcase along the road shows a large urn found during the construction of a new house. Next there is a beautiful tree with a memorial plaquette for one of their heros from their independance war. The road is climbing, sometimes pretty steep. It is a good walk, to the Pucará, an interesting brick construction in the form of a pyramid, an ancient burrial monument. Very young boys are selling coca leafs here. In the botanical gardens nearby, there are cactusses, edible plants, herbs for their scent and/or their curing/healing properties. There are also samples of minerals containing silver, led and sinc. There is also a very special large rock. A timber club lays next to it. A knock with this club to the rock makes it sound like an enormous bell. From the gardens you have a fascinating view all around, which is today especially nice because of the threatening clouds creating a very interesting light fall. I completed my touristic tour around 4 o’clock, get my bag and board a bus to Humahuaca.

 

Between Humahuaca and La Quiaca.

This bus company Eveline, I saw alreay in Salta: they drive pretty old buses. This bus is small, 32 seats, and quite new. The bus is full, a woman is standing the whole trip of 42 kilometres. I sit next to a plump man, who is starting a conversation. The bus is held up twice by a funeral procession. A heavy shower brakes loose. At one of the mountain slopes I see something new to me: enormous caved in masses of rock. It is a nice sight. These masses are usually rather instable and pretty dangerous. After another shower of any importance, these masses may collapse further and endanger traffic or livings, like it happened a short time ago in Caracas. At arrival in Humahuaca the sun shines again. Getting off the bus, I get an uneasy feeling, maybe because of the many people hanging around here. I don’t like it here. Walking around, looking and listening, my feeling does not subside. Close to the terminal there is a hostel, with 16 rooms and sort of a dorm with five beds. The hostel looks neat and clean. I hire a bed for $10, leave my bag and hat and walk around town a bit. I buy peaches and mango. I eat these sitting on a bench along the abandoned railway, accompanied by two women who asked me to joint them in conversation. That is funny for a while. After some time, sitting there, I see a German man coming up. I met him already in Jujuy. His name is Michael. He joins me. He had been walking for 5 hours in the neighborhood. We chat about Humahuaca and our further plans. He is on his way to Bolivia, so we decide to team upand travel tomorrow together to La Quiaca. Getting a ticket is not all that easy. The bus from company Panamericana is the best one and leaves at the most convenient time, but this bus is full (that was the same in Salta). The selling points from other companies are, after we drank a beer, no longer in service. At the counter from company Balut, we manage to get a ticket, departure 10 o’clock tomorrow morning. After this buy, we go to the best restaurant here, for a meal. At half past ten, we walk back to the hostel. The town is silent now: boring. So I go to the deadsilent hostel. I am the one and only guest now. Not many tourists here. Little cheerfull. It looks as if we where, with three Swedes, the only tourists.
Friday, 24th December 1999. I am up early. I did not sleep very well. The only employee in the hostel is a quiet woman. She nevertheless talks a bit but then she goes cleaning, the doorstep and the front of the building. They all do, the women here. It is really spick and span, nearly clinical. In the restaurant at the terminal, I use breakfast and write diary. Busses are constantly coming and going, 24 hours per day. I don’t have a ‘Christmas’ mood. There are, everywhere, tiny plastic Christmas trees with silver balls, red ribbons and strings of colourful flashing lights. I hear no Christmas music. At 09:45 Michael arrives and I finish my writing. We use breakfast together, for me the second one. The coffee is excellent and the croissants are not bad. Michael hits the just word: the atmosphere here is like a grave yard. The bus, which should leave here at 10, arrives at 10:10, together with two other buses from the same company. Employees are vehemently organising, resulting in a bus for us, leaving at 11:15. The scenery is changing dramatically fast, into absolute dessert again, with these fantastic rock formations from where the softer red stone, used mainly to built their houses, is eroded by the short but fierce showers. Halfway La Quiaca we pass a line of hills rising up from the flat land, in a beautiful gradation of colours. Often these gradiants are from nearby not very notible, but here the distinction between colours from the various earthlayers remain very clear also from close view. Between hill tops there are bridges from a harder type of rock. In the deeper parts of the land, there are fresh green strips of vertile clay. There is a dry steady warm wind across the flat lands. Donkeys and Llama’s (vicuña) walk free around, lazily looking for the scarce edibles. Now and then there are some more vertile strips, where colourfully dressed Indian women keep watch over their herds of cows and goats. We arrive in La Quiaca at 14:00 o’clock. It is stock-still. We dump our luggage and walk to the town centre. Everything is, of course, closed. We go first for information, but we give up soon. A couple of fat rain drops fall when we pass the border into Bolivia. We were told that we could pass, without any identity check and that appears to be true. We just have a chat with the border police.

23 26-12-99 37 grens Argentinië-Bolivië

In Villazón, Bolivia, the atmosphere is totally different. Close to the border the small businesses start. We carry on walking to the town square. It feels good and pleasant, so we decide to go back and pick up our luggage with the idea to spend Christmas here. We take a taxi to the border, where we go to a money exchange shop. The Argentine peso makes 5,8 Bolivianos, for an American doller you get 5,95 Bolivianos. I do have 200 pesos, but even exchangeing centavos is no problem here. Then we go to a building where they supply tourist information. At the ground floor is a Chinese restaurant. The ‘informant’ appears to be a tour operator. Useless. They don’t have a map from Bolivia nor a map from this town.

 

Population in Villazon, Bolivia.

They try to sell us an excursion of 4 days (3 nights) for $550 along a series of sites interesting for Michael. We both find the price to high. It would have been okay with another three travellers. We did not see any other tourists, so we consider this a no go situation. At the square we find a hotel with nice rooms and good hard matrasses on the beds and with a bathroom. We drop our things in the rooms and go on tour, on foot. Also here one cannot call it a real Christmas atmosphere. A few blinking tiny trees and continuously moaning Christmas songs. Everywhere there are minuscule market stalls, mostly in the middle of the street or at the walkway. There are also some permanent market-buildings. We cover them all. Then, I feel tired, it is already dark and it is one hour earlier than in Argentina. I go to my room for a nap. Michael carries on with his research, especially for a town map or one of Bolivia: he did not find either. He comes back with a thunderstorm and heavy showers. When the showers are gone, we go out for a meal at the Chinese restaurant. The owner is a Taiwan-Chinese already 18 years living here. He moved here from New York, quite a difference. The food is not very good, but it is cheap. For 10 Bolivianos you eat well, with a bottle of tasty wine included. After our dinner we walk around a bit more through the pleasant crowd, and go to bed early.
Here ends my diary about the adventurous trip through Argentina on horse-back.

Bolivia.

Saturday. Christmas day, 25th December 1999. With Michael, German, who agreed to accompany me for a while in Bolivia, we explored Villazon, just across the Argentinian border. We hired a taxi to show us around the immediate vicinity.

21 25-12-99 35 met taxi de stad Villazon rond, oostrand=Rio Quaiaca sterk vervuild River at Villazon.
Sunday. We travelled from Villazon to Tupiza, where we found a reasonable backpacker.  In Tupiza we talked about making a trip to Uyuni and the salt lake. We found an operator. Because of the cost, we went around and found two Swiss nurses who agreed to join us. 24 25-12-99 Touroperator Bolivia info

 

Monday. Explore Tupiza. 25 27-12-99 Tupiza 27-12-1999
Tuesday. Explore Tupiza. 26 27-12-1999 Tupiza
Wednesday, 29 December. With a Toyota landcruiser, a driver and a cook, the four of us started this four day trip to the South-West of Bolivia. We took off pretty early.

27 29-12-99 Salar de Uyuni Isla de Pescade 29-12-1999 Isla de Pescade in Salar de Uyuni.

28 29-12-99 Cactus op Isla de Pescade in het Salar de Uyuni 29-12-1999 Vegetation on Isla de Pescada.

30 29-12-99 Zoutwinning op Salar de Uyuni 29-12-1999 Salt exploration from Salar de Uyuni.

31 29-12-99 onderkomens gebouwd van zoutblokken, midden op het Salar de Uyuni Michael and Barbara at the hotel in the middle of the salar, completely built from salt blocks, including even the toilets.

 

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Week 51-2018. Amersfoort (December 16-23). Argentina on horseback. 1999. (December 16-22.)

Sunday, 16 December 2018. Amersfoort. During the night there was a lot of noise opposite my apartment. I heard arguing from neighbours. Not so strange, because the new tenant is playing his music very loud and he has visitors till early in the morning. His neighbour is a long time tenant and he does not agree with all this, so he reacted. I go to church. After church I was back in the block to pick up my cell-phone. One of the tenants was about to leave for his home country: Sri Lanka. He is making this trip, because his 71y older brother is very ill and may die. I carry on to my usual round: my friend in Hollandsche Rading and my family in Eemnes. In Eemnes it is a bit of a mess: my grandson is cross. He threatens to walk out, away from home. He calms down later and when I leave, the situation seems normalised. Later that evening however, I get a ring from my daughter in law. She is in hospital with my grandson, who appeared to have swallowed an overdoses of pills. I stay up for further developments, but at 02:00 at night I go to bed.

01 Snow in Amersfoort The first snow.
Monday. The day is a bit of turmoil. I don’t get any news until late at night. My grandson stays in hospital overnight. He is okay now. We agree that he having problems with regulating his emotions.

02 Fuel in Soest-Zuid Cheap diesel today.
Tuesday. At 8 I am with my friend in Hollandsche Rading. We are going to Franeker, where she might find a better place to live. I go through the polders via Lelystad and Sneek. We are well in time in Franeker for her appointment. Two apartments are available. The first one we get to see is on the third floor, with a view across a flat roof with gravel. The second apartment is slightly smaller, but does have a nice view at a gate towards the city and the city park. This second one is what she likes best. She has to go through a lot of paperwork when she wants to apply. In Franeker we have lovely coffee at the bakery. After that I turn my car back home, via the “afsluitdijk” and Medemblik. In Medemblik I stop for lunch in a lovely café called ‘De Kwikkel’ at the harbour. Back in Hollandsche Rading I don’t stay: my friend is in need of rest.

03 Franeker traditional sailing ships Franeker, traditional sailing ships.

04 Medemblik views Medemblik, view harbor to IJselmeer.
Wednesday. My niece living in Amsterdam rings. She did find a good spot to go skiing, in the Dolomites. It was half foreseen, so I packed some things and went there. The family is leaving tomorrow after school of the two daughters. I get to know the house and its specifics. I will take care of their dog, a Rhodesian Ridgeback called Marley, a bitch.
Thursday. My niece is working upstairs and her husband is gone to his business. I try to do the things necessary without the help of my niece. Around 15:00 everybody is home, the gear is packed in the car and they leave. I get a message from their first stop, necessary to charge their full electric car.

05 Annelies in de keuken Hutspot for three days.
Friday. I slept like a log. The dog is not much of a problem: she sleeps all day. Going out for a walk? No thank you. She let me know when she must go out for a poo or a pee. When that is done, she returns home as fast as possible. When she does not want to go out, she stays put even just outside the front door. I don’t like pushing her, so no walking.

06 Marley ligt Lazy Marley.
Saturday, 22 December 2018. Some shopping had to be done, so I walked into the direction where I was told to find a shopping centre. I was nearly there, walking alone without dog, when I realised that I did not have money with me. So I had to turn back. Now I wanted to go on bike. The family has 5 bicycles, two standing outside and well locked. A third bike, standing indoor, appeared to have faulty roller bearings in the steering. The next bike has a flat tyre and the last bike was locked as well. I took my own bicycle from my car, pumped up the tires with my own pump and was underway. It is nice to be independent. Later in the evening, my daughter in law rang me. She is home alone and that is rare. My grandson had a good session with a shrink, he is now staying with a school friend, the one who made him flip on Sunday.

 

IJburg, view from balcony on day time and at midnight. Walkways with obstructions.
Argentina on horseback. 1999. December 16-22.
Week 50. Later, in the gendarmerie, they confirm to me, that these bono’s are not accepted for payment in any of the other provinces of Argentina. So, I must be careful accepting them and, if spending them is not possible, I have to go to the local bank of Catamarca and exchange them, which is not really that easy they say.

00 week 51 kaart 01 From Timogasta to Catamarca and Salta 

Week 51. Thursday, 16th December 1999. I am up early and feed the horses, for the last time I suppose. It is an emotional moment when Nora comes walking up to me, without me calling. I am waiting for buyers, at first sitting next to the guardhouse on a bench, but soon it becomes too warm there. I go to the ‘casino’ and watch television. At 9:15 I go back to the guard. They sent the buyers away with the message that I am probably out, walking: the dopes. Fortunately it appears not to be too bad: there are two buyers. One of them is a tough one, a friend of Aries: he offers me $350 for only the horses. I could do that because I think to be able to sell the solar panel for $250 to David Farias. It is not necessary, because the guy who was here yesterday appears: he pays what we agreed, $600, and walks away with all three packed and saddled. I pledge a tear and force myself to turn my back. At 10:00 it is done and over. That sounds easy, but it was not.

10 Tinogasta Plan of Timogasta
I walk to the bus station. Tonight, at 01:00, there is a bus to San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca: a ride of 6 hours for $10. From there I have more options to work out my next destiny. It is hot today. I take a cup of coffee and walk into town for a lunch. I don’t buy lunch but eat a large sugar melon for $1. The melon is very tasty, sweet and juicy: when finished I am sticky on all sides. A couple of young blonde hawkers, I saw them before, try to get their bono’s swapped for real peso’s. No thanks. I keep one bono as a souvenir. I buy a small weekend bag for $3,50. I need it, because my backpack is too small for the remains of my belongings. On my way back to the gendarmerie I meet the radio journalist again. He takes me to his home, where it is pleasant and cool. He provides me with touristic documentation, which the fatty in the tourist information office was unable to do. This man is very enthusiastic and pleased with me, because I am one of very few tourists coming to Timogasta. After this encounter, I return to the gendarmeria for a shower and a nap. At 18:00 I go to the guard and asks him to arrange a meeting with the commanding officer here, 44 years old, called Morel. I am more than welcome, straight away. We drink maté, of course, and he is enthusiastic about my journey. He tells me that general Remy has issued an order to all the stations of gendarmes, to help me in everything as far as possible. Morel asks his aid to search for the address, e-mail and telephone numbers of Remy. We give the general a ring and I tell him the present status of my trip. Remy tells me that he ordered the commander of Mendoza (Welchen) to send me the pictures taken in El Sosneado. Very nice of him. From Morel I get a picture book of all the stations of gendarmes in Argentina. I recognise many of the pictures in the book, because I was there.

11 Catamarca gendarmerie Gendarmerie
Friday. The bus departs at 10 minutes past midnight. At 06:30 we arrive in Catamarca town. Much too early to go looking for lodging, so I take my time enjoying croissants with coffee. Bus terminals in Argentina are always busy and it is fun to look around. I get information about buses leaving for Salta. In Salta is where I would like to spend the Sunday. On Monday I then take a bus to La Quiaca and further on to La Paz in Bolivia. Observing the people, it strikes me that the young girls here are well fitted with large breasts, but I don’t find them attractive. I do have luggage which is not essential. I leave that at the terminal accepting the chance of it being stolen. I walk into town, where it is busy with pedestrians. When I compare the information given in my travel book with information now, I conclude that this town is losing inhabitants. I buy a pair of underpants, because the one I wear now (Hema, excellent) consists primarily of holes kept together by vague pieces of cloth. The town looks rather good. Many colonial buildings painted rose and yellow. 12 Doc Catamarca

A nice cathedral. I intend to see the inside of that cathedral tonight. Now I go find lodging. Not far from the bus terminal I find a room in a hotel, for $30. Breakfast included, own bathroom and television. I take a shower and a nap. It is warm here, no matter the ventilator on the ceiling which is, like most of them, is turning is rounds squeaking and beeping. I enjoyed a hot meal in the hotel-restaurant. Then I go to town as a real tourist, but today appears to be the ‘day of the civil servant’. Many venues are firmly closed, like the market for provincial handicraft. I visit the cathedral and that is not bad. The branded windows are very nice, and so are the paintings on ceilings and walls. There are lots of sculptures, like the one from their holy mother: ‘nueva signora del valle’. She is depicted as a showy woman with a pious but hard face. I have the idea that the population here consists of native Indians and a majority of Italians: small, often blond, noisy chatting. In town there are many street-vendors, a few beggars, loads of shoe-polishers and very noisy whistling traffic menders. There are many children, youths and pregnant young women.
Saturday. I have to hurry with my breakfast, in order to be at the bus terminal in time. I pick up the luggage I left at the terminal and take seat nr. 8 in the bus to Salta.

13 Gendarmerie

In the bus, even 4 stewardesses, like in an airplane, serving coffee, Coca Cola, cooked flan and cake. They even have a bingo with four prices! Next to me comes a young woman. She goes to Salta too, she lives there. Her name is Maria Fernanda Ten, she is a teacher at a primary school and now on holiday. She tells me that she is planning to go to Europe in 2002. I gave her my address, so she might show up one day. The bus is full. It is a warm day, half overcast sky. The scenery is green, fertile. It looks ideal for travelling on horseback, but I would have chosen a more westerly road and that road, says my neighbour Maria, would have been like a dessert. The bus stops for 5 minutes in Tucuman, a large modern city with four-lane roads, fly-overs and relatively many high-rise buildings. Later, we stop again for 5 minutes in Rosario de la Frontera, where it is straight forward hot. Here there are many horses, horse-wagons but also donkeys and mules. Our bus goes on to Jujuy, so we change bus in Villa Güemes. The change goes rapid and then, in 20 minutes, we arrive in Salta. Maria had the address of a hostel near the bus-terminal. It is a good address, a pleasant and quiet backpacker, for $8 per night. The beds are good and the people are pleasant, with a young Swiss woman at the reception. There are two patios, lovely. The backpacker is situated in opposite a large park halfway the centre of town and the terminal: very convenient. It is stinking hot when we arrive. I take a beer at the terminal. Behind me sits a German pair, not so young anymore, having a row, at least that is how it sounds to me, with the husband barking to his wife. Early in the evening there is a tiny bit of rain, cooling down the air a little. I go have dinner at a recommended restaurant, outside. A fierce thunderstorm rages, with a lot of rain. The result is fine: fresh air. On my way I notice a lot of woman, public?, hanging around. They are certainly not openly soliciting, which may be ‘not done’ here, due to a strict public policy. I am back at the hostel around 23:00, it is quiet everywhere: due to the thunderstorm? I have chat and go to bed. It is warm again and at 02:00 I get out of bed: punctured by mosquitos.


Sunday. With the night-watchman, a turned-up nosed one in his forties, I saw an old Sophia Loren film on television. These mega productions from 30 years ago remain impressive. After the film, I applied DEET all over and went to bed again. I slept excellent, till 10:00. Then, it is overcast but without rain, fortunately. They have three mountain bikes available for the lodgers. I take the only one that is functional and go around town slowly, to the places of interest far away from the centre, like the centre for local products (nice but expensive), the railway station, park 20 febrero with an enormous and heroic statue and the Palacio Legislatura (nice, big, neglected). The railway station is still functioning here, servicing a tourist train to Chili and a freight train. The train to Chili cost $90. With the freight train there are a few passengers’ places, for $12 also to Chili. The tourist train does not run in summer, the freight train however does: on Fridays going and on Tuesdays returning.

 

After this very pleasant bike-ride, I take a bus (1$) to one of the satellite towns called Quebrada’s. In this case I go to Quebrada San Lorenza, a sort of Bennekom Argentine style: they are jewels of natural beauty with a micro climate: cool in summer and not so cold in winter. The houses here are rich. The bus trip takes 30 minutes. I stay an enjoyable hour and return. In the evening it is party time in town, with hooting cars and fireworks: Soccer club “River Plate” is the champion of this season. In the hostel I chat with a nice guy from Canada, eat pancakes, drink maté. It was a nice and calm Sunday.
Monday. This was not a very fruitful day: most of the sites, interesting for tourists, are closed on Mondays. I take a cable car, uphill for $3. I hoped to find a place for breakfast at the downside or at the top: all restaurants are closed. The artificial waterfall, described in my travel guide, stands dry. The way down, via natural stone stairs is not mentioned in my guide, but after a bit of searching and deduction, I do find it and walk down. No matter the heat, there are still people going these stairs upwards. That’s not for me, thank you. Down the stairs I come to a nice statue of Güermes and a closed museum. I am by now getting really hungry, so I enter the first open restaurant, classy, Italian and pricey. The others eating here, are elderly men with voluptuous young women. Back at the hotel I go to bed. After this siesta, back into town. Only the San Francisco convent is available for a visit.

 

The wooden door is apparently something special, because it is mentioned in my guide. The interior of the cathedral is very nice, cool and has style, Christmas carols are sounding. The big altar with Maria is pompous, the candles are enormous. As always, beggars at the doors. I brought my photo film to a shop for developing and printing. Waiting for that to be ready, I sit on a terrace, watching people. Four of my shots are not printed, to dark. I go back to the hostel after buying grapes and yellow prunes. In the hostel they organised a barbecue, which I don’t attend. I write text to my printed photos. An Australian female teacher, who has lived in England, Mexico and New Guinea, tells me her stories. I go to bed around midnight.
Tuesday. After breakfast, I go shopping and trying to get documentation and memorabilia transferred to Holland by post. The first difficulty is, as everywhere, to find a good envelope. When that is done and packed, I go to the post office where they tell me that for this package, I have to go to customs first. Customs is in another street. Customs is only available in the morning, but they help me: my package can be sent as it is. Back to the post office. It took me two hours to get it sent for $25 by boat. I have not much confidence about its arrival. I paid the hostel and went to the bus station and booked a bus to Jujuy.

 

The bus is comfortable as usual. Before departure I drank a Gancia; it made me fall asleep. Every now and then I have a look out of the window and see agriculture: tobacco, maïs and sugar cane plantations. Since Tucuman the scene is clearly more subtropical. The vegetation is denser, with more variation and green. No dessert here. The clay-huts are still there, but I also see many good looking estates, haciendas. The hostess in the bus provides us with coffee or soft drinks with a cookie and a surprise: Xmas tree-ball with Feliz 2000. At arrival in Jujuy I conclude that I left my guidebook in Salta at the terminal. Annoying but not disastrous. I picked up some information from the tourist information office, not much but good.

00 week 51 kaart 2

The recommended Residential hotel is full, but I find a hotel two blocks away: good enough for one night at $15 with my own bathroom. Jujuy is smaller than Salta but I like it better. Again there are loads of shoe-polishers and young beggars. After a short stroll I ended up at a terrace near the bus terminal. It is pretty noisy here, with a loud radio, television and lots of people. Two men who were eating two tables away from me, leave a lot of food on their plates. One of the very young shoe-polishers asks them if he can have their remains. He may and get company from two others: the remains disappear as snow for the sun. I am here 80 kilometres away from the Kreeftskeerkring. I don’t see tourists. It is hot here and on my way back to the hostel I buy an ice-cream. I fail to find my hostel but after a while I see that I am in the wrong street. It is hot in my room and there are lots of mosquitos. May be I have to buy a protection against malaria? It seems a bit overdone for the three or four weeks to go in this region.

 

Wednesday, 22 December. I slept uneasy, only due to the temperature because it was very quiet around this area. I get up at 9, take a shower and pack. I go buy a plastic poncho, because it is ‘wet mousson’ time according to my guide. It is raining now, heavy. It makes the atmosphere nice and fresh. Breakfast, coffee and croissants, at the bus terminal. Watching people. Jujuy is a town with 180000 inhabitants. There are some higher apartment’s blocks in the centre. Many Indians I see, sometimes with a traditionally dressed old woman. Those traditional dresses are colourful cloths completed with a white or black cap. Market stalls are everywhere, selling handicraft, fruits, junk and ‘super’ ponchos. The whole day you see people eating. When they don’t have a stall, they display their goods on the walkway at a piece of plastic. I don’t see them selling much, but they are always present, most of the time happy chatting and with toddlers or babies. The ‘river’ through town has an enormous wide bed, crossed by many very long bridges. Yesterday the riverbed was nearly dry, but today, after the heavy rainfall, there runs a clear water brook. I visited the provincial historical museum, a small museum. I am, at 13:00 halfway the museum when they are closing it down, for an hour. I can come back at 14:00. I don’t think doing that because I am making a tour, finishing at the bus terminal. The river here is the Rio Grande, a brook with slums on its side. When the Rio Grande becomes ‘Grande’, it will be a disaster.

 

 

Fransisco convent and enormous bridge.

Along the boulevard they sell half’s of chicken with French fries for $3. I buy it and eat it on a bench, where I also see an insect that, like they tell me, has a lot of casualties: a walking ‘wieber’?, grey/black. It stings and that causes itching. When you rub the sore spot, you also rub the animal’s droppings into the bite. Those droppings contain something causing a quite nasty illness after a long incubation time. I suspect some sort of Lyme? It is still overcast, warm but fresh at the same time. On my way to the bus terminal I pass, according my map, a Darwin museum. There is a college, but I enter: lots of young people. At the secretary I ask about the museum. Yes, that is here, indeed. They take me to ‘the professor’. He is very sorry to tell me the museum is only open at ‘school’ opening times, but, I can make an appointment for a guided tour. I decline. I carry on to the bus station where I buy a ticket to Purmamarca. I also buy an anti-malaria cure, 16 pills, 2 per day. According to the woman serving me at the pharmacy, there is no malaria here and for the rest of my trip in South America, this cure will be sufficient. I have no idea. The mountains there show 7 colours they say, like nowhere else: unique. I don’t believe that, because I saw that in Chubut too, but it is fun to have a look in a village like Purmamurca. I go there today, have a look tomorrow morning and carry on with my journey to the North. The busses going north are all well filled. There is no bus anymore to the village itself, but there is one that can stop at the railway station. The bus is old, rattles but rides. Along the Rio Grande, still never Grande in its wide bed. We pass a satellite town, green and rich, but gradually we arrive through well-known territory: dessert, stone, dust and cactuses. The valley becomes narrow and the hills higher, with low hanging clouds. We also ride along the railway, in some places hanging for 30 meters in the air, where the ground is washed away. That shows how the Rio Grande can become a strong fast flowing river. The bus passes Purmamarca at full speed. One of the passengers, clearly a local, makes the bus stop and he gets off, with his wife and his luggage. So, I get off as well. It is quite windy and fresh here. A man at a car on a jack is waving us: he offers us transportation. I do like the idea, but the couple carries on walking, hoping to get a bus? The car driver is fast with repairing, fixing and filling his tyre with air. I did not even have time to smoke a cigarette and we are on our way. The couple is no more than 200 meters away and I tell the driver to stop and take them with us as well: walking 3 kilometres with luggage is, in my opinion, quite a task. Purmamarca is tiny and the ‘terminal’ is no more than a general parking lot. The couple is getting off there and they are not quite at ease, until I call to them that I am paying for the ride. They thank me kindly and courteous. The taxi drops me at a hostel. The driver promises to pick me up tomorrow morning at 9. The hostel room is neat, with bathroom, for $10. I drop my bag in the room and go walk into the village. At the central square there are a few friendly women with their goods. They sell poncho’s here, for $25, exactly the same as for $150 on offer in Salta. They look good, but I decided to buy no souvenirs yet: I do that in La Paz, just before flying home. But I am tempted and buy Llama socks and a Llama cap. From one of the other women, I buy a Llama hat against the sun. I take pictures from the village and the hills with colours, after which I go to the one and only restaurant: they open it for me. The staff are all old ladies with the exception of the girl who is serving. She takes her time to explain to me what I am eating. Lovely. I eat Tamal=arena de maiz y regeno de carne con papa. Empanada. Humita= chocolomolido (maïs) y regeno de queso de chivo. All of it wrapped in maïs leafs cooked in water. For afters I get a sort of sweet thick sludge with walnuts on top. These villages are much prettier than the towns. At 21:30 I am finished eating. The village is now totally silent, so I go to my hostel and to bed, early.

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Week 50-2018. Amersfoort (December 09-16). Argentina on horseback. 1999. (December 09-15.)

Sunday, 09 December 2018. Amersfoort. In church I enjoyed the singing of a boys’ choir. After that I returned the stinking basket in which I transported a hedgehog a couple of days ago. Hedgehog droppings stink like an ordeal. From there I went to see my friend and walk with her dog Toets. My family is away, so after the walk, I went home. My friend had given me a large shopper full with books. In my flat we have a small library where everybody can use the books available there. I put the books on the shelves, now full with real literature. The rest of the day I spent behind my laptop.

Bergkerk jongenskoor (1)
Monday. In the afternoon I went shopping for food, enough for the rest of the week. I produced chili-con-carne for four days. One portion I ate, the other three go into my freezer.

Nieuwbouw op voormalig terrein Sinai kliniek (1) Estates at former hospital site.
Tuesday. For my meal of tonight, I needed fêta cheese. I bought it in the tiny supermarket, here on the premises of the hospital. From there I walked the terrain and suddenly saw a large beech with a good lot of brown/purple mushrooms. I had a good look and took two species home for determination. At home I consulted my two books about fungi and also a friend via what’s app. I concluded that I had come across oyster mushrooms: very good for consumption.

Beuk met oesterzwammen (2) Beech.
Wednesday. I went back to the beech tree, but now with a good knife and a large bag. I harvested the remaining mushrooms. Back at home I cleaned them thoroughly, cut them and baked them in butter. The baked mushrooms are now sitting in my freezer ready for use when I feel for it. I mixed the remains, bases with bark and cuttings, with coffee grounds and spread the mixture over two yoghurt buckets. These two buckets are now in my room, waiting for new mycelium to grow and produce new mushrooms. I hope it works: exciting.

Vindplaats oesterzwammen (3) Oyster mushrooms.
Thursday. My friend living in Amersfoort rang. She was a bit surprised to get me on the phone. I seem to have promised to let her know when I was back in Holland: I did not do that. Sorry. I went to see her in the afternoon. Her husband was to the day-care centre where he goes two days per week. He is getting very dependent on help and my friend is becoming very tired of it. With her children she is now talking about another regime. The result so far is, that a nurse is coming each morning and evening to help the husband out of- and in to bed. May be, he can go to the day-care centre during three days, allowing his wife to have some time off for herself.

Hebron met dode boom Dying tree near empty pavilion.
Friday. Friday is laundry day. Sheets, bed-ware, jeans, everything is into the washing machines. Drying the laundry, with all these large items, is a bit of a problem. No matter the weather, I hang most of it on my balcony to dry. The other items are drying in my bathroom and in my room. I have enough spare sheets to make my bed: nice fresh even with a new pillow from my box in the basement. My drive today, led me to even sweep the basement floor and I like the result of my work of today.

Amersfoort vanaf Eemplein met raaf (1) Amersfoort view.
Saturday, 15st December 2018. maybe it was the clean sheets on my bed: I did sleep, a deep and healthy sleep until 10:30 in the morning. In the afternoon I took some of my belongings, items without further use for me, to the local recycle shop. Next, I went to the supermarket for some extra food. In the evening, I went to a concert in my church.

Bergkerk ketting van verhalen met OBK uit Zeist (2)
Argentina on horseback. 1999. December 09-15.
Week 49. Posadas brought me the data about the trip to Pircas Negras. When I walk to town, the radio journalist calls me in for a short interview, direct. That is so funny: the easy access to radio direct. This journalist also had pictures from the trip. He promises to bring them along to me.

6
Week 50. Thursday, 9nd December 1999. The items to be left behind are ready and the remaining items are packed. Antonio is up early. He sees that I bought an underlayment. He advises me to buy yet another one for Nora. Antonio leaves with the items I wanted to leave. I invited him and his family to a pizza meal in town, tonight. At 17:00 he is back again. We buy a bale of hay, stack my belongings in the car and go to my horses. We care for them and organise the saddles. After that he leaves and I organise my outdoor bed. That is not so easy because of the strong winds. My tunnel tent works well, but the large plastic sheet is difficult to handle. When I am finished, I go and arrive gasping for breath in town, at the agreed time. Antonio arrives at the same moment. The dinner is pleasant. Antonio tells me that all the items I left, are useful. At 23:00 he takes me to my horses and my outdoor bed.

4 Note.
Friday. 137th travel day. My bed worked very well, that was not the point, but in the silent night I was unable to ignore the extremely loud music from the discotheque in town and from the whore-house on the other side of the street. At 03:00 I smoked a cigarette and at 05:00 I got up and started packing. Antonio arrived at 07:00 and took care of saddling the horses, while I am watching with interest. He gives Jut a fairly thin pack of underlayment, while Jill and Nora get a thick pack. At 08:00 all is ready and I depart, through the backside of town and Antonio’s house, where everything is still in a deep rest. We quietly leave town. Jut is going well, but Nora is ‘hanging’. Jil en Nora are both lazy and fat from doing nothing and eating too much. They will have to get used to work again. We proceed slowly. I have to tighten the slings again and again, which is a tedious job. The sky is overcast and it is not very warm, so that is fine. Nora starts again with her tricks: stop and go, stop and go. She has difficulties with defecating, close to diarrhoea. She suffers from gas, very likely, because with the wind in my back I get extremely smelly farts from behind. I am very busy trying to get the horses going supple. After a pause of 4 hours I repack Nora and then it goes better. At 20:00 we pause at a house where they promised food and drinks. That goes well: I get steak with maté. First, we eat outdoor, but it is getting cold and it starts raining with thunderstorm, so we go indoor. The people are very pleasant: a woman of my age, with a married daughter and their 8-month-old baby. I stay for 2 hours while they are telling me what I am going to encounter further up my way. In Angulos, 30 kilometres away from here, there is a religious sanctuary which houses the ‘niño de Sanquin’. Each year around this time, gaucho’s from all around come up to the sanctuary. They come mostly on horseback but also on foot, bicycle or motorbike. On Sunday morning at 05:00 they start, all together with 1000 horses, bringing the ‘niño’ to Famatina. The niño stays in Famatina until the beginning of January and is then brought back to the sanctuary. When I leave this friendly family, it is raining so I put on my rain dress. Soon we get company from 6 horsemen coming from Chilecito. I fitted a rear light and that works very well. My horses go in trot easily, fortunately. In Famatina I stop and park my horses at a bar. Shortly after my arrival, when I am having a beer, there is an enormous thunderclap: the television goes on black and a heavy downpour starts. I stay put until the downpour stops. I continue my journey around midnight. There is now a strong cold wind blowing with some fine rain. It is now pitch dark, but the wet tarmac stands out well against the sand from the road sides. There are cyclists and walkers on their way to Angulos.

1
Saturday, 11th December, 138th travel day. Along the road, there are shelters erected. Simple, but effective: poles, with cross beams to tie the horses, with roofs made of branches and clay. I sleep an hour underneath one of these roofings. After that I travel on, walking. After a while I look back and see that the load which should be on Nora’s back, is hanging underneath her belly. She does not complain at all: funny animal. When I am re-arranging her luggage, I drop my inspection lamp, which stops working immediately. Very unfortunate, because I have to do everything in the dark now. I am obviously very tired, because I fall asleep while travelling. The horses notice it, miss their guidance and tangled up. I have difficulty staying awake. When I come across a building in ruins, I stop to take a rest. In a corner there are two cyclists asleep. Around the building there is enough to eat for my horses. There is hardly any roof on the building left, but I find a dry corner, where I fall asleep, sitting upright against a wall. I wake up from a very noisy group of young men with light motorbikes. In another corner, they are making a campfire. Nice and warm, but unfortunately they don’t make maté. When I am warm enough, I continue my journey. The remaining 7 kilometres to Angulos I manage to keep my group trotting. Angulos appears to be not much more then a tarmac factory blowing stinking black smoke into the further pure fresh air. There are a few ‘houses’ seemingly uninhabited. There is nobody to be seen. I change direction and then I see a man on a tractor. I approach him. He does not live here, but his employer will be here soon, he says. He is right: a pleasant short man, who takes me into the village. His property is just opposite the church: claystone with reed, stone oven and a large terrain with sufficient grass and many trees: nuts, apples, figs. After demobilisation of the horses, they roll over a lot and then they start grazing quietly and happily. The little man does not live here. He just bought the property and intends to make a camping of it. I will be his first paying guest, because he asks $6 for the grass my horses will eat. I tell him that I will probably move tonight, to Campanas, 12 kilometres further up. When I don’t see him when leaving, I will pay the policeman in the village. He goes to work and I go asleep, which is of course going very well. At 13:00 he wakes me up and we talk a bit. He will be back again around 19:00. I fall asleep again. After an hour I wake up again, hungry. The temperature is now very pleasant. I take a walk into the village, but see only a young man on a bicycle. He calls his grandmother. Both her sons are police. She gets one of them, just from having had a shower because he will soon be very busy guiding the procession to Famatina. He asks me, very formally, for my documents. He does not understand anything from my passport, interrogates me for 20 minutes and answers me for 5 minutes: unpleasant. He points to the door of a dead silent house, where I rattle the door. This is the ‘restaurant’ of the village: friendly. I buy a meal of 6 empanada’s, go back to my place and fall asleep again. At 19:00 I wake up from music, lots of talking and laughing. My host, dressed up, appears. I tell him that I will stay here until Monday morning. No problem, he says. He provides me with a chair and a writing table, very convenient. I spend the evening with the neighbours, from where all the noise came. They are heavy drinkers: wine, whisky and beer. They dilute everything with ice and a variety of ‘gassed liquids’: for instance, Coca Cola with beer, or wine, or whisky. They bake large quantities of empanadas. They play games. One of the games is a real competition, trying to throw coins into a steel construction with mouths. A much-used table-soccer game is also available. Around midnight I take to bed, slightly tipsy.

2
Sunday. I am up at 05:00, with the intention to saddle Jut and go see the procession of ‘el Niño’. With my pocket torch I enter the terrain, where I miss a ditch. I fall into it in full length. Soaking wet I give up my attempt, get out of my soaking wet cloths, dry myself and go back to bed. I don’t hear much from the procession: some singing, some drums and a few fireworks. The day passes lovely quiet, with some writing, eating, a quiet stroll and a bit of work on my luggage. I even get the opportunity to take a shower, at the neighbours. At 20:30, I see and hear the first gaucho’s coming back from their procession to Famatina. I order dinner in the one and only restaurant. I get it at 22:00, at last. It is cheap, $3 for half a chicken with backed potatoes, one litre of chilled lemonade, a lemon and a tomato. Fortunately, the boss here, is talkative. I asked him to tell me the full story of ‘el niño’ and he did. I don’t understand everything he told me, but this is what I managed to reproduce. The full name of the relic is ‘Niño Jesus de Huelco’. An Indian from the area Huelco made the miniature representation of a child. Starting in 1910, the second Sunday in December, he travelled with that miniature to Famatina and stayed there until the 8th of January. At first, he did that on his own, but later on a friend accompanied him and so it grew slowly to what it is now, a procession of primarily young people, riding a horse, a bus, a car or walking. There appear to be two of these miniatures. The original for which they build a complete sanctuary, where all these people stay overnight from Saturday to Sunday and a copy which is in the local church of Angulos. This copy is carried on Sunday, around the tiny square in front of the church. I did see that mini procession. After this story, I went to bed.
Monday. 139th travel day. I did sleep very well but short; no wonder after such a quiet weekend. At 04:00 I wake up, smoke a cigarette, consider it too early and go to bed again. At 06:00 I am up again, now with sufficient light. I pick up the horses and saddle them. After that I eat, wash, read my Bible, pack and am ready to talk to my host at 07:00. He is not too happy, because I paid the $6 I owe him, to the mother of the policeman. It appears to me, that their relationship is not too good. Still, he goes and picks up his money. But now he says that the price was per night, the equivalent of a bale of hay. I tell him that that is nonsense, because a bale of hay (a cheap one) cost me $3 and that price includes mowing, packing, transporting and selling. He stays friendly and accepts it. At 07:45 I depart. Nora is trying her tricks again: stop, start, again and again. Just outside the village I change the order and let the others go in front of me. That works perfectly well here, with so few traffic. We proceed well and I am even able to look at the scenery again. I see no snow anymore. We ride through a large valley, green, but the greens are those very tough bushes. Fortunately there is, every now and then, also some good grass, but no water. All the water is canalised since Mendoza, causing all the natural formed beds are dry. Via these canals, every who is connected, receives his daily portion of the water according to a documented scheme. Those canals are nasty for my horses because in 99 out of 100 situations, they can’t reach it: to deep and to narrow. We ride again along a mountain range with that fabulous variation in colours. We covered the 14 kilometres to Campanas in 2 hours. I tie my horses at the soccer grounds in front of the police station. There, watching a soccer game on television (Valencia/Barcelona), I drink quietly the maté they produced for me when I asked them for a café where I could buy coffee or breakfast. Apparently, there is no such facility or it is still closed. After an hour here, the policemen produce water for my horses, after which we carry on. The road is not surfaced, but all along it is clear that they are busy preparing for it to be surfaced. I come across lots of small technical facilities required to fit a tarmac road. The motorised traffic here is very accommodating, passing me carefully and adequately reacting on my signals. Sometimes a car is staying behind us, which makes the horsed agitated. We cover the distance between Santa Cruz and La Cuadra in 1,5 hours, again 14 kilometres. In La Cuadra, Jil and Nora suddenly turn off, onto the yard of a house, passing obstacles where I would usually not be able to go over willingly on my request. The family living there are catching them, friendly and interested. These people appear to know about us, seen on television from Chilecito. Very useful that has been: appearing on television. A hundred meters further up the road, there is a restaurant. The horses are left in the rear yard with grass and water. I am served a good meal with rice, vegetables, meat followed by soup and a litre of lemonade. After having consumed that, I take 2 hours of rest. Sleeping is a bit difficult because there are too many flies, landing everywhere. At 16:00 I am ready resting and write diary and drink maté. These settlements are limited to 500-1000 inhabitants, no more. Everybody knows everybody, it is extremely silent and relaxed. They live a very simple minimalistic life, from agriculture, nuts, grapes and all other fruits from this region: apples, pears, peaches, lemons etcetera. They take care of my horses and at 18:00 we go again. When my pouch of tobacco falls out of my overall, I notice that my map of the region is lost. It must have fallen out as well. That is a pity, but I am not going to search for it. The weather is pleasant, slightly overcast and a little wind. The road to El Potrerillo is not really signposted. Fortunately I find an inhabited house at the crossing where many paths come together. The path I took, pure guesswork, appears to be the right one. It is an ascending, winding sandy path along abandoned properties: estates ready to be demolished. I keep going, even though the situation is a bit creepy, absolute silence, spooky. The only living souls are two horses and a donkey enthusiastically following us through a meadow and an orchard. After a bent in the road, there is all of a sudden, a well-maintained large building: the school. We arrived in El Potrerillo! Opposite the school I find helpful people. I must go another 500 meters up the road, past the square with playground, climbing a mountain slope. It is idyllic now. Like they told, we come to a chapel at the left and a good-looking house to the right with inhabitants and even telephone. I am met by a sturdy woman, a somewhat extravert young man of about 15 years old and a girl of 6 years old. An uncle completes the family. I am welcome and get lemonade. The horses are tied to a long rope allowing them to eat the plenty grass. The horses rigging and saddles go underneath a plastic sheet. My luggage is brought into a neat but completely bare room with electric light. Not much later there is a two-meter-wide bed, completely made. I get a lovely shower and a hot meal: Wiener schnitzel with potato and a carrot. After that comes the soup, which is customary in these regions, apparently. The woman’s husband is police. He is not present and somewhere else on duty. There is one more son, 19 years old and employed at the road-building here. It is fabulous here: nice temperature, very nice and fresh scents, tropical sounds. I am afraid to oversleep here. They tell me that the police are very busy. First, they had to deal with the procession and ‘all’ the traffic coming with it. And now there is a man missing. An inhabitant of El Potrerillo. He is officially missing, since nobody saw him for three days. Everybody is looking for him, but in this region, that is like looking for a needle in a haystack. The silence is so absolute here, that neighbours communicate just by talking a bit loud over a distance of up to 300 meters. My horses appear to be on someone else’s land. The owner, fat with bloodred eyes, comes in his pickup truck to have a look. He is interested, hospitable. He insists that I must ask, when I do need something. I appear the first stranger here, since many years. That is no wonder, because the track (the road) does not give you any reason to leave it: there are no signs and there is nothing to indicate towards the existence of a village.

Catamarca province Catamarca province.
Tuesday. The 140th travel day. I slept like a rose. No barking dogs, no noise from radio or television. Lovely fresh night-air. I had some problems from a big moth that dived into my sleeping bag: looking for a dark warm place. I wake up at 05:00, feeling great so I get up. It is still pitch dark, when I eat breakfast on the staircase outside. I use the time to study an insect. I saw, in the evening, many small but clear flying flash lights. Now I can see what it is: a small totally unattractive grey moth. The light coming from his abdomen, is unbelievably bright. As soon as the daylight is present, I prepare my departure. My hostess is very persistent: I am not allowed to pay her anything. I get maté with bread. We are now heading for Tinogasta. This road, nr.11, is again a dirt road of sand and gravel, through a valley of sand, where there are only tough bushes and prickly trees. It is greenish, hot and dusty. I see many twirlers; twisting columns of sand and dust rising through heat current. Jil is working adverse. When I am not attentive for a moment, he swerves off the road. It is hard work for me and Jut, absorbing a lot of energy for all four of us. He does it the whole day. After 1,5 hours of driving, I stop for a while, resting in the shadow of a tree. After that we drive again 1,5 hours. We did then arrive at in intersection to a village, 9 kilometres away into the country. At the intersection there is a small farm, where they allow me to rest. They provide me with maté, pan casero with goat cheese and water for the horses. When I check the hoofs, I see the problem: one of the irons of Jil is loose. I have to find a hoof smith fast. But I see Tinogasta still far away but clearly. So, we carry on, very calm. Now we are riding on tarmac again and that is very hot, but at 14:00 we arrive in Tinogasta. It looks better then Chilecito, but it is smaller. I now have to pull Jil and Nora, because Jil is using every gate to turn towards it, as if to say: this is it for today! To get to the gendarmerie, we have to cross the whole town. That is no problem, because it is clearly ‘siesta’: everybody is asleep. The guard calls me when I appear: Pieter! He knows about me through the radio from Chilecito, so I don’t need to introduce myself. But it is siesta, so organising for me to stay cost time. Fortunately he provides me with a cool litre Fanta. I should have to wait for the hoof smith or veterinarian, but the guard is very helpful. He brings us further to the ‘casino’, where he helps unsaddling the horses. I am given a large and neat room with two beds and a ventilator at the ceiling. We take the horses to a large
fenced off area, where they have unlimited water but nothing to eat. When that is done, I take a shower and go asleep. The veterinarian appears at 1900. He does not have time now, so he will come back to do the irons of Jil tomorrow morning. We now take the horses to another section of the terrain, with plenty grass for the horses. We agree to change all four irons on Jil and the front legs of Nora too, because there is half an iron missing as well. When the vet is gone, I treat wounds and then I see to my dismay a large bump on the left side of Jil’s back. With that bump, Jil cannot longer carry anything. It means the end of our trip. My Waterloo will be in Tinogasta! Definitely. I walk into the hot town to find food. It is pleasantly busy at the square and the food is cheap. First, I bought some fruits: a large but dry hard pear, two peaches and a bag with prunes. Solely the prunes are tasty. I get to deal with a new phenomenon: other currencies. Here they are trading with so called ‘bono’s’ or Peso Catamarcan. I refuse the change in this currency and they abide: I get normal pesos. When back at the gendarmerie, I have a chat at the guard and go to bed. Pleasant room, pleasant sleep. This squadron, nr. 23, is based in a former train station, which stopped functioning as such in 1986.

3
Wednesday, 15th December. When just busy dressing, after a shower and breakfast, two gendarmes appear to tell me that the vet/hoof smith is here to shoe Jil. I go with the two who take me to the vet. I tell him about the bump on Jil’s side. He wants to go immediately and have a look, but I take it easy: first drink maté and discuss options. He is sceptical about the possibility to sell horses here, because they are not using horses here. After some discussion, we come to the conclusion that it might work, to offer the whole set of three horses with all the equipment, for $600. Not much later a radio journalist appears, who takes care of a direct broadcast on FM102,1. I only just get the time to broadcast my offer for sale as well. I may lead to something. After this, I go to town with the address of someone called David Farias, who seems to have Internet for e-mail. It appears to be a pleasant and friendly man, who is interested in staying in contact with me and in my diary. It is a pity that navigating on his computer is not possible, but I may use his mailbox. I write a letter to my brother in law, but I don’t tell him that I will finish my journey, in case I manage to sell my horses.
I go back to the gendarmerie and take a shower. During the shower I am thinking about alternatives, because David Farias showed interest in my solar panel. If he buys that for $400, I carry on with Jil as well, but packed in the same way as Nora. Later on I see the vet, who seems to have a buyer called Dario Aries. This Dario will come tonight. That is fine I say, let him try to find me, because I am not waiting for people anymore. The journalist found me in the afternoon, while I was having a meal, and told me he would be at the gendarmerie at 17:00. He did not arrive, so I went to town where I sat at a terrace with a cool drink, writing my diary. I was having some time-out on that, when a young man comes up to me. He is a bit shy. He appears to be interested in buying my horses and gear. He tells me he has $500 and I answer him that I will stick to my price. He will go and see his father, promising to be back. He is back, in 20 minutes. The deal is on. He will come tomorrow morning at 09:00 to conclude the deal. That is excellent: he has been listening to the radio. I am famous again. When I pay my consumptions, $6, with a note of $10 bono’s, it takes them 20 minutes to return with 4 notes of $1 bono, in rags and kept in shape with sticky tape. I spent them as soon as possible on ice cream and lemonade. Later, in the gendarmerie, they confirm to me, that these bono’s are not accepted for payment in any of the other provinces of Argentina. So, I must be careful accepting them and, if spending them is not possible, I have to go to the local bank of Catamarca and exchange them, which is not really that easy they say.

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Week 49-2018. Amersfoort (December 02-09). Argentina on horseback. 1999. (December 02-08.)

01 Humenné dumped dog

abandoned dog in Humenné.

Sunday, 02 December 2018. Amersfoort. The day started with a ‘fire alarm’ at 07:45. The church is well occupied. Like stars are telling us that no night is too dark, a child which is the light for the world, will come to save us.
After the service, I went straight to my family in Eemnes. My grandson had told me, yesterday, that he was interested to hear from me about his family roots and also what I could tell him about ghosts. When I arrived, my grandson was still in his bed and he did not show at all. So, at 16:00 I left for home.

02 Maartensdijk Maartensdijk.
Monday. I went to a car-trader, a good friend from years ago. There are something like 300 second hand cars of all brands and types. I made lots of pictures to compare the various offers and to make up my mind of what sort of car I would like. I also went to the Ford-dealer to see a new Ford B-max. The B-max is terribly boring, in colours and in appearance, but very reliable as far as I know. I have a lot of thinking to do. A decision will not come easy.

 

                      Marley Harderwijk                             Santa in Humenné.
Tuesday. The RSCPA called and asked me to bring a hedgehog to Huizen. From there I visited my friend in Hollandsche Rading. She had some rather alarming stories to tell about her landlord. We drove to Maartensdijk, where she had to do some business. On the way back, she got me some lovely backed fish and a for Toets she had a smoked mackerel. My friend in Slovakia is not too happy: she is concerned about two weeks at the end of the year, because her assistant is than going on holiday. I had a short call with a friend in Argentina. He was about to travel away and suggested to ring sometime later in the week.
Wednesday. At 15:00 I depart. First, I go to a flower shop and buy a mock-up Christmas tree. Driving on the A1, I see a sign guiding me on an unknown road to IJburg. I am early for my appointment with my niece, so I take that unknown road. It takes me through a part of IJburg where I don’t know anything. I drive around a bit, guess work. Then I decide to install my TomTom, which guides me to the address where I am supposed to go: I was only 5 minutes away from my destiny. At the family home, I was introduced to a new family member: a female Rhodesian Ridgeback We had a very pleasant evening and a good meal. I did not stay very late and was back home around 23:00.

05 Hotel Fletscher Hotel Fletcher.
Thursday. The weather was good, so I went out for a good walk. My friend Hanke visited me in the afternoon, telling me that she will have to go to hospital in Leyden again: her heart is not working properly. My friend in Slovakia has also health problems. Het daughter appears to suffer from a nasty infection. When I am cooking in the evening, I meet a new tenant. He is occupying the apartment opposite mine. Later I notice that this new tenant does have some very noisy friends. My niece, the one living in IJburg, approached me with a request: the family is planning a short holiday over Christmas. They would appreciate it when I could stay at their home, to take care of their dog. I decided to do that. So, a couple of days before Christmas, I will go there to get acquainted with the house and the dog.

06 Danger-falling dead branches Danger: dead branches breaking away from trees.
Friday. Today I am trying to solve some irritating issues with my laptop. One of the issues I manage to solve. I will tackle the other issue next week. I made some phone calls, resulting in appointments for visits to family. The 1st Christmas day I go to Barendrecht to have dinner with the family of my oldest sister. The 2nd Christmas day I will be in Oegstgeest for dinner with the family of my youngest sister. I am looking forward to seeing them all. I did not sleep early, because I watched a very interesting Swedish film on television.

07 Estate Nearby estate.
Saturday, 8st December 2018. I walked up to the petrol station. That walk is just good for my daily movement. For the first time since long, one of the other tenants joint me and I did like that. She told me interesting things about herself and her family, but she also told me that one of the least pleasant tenants had left. In the evening the weather changed, to stormy with heavy showers.

Argentina on horseback. 1999. December 02-08.
Week 48. They are charging more than is customary. I have beef, mixed salad and a quarter wine. It comes with bread, a bottle of soda and ice cubes, all separately charged while that is usually included in the price. I don’t give a tip and decide not to come back to this restaurant.

08 From Chilecito to Pircas Negras

Trip from Chilecito to Paso Pircas Negras, in military truck.

Week 49. Thursday, 2nd December 1999. Chilecito. The summer holidays are arriving. It is clearly notable from the behaviour of the school youth in their white dustcoats: all little medics. I did sleep long and it is again warm. Yesterday was nice, overcast and in the morning even a little drizzle. I was quite inactive today, was with my horses much. At the tourist information I asked about excursions. The very inadequate informant does not know much and all others in the office are very busy somewhere else, because there is a provincial congress here tomorrow. While I am writing my diary, one of the journalists I met, comes to tell me about a trip tomorrow. Tomorrow afternoon, a bus goes to the Cordillera for the official opening of a new pass to Chili. He suggests me to try and join that trip. I like the idea. I also meet Nicki and his brother in law. Nicki tells me that the man who he asked to swap horses, saw my horses and did not like them. So, no business there. I saw Julio, the public relations officer of the gendarme. He will try to fit me in the party going to the opening of the pass. Via e-mail, I heard that I missed the celebration of my 12,5-year jubilee at the office of my employer!

09 I in military truck I, in military truck.
Friday. Chilecito. I posted two packages home. After that I undertook a city-walk during which I followed my ‘footprint travel book’. I checked the information and saw that half of the information is no longer valid. That is not so strange, because the businesses like lodging and small restaurants are changing fast in Argentina. I did not check the travel information in the book, considered that absolutely useless. Later I did not meet Julio again, but I met the officer in charge. When I ask him about the trip the cordillera, he does not hesitate at all: I can come with the gendarmes in their truck. The departure will be Saturday-morning at 03:00 and will return late the same day. Exciting. One of the newspapers did spend an article about the event. At the enclosure with my horses, the situation is a bit of a mess. I miss a bale of hay and another bale was eaten illegally. The gendarme in charge has failed his duty. He probably went to the whores residing opposite the barracks. At the end of my afternoon nap, they brake in, in my quarters. They take 4 beds, for the men in the new border station. One of the men appears interested to buy my saddle bags, but I only sell those when I got rid of most of the content. I go eat early: pizza. I like what they do in the restaurant. They bring me one half and when that is eaten, they bring the second half: warm. I go to bed early.

10 Scene between Vinchina and Pircas Negras borderpass Path to Pircas Negras.
Saturday. 4th December 1999. Chilecito, Cordillera, Pircas Negras.
I asked the watchman to wake me up at 02:00, but he came at 02:55 allowing me only 10 minutes before boarding the truck. The air-temperature is lukewarm. The gendarmes warn me again that it will be cold in the mountains. Apart from my backpack and a bag with food, I therefor take an extra sweater, my ski-overall and a goats’ skin. There is no moon and only little light, I can just see that the truck is pretty full. In the cabin are of course the driver, a shorty, and an officer, called Posada, with two gold stars. In the back of the truck there are four iron beds, two gendarmes, four journalists and two ladies: and I. The are jolly. I, in my sports shorts and T-shirt, am placed on a heap of boxes and weekend bags. I like that, because the others are sitting on the bare hard benches with a hard backrest. We depart just after 03:00 for a journey of 8 hours. 11 Scene between Vinchina and Pircas Negras borderpass Scenery.

There is no need to introduce myself, because three of the others know me already: my informant, one of the gendarmes and a journalist. They introduce me in detail. There is a lot of talking and laughing. They, dressed as for going on winter sport, ask me from time to time if I am not feeling cold. No, I am not. The first part of the journey I know, because we are going to Villa Union. The clear sky is beautiful, full of stars and there are meteorites regularly. Some of the meteorites are showing for seconds, forming a long tail of fire along the sky. After Villa Union all is new to me. First, we pass Villa Castelli, then we arrive in Villa San José de Vinchina, where we stop for a moment at the gendarmerie. We saw the moon coming up as a small decreasing crescent, together with the sunrise. Until then we had a tarmac road, but after Vinchina the road became a dirt road to Alto Jagüe, where the four bed are offloaded. 12 Scene between Vinchina and Pircas Negras borderpass

‘Road’ and scenery to Pircas Negras.

We cross dry waterways mostly via a concrete overflow, but otherwise just across the riverbed with holes and bumps. The driver is clearly very experienced and holds a good tempo. Later that day I called him ‘Michael Schuhmacher’, the Formula 1 race driver, which he did like very much. Now, with the daylight, we get to see a terrific splendid scenery. Sometimes however, we don’t see anything due to the dust and sand particles being sucked into the back of the truck. The glasses of my spectacles are static and there is so much dirt sticking onto them, that I take them off. It is no longer warm, rather cold and getting colder: we are climbing all the time, at first through an area with hard sharp edges rocks, along a riverbed with sometimes narrow green banks. 13 Scene between Vinchina and Pircas Negras borderpassAfter that we have red soft sandstone, so a red coloured river. We all, in the back of the truck, are by now red/grey dusted, but the mood is still very good. Many pictures are taken, from rock formations, valleys and mountains. They sometimes behave dangerously in order to be able to see as much as possible forward and sideways and take their pictures. After Punta Aqua, my map does not show a road anymore. We are now following a temporary road, made by the firm busy with the construction of the real road with bridges and protective barriers. We arrive at a large camp from the contractor, where all sorts of vehicles are gathered: 4WD terrain cars, pick-ups, ambulances, police cars, other gendarmerie cars, terrain motorbikes. 14 Time out behind the truck Time out.

They are all provided with a large sticker and the Rioja banner. Thus decorated they continue the trip to the pass. The amount of coarse dust is increasing. At first we now drive across a light slanting high plain; cold, windy, barren. Desert! The first 10 kilometres are surfaced with tarmac, to provide a broad strip for planes transporting employees, tools and materials. After the plain we come to substantial hills, round as dunes of soft sandstone with beautiful colours red, green, yellow, grey and white with spectacular open views at other plains and mountains further away. Also the volcanos, abundant in this part of Rioja, are well visible, snow-capped like Cerro Pobete (6860 meter). We see the tracks of animals, mostly from guanaco but no animals. We arrive again at a plain where we stop to have a good look.

 

In front of us we have nearby, the long ‘Laguna Brava’ in full view. Most of the lake is covered with 5 centimetres of ice. Large flocks of flamingo roam near the various pools. We are also seeing the remains of a plane, sticking out of the ice crust. This plane became worldwide known during the 50th, when it crashed here (in 1953?), with race horses being transported from Uruguay to Chili, inaccessible for emergency services. After this interesting stop, we carry on, climbing along winding tracks. Along the tracks there is sometimes water, but sometimes also snow and ice. The completely barren country is sometimes surprisingly showing green/yellow oases where the melting water flows lazily through wide and level clayish land. There we even spot birds. Dusty and terribly barren are dominating. Especially the dust in the back of the truck is now smothering the mood and now the ‘Puna’ (height sickness) is taking its toll. The three women are hanging over the tailboard: vomiting. Three men look green and are having difficulties keeping from vomiting. A young gendarme, he boarded in Alto Jaqüe, pushed his head through a split in the canvas, he is vomiting too. I feel nothing wrong with my stomach and eat a sandwich cheese, a banana, an apple. I drink whisky and carry on smoking as usual. The officer in the cabin looks through the plastic window into the back and is laughing his head off when he sees what is going on. The three men are begging me to stop smoking. There is not really a cure against ‘puna’, but there are many well meant advices and they are not very consistent: do eat, don’t eat, eat a little, drink a lot, don’t drink at all, no smoking, no alcohol, etcetera. My experience now is: do what you are used to do, do ‘normal’. Eat when you get hungry and drink when thirsty: in moderation, but that is always good.

17 Distance between pass and town

It is 12:30 when we arrive at a large plain at an altitude of 4050 meter. This is where the official opening of the ‘Paso Pircas Negras is taking place. There are a lot of people; I guess some 200. Of course, there are lots of uniformed people like the Argentine gendarmes and the Chilean carabinieri, detectives from the Chilean customs and people from the ‘sanitary organisation’, two priests, governors from the bordering provinces, lots of press with relay equipment for television and radio, writing journalists.

18 Posadas and I at the border marker Argentina-Chili 1st Lieutenant Posadas and I.

Informal dressed civilians with Argentine flags and welcoming banners, Chilean gaucho’s in very nice colourful traditional dresses. It is a motley crowd. My gendarme friend introduces me to lots of Chilean carabinieri telling them my complete story. They are secretively taking pictures and filming me, a lot.

19 At the Pircas Negras border marker The party and I.

That is not so strange, because I am absolutely out of tune, in my tacky ski-overall, repaired with stickers and coloured threads and completely covered in dust. The openings ceremony is fortunately starting supple, with from either side a blessing from a priest. It does not take long and that is good, because it is, on this open plain, very windy and rather cold. At the Chilean side of the border, there is a small lake.

 

Flags are being raised, national hymns are played and sang, ribbons are cut, plaquettes are unveiled. All of that is being blessed by the priests, one for Argentina and one for Chili, with hugs (all and everybody) and speeches, of course. No drinks, no maté and no ‘pisco’. I noticed that the Chileans are looking much more militaristic, tougher and more disciplined. Contrary to that, the Argentines look like real pussies: a bunch of fat bellied pleasant family fathers, rather drinking maté and tell dirty jokes. Yet it is a really stylish happening, charged with emotion. So, this is the border. The customs post on the Chilean side is 50 kilometres away from here at Las Luntras. On the Argentine side it is 200 kilometres to Vinchina. In between, there are only a few shelters, looking like baking ovens, no fuel, no water and no food. These shelters are 150 years old, still in good condition, built and used by cattlemen, shepherds and miners.

23 Characteristic hide-out Age old refuge.

After the ceremony everybody is quickly having a look around, before boarding the various vehicles for the trip back to base. The officer in charge for the squadron in Chilecito, he arrived in a Landrover, approached me and asked my opinion about the happening. I am introduced to his superior, the boss for the whole province of Rioja. The trip back is hard again. The two women, again vomiting across the tailboard, leave the truck after 40 kilometres and board an ambulance which takes them to the hospital in Vinchina. We stop for a while in Alto Jaqüe, where we clean hands and faces and drink some lemonade. Then we continue to Vinchina, where we stay a bit longer. We get good coffee. Our officer, 1st lieutenant Posadas, comes with ‘Pan casero’, cheese, sausage and lemonade. We load four iron beds again and the two ladies are being picked up too, before we leave for home: Chilecito. I made myself a comfortable corner where I can be reasonably relaxed, even managing to get some sleep. Around midnight we are back at the squadron. I don’t need much time to go to bed, but first I have an extensive shower: very agreeable.

25 Publications in local news papers Sunday paper.
Sunday. I found cockroaches in my room. It is time to leave here. Jut is not eating, not even grain. Does he suffer from colic? He also looks too often to his side, which is, according to my ‘first aid book for horses’ a bad sign. This triggers me to take action. I go to town, to find out if there is transportation to Villa Union. I intent to ask my host there, to organise transportation of my horses to my friend in the East of Argentina or, alternatively if he can or will buy or sell them. The bus goes at 13:00 and the return trip can only be early tomorrow morning. I have to think about it, because I am invited for a barbecue. I take a road around the back of town, to find Antonio. Here I find the usual rubbish and decay, outside the centre. I don’t find Antonio’s house in the maze, so I go back to the squadron. When I arrive there, I am called: Antonio was looking for me. Funny coincidence. I follow another route to his house. He is not yet home, but arrives after 10 minutes. He tells me, that he has another horse for me, to swap with one of mine. Interesting, but it changes everything again: we have to go to Guanchin, 15 kilometres away in the mountains. First, we eat and then we depart. First, we have a look at Jut: he is now eating and behaving normal. We assume some ‘gas’ problems. I pay for a filling of diesel ($32), because Antonio has already driven me around a lot. The road to Guanchin goes across a pass, from where you have a terrific view into the valley of Guanchin. This valley, Antonio says, is mostly chilly. They grow walnuts here. In this tiny village, more like a district, there is a meadow with a very nice group of statues. Lily-white in a large circle stand something like ten figures, depicting things like Maria with baby Jesus and stylish crosses. There is silence here, peaceful. All around you see uncontained animals: horses, foals, donkeys, cows. This is a really lovely place. Two boys riding horse come up. One of these is the swop object for Jut. At the small farm we put a saddle, from Antonio, on one of them and I mount. This horse reacts very well to my instructions, so the deal is on for my part anyway. The saddle is very comfortable, so I will swap that as well if possible. Now we have to arrange for the ownership’s papers and irons. The owner of the horse lives at the end of the valley. Antonio steers the car quietly across the path, climbing and winding. At the end of the path there is, since long, a real old-fashioned farm. Lovely. Silence, birds, animals like Lam and Guanaco as domestic animals. Everything rummages about here. And they are very friendly, these people: little curious children, a young man with only brown stumps in his mouth and two old guys. They are full admiration about my journey. They recognise me: I have been well in full view at the Chilean television at the opening of Pircas Negras.

26 Publications in local news papers

Local Newspaper: road to Pircas Negras.

The young man, now washed, dressed and combed hair, with all the children in the back of the pick-up truck, we descend again back into the village. The police station, where the paperwork had to be done, is closed. A bit further up the road, I buy irons for the horse and drive to William, the owner of the horse. Antonio writes a text for the new certificate. The young man and the children walk back to their farm: absolutely normal. William will come tomorrow afternoon with the horse, given its shoes then, and with the owners’ paperwork to Chilecito. He guesses it will take him 2,5 hours to get there, on horseback. I don’t worry anymore about blood testing, vaccination and the official paperwork for which you have to see a notary, not for these last four weeks in Argentina. Antonio and I return to Chilecito. We now find the police station manned. Antonio explains to them what we arranged and the policemen agree: no fuzz. Climbing out of the valley we now have a fantastic sight across the valley in which Chilecito is situated. From Chilecito you look against a mountain range in the East. Now you can clearly see, that this mountain range is only a ridge running as a spine in between the two valleys: it is a splendid view. Back in Chilecito, Antonio goes to the butcher, but the shop is closed. Only now Antonio realises it to be Sunday and on Sundays all butchers are closed. So, no barbecue. We confer and agree to have the barbecue on Tuesday. I now go to see my horses, for treatment and feeding. The guard there will inform other possible guests for the barbecue, that it changed to Tuesday.
Monday. Antonio went to Tinogasto with his family. I take care of my animals. We had some fresh days and still now, it is rather cold. There is a winery here and I go have a look: The Vitinin Fruticultura. I get a guided tour. My guide is an administrative employee. We go see the tanks first, where the grapes are dumped. There are three tanks of each 12.000 litres, for red, white and rosé. I don’t see the process of fermentation. The section where they are filling and packing is fascinating. We come to the section where cartons are filled. Of course, the machine becomes stuck when we are there, causing the wine to be spilled all around. Funny to see how they solve the problem. After that we come to the section where wine is bottled for export, corked and labelled: for the export. The machines here are from Sweden and Italy. Back at the gendarmerie, I tried to find Posadas, the lieutenant on the trip to Pircas Negras. He would be able to tell me the details of the route to Pircas Negras. In town I go on the internet. At 19:00 I am with my horses. At 20:00, William (17y) and his friend (16y) arrive from Guanchin. The trip took them 4 hours. All the five horses are now together in the compound, with a bale of hay. The boys come with us to the gendarmerie where we exchange the ownerships papers. After that the boys walk to the other side of town, where they will stay overnight with family. The youngest boy, called Brian, asks me to swap Nora as well. I could do that, but I don’t think it is fair to get him a limping horse. I leave it to Antonio, to give advice. Antonio, however is only available tomorrow at 12:00, while the two boys planned to leave at 05:00 tomorrow morning. We will see.
Tuesday. It is 07:30 when I am with the horses. The boys have not been there yet. I wait a while but then I go about my own business. Antonio appears at 12:00 and when I tell him about the request to also swap Nora, he gives it his blessings. The guard tells us, that the boys where there at 11:00 and drove off. Antonio will investigate the request for a second swap with their family. At 17:00 Antonio is back, to shoe Nora. The boys did not tell their family about a possible swap, so I tell Antonio that I will depart on Thursday. He, however advices me to wait till Friday: may be the boys are arranging documentation for the second swap. Posadas told me this morning, that the journalists are doing a barbecue, tonight, for all who went on the trip to Pircas Negras. That coincides with my own barbecue.

27 Publications in local news papers

At 21:00 I start my barbecue at the centre for retired gendarmes. It is pleasant. Antonio stays a bit aside, maybe I should have introduced him better. The wife of one of the journalists is there, and the husband (in police camouflage suit) of Liliane with four children.

28 Publications in local news papers
Wednesday, 8th December. Today is a day of reflection. I don’t see Antonio. Posadas brought me the data about the trip to Pircas Negras. When I walk to town, the radio journalist calls me in for a short interview, direct. That is so funny: the easy access to radio direct. This journalist also had pictures from the trip. He promises to bring them along to me.30 Publications in local news papers

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