Because of my birthday (and limited internet connection) I didn’t have a chance to write about my trip to Northwest Argentina, to the regions of Salta, Jujuy and Tucuman from October 29 to November 3. I went with my two friends Janie and Lambros, and we had a spectacular time exploring the region in a rented car (moderately dangerous considering none of us had ever driven a manual car before—don’t worry though, Lambros watched you tube videos on how to drive stick before our departure). While Argentina is one of the least indigenous Latin American countries (93% of the country is white), the Northwest is known for being the country's most heavily indigenous region while also quite well known for it’s stunning natural landscape, often compared to Arizona and other parts of the United States’ Southwest.
While physically located in South America, culturally, Buenos Aires is located somewhere in between Italy and Spain. You can eat pasta in most restaurants in Buenos Aires, and you are much more likely to hear French or Italian when walking the streets than Quecha. The European influence here in Buenos Aires is astounding, and you often forget that you are indeed in South America. It’s easy to see why this city is often referred to as the Paris of Latin America.
However, as Lambros pointed out one day, on this trip we were, for the first time, visiting "Latin America." In Northwest Argentina I felt so much closer to Peru or Mexico than I did to Buenos Aires. The indigenous roots, the traditional artisanal crafts, the colonial (but not imperialistic) European influence—all of these things made us feel far away from Buenos Aires (and Europe). We even ran into Day of the Dead celebrations in Jujuy--something that I can't imagine seeing at Recoleta Cemetery.
The three of us really bonded on our six-day trip in Northwest Argentina, and we loved getting to see a new side of the country that we have come to love. Oh, and the killer views definitely didn’t hurt.