On another bus to the first largish city in the country Salta where the majority of us blockaded turistas were in for a shock. Suddenly we were back in the land of western civilisation...shops filling every street selling shoes, clothes, chocolates, designer sunglasses, homewears, whitegoods, all manner of shiny do dahs and what not. And there amongst it all were the Argentines, dressed to the nines, sporting groovy haircuts, sipping espresso and of course shopping.
For the first hour or so this was a delight and we revelled in eating, drinking and generally consuming - but then after catching sight of myself in a trendy shop window I realised I had had a visit from the frump fairy somewhere on the border. It's amazing how cool you can think you look in grubby old travel clothes and with hair that hasn't seen a pair of scissors for nine months in countries where the height of consumer fashion is a pair of woolly mittens with alpacas knitted into them. Now in the midst of all these thin, manicured, coiffed scary Argy fashionistas I was having a crisis, which of course has continued to this very day.
Although it is very nice having shops and food and things, I have to say I am suffering pangs for those crazy Andean countries where things like having a cool haircut are just not important and where running totally amok (with or without a puma) is completely acceptable. Suddenly we are back in the kind of society where it matters what you say and do and for that matter what kind of shoes you are wearing when you say and do it and the truth is - it's boring.
Luckily we are heading off the very odd and remote Easter Island in the morning where 3000 eccentrics live and work in the shadow of the mysterious Moai. I bet they aren't too concerned about haircuts.