Monday, 5 November 2007


3 hours west of Humuauca on yet another winding, dusty, mega bumpy, unpaved road is the village of Iruya, set in a valley and surrounded by huge mountains. We had a flat tyre about 45 minutes into the journey but luckily that was fixed in jig time.
The journey winds up one side of a mountain thru barren, desolate and yet captivating scenery and then back down the other side into a beautiful valley with massive plateaus of green fields with some agriculture which seem eerily out of place given the relative remoteness.

Iruya is really only worth a day trip unless you plan to go to the plateaus, so we just spent half a day there and had lunch. There´s a slightly unusual setup for cafes/restaurants in these more remote parts. The eateries tend to be just someones house with a few tables piled into a small room. There´s rarely a menu, so you just have to ask what´s on offer and that tends to be simple fare like empanadas, salad and of course beer (phew!). Although it´s never expensive, I´m a bit dubious about the bill since it´s delivered verbally in total with no receipt or breakdown and always rounds up to a nice even number. The more touristy you look the bigger that even number becomes. No receipt means no audit trail and hence no tax for them to pay. If you do ask for a bill, that takes 10 minutes or more as they scurry around trying to make the sum of the parts fit the total but miraculaously (hint of sarcasm) it always does!


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