Today I’m in Catamarca, a city, with people and everything, walking around, doing stuff, bit of shopping, buying some bananas, that kind of thing. It couldn’t be more different to Fiambala. This week has been my most eventful for a while. On Saturday I agreed to go for a run with some lad who works at one of the bodegas and we ended up running all the way to the thermal baths, about 11km in total. Which normally wouldn’t be too crazy but this was over the desert with 30 degree heat piping down. At one point I thought I saw the thermals and made a sprint for it, flying across the sand and rocks. It was a mirage though, the thermals were still a good couple of kilometres away and this almost finished me off. Eventually we reached a road and then a couple of fellas from Catamarca drove past in some tiny wagon that looked like it had been designed to navigate down potholes. We wasted no time in sticking up our thumbs and jumping in the back.
There’s seemingly nothing better than ducking under volcano-warmed thermal waters after a long run though and soon i was doing my best Stretch Armstrong impressions as I tried to pull myself out of the pool.
Next day I was pretty crudo but Santi, the guy I went running with the day before, was going off to do some sandboarding with a couple of lasses, also from Catamarca, so I decided to join them. We met at around 9am and went off to the dunes, around 50km away. As soon as the first smallest dune appeared we jumped out to have a bit of a practice. It was a beautiful day, perfect blue sky, sun blazing down and total tranquility on the dunes. We practiced for about half an hour and then went back to the car before heading off to the bigger dunes, or so I thought we were doing. The two girls at this point got quite hungry and then sleepy and then suddenly very weary of the sun. They were done for the day. Me and Santi were quite against this idea, why come all the way here for a little practice on the sand, but anyway, it was their car and their decision ultimately so we headed back. I can’t help but think they were the ones that really lost out though. They came all the way from Catamarca, a four hour drive after waking up at 5am in the morning. Drove for another hour to the dunes and then had to go all the way back. A long way for a couple of slides down about 10 metres of sand.
No bother, it was still a good day, just a bit of a pity to not get some proper sandboarding action. That night I went to the thermals again, this time with Audrey, Omar and Sarah, where we had a barbecue and I spent far too long sitting under tiny thermal waterfalls.
Now we’re in Catamarca as we have to pick up Audrey’s mum, arriving for Christmas. Will be back in Fiambala later for my last week or so of work.