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Another reason why I wanted to stop by El Cafayate – Quilmes ruin was not too far away from here. According to the Footprint my travel guidebook:
“The setting is amazing, an intricate web of walls built into the mountain side, where 5000 members of a Diaguita tribe lived, resisting Inca, and then Spanish domination, before being marched off to Córdoba and to the Quilmes in Buenos Aires where the beer comes from.”
I was half doubting that I would be able to wake-up so early, especially after the alcohols during the barbeque, but the urge to check this place out got myself up super early. I met two Argentinian girls who are also going to the bus station, and we went there together.
I got off at the junction with three other people before the sun came up. The road is still relatively dark, but it has enough light to walk without a lamp. By the time we walked the 5km and arrived at the entrance of the ruins, I was quite amazed at the maze-like city ruins… Soon enough I met up with the Argentinian couple that got off the bus with me. They told me about the north and south watch towers where I could get a good view of the city, so up the hill I went.
I saw the first guided group an hour later, so I ran down to join them. They were just wrapping up their visit, and the guide told me to wait a bit. After he finished with the tour group, he came to me to guide me, but he doesn’t speak English. So he spoke slowly so that I could catch most of what he was saying. Since it was a one-on-one tour, I could try to slow him down and ask him Spanish words that I don’t understand. After his explanation, I tried to pay him, but he refused any money from me. After thanking him many time he pointed some places in the ruins for me to visit and left.
After finishing visiting the ruins, I met him at the door with a book, “hey I need your help with this book.” He waved the book at me.
It was an English children’s book. “I’m learning English,” he told me. The book was marked inside and out, and he had several pages with folded corners. He opened the pages with folded corners, and then he proceeded asking me some English words and the meaning of sentences on those pages. I happily obliged – especially since not many people could speak English in this region, I feel very grateful for people like him. Then his friend came and watched him with a smiling face, “we have waited for days to understand these words. Thank you!”
From Quilmes, Argentina, posted by Jenny Zheng on 8/05/2012 (75 items)
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