Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day 24 Holy Thermal Baths, Batman!

Some days are long; some days are short.  It all depends on where the villages are.  After lumbering over 130 kms in 3 days, I passed to the south of the sole breaching whale of a mountain and found the active city of San Luis.  Though hoping would see more mountains beyond the mountain, I only discovered more endless views of flatland.  The welcomed difference is the dryness - more deserty vegetation, scrubby trees and cactus instead of lush prairie grasses and fallow farm fields, and most delightfully, no more mosquitos.  Anyone following my tracks would note the sudden interruption of the steady line of dead mosquitos I left in my trail.

The additional sudden change is the lack of population.  Hamlets are few and far between.  I still follow the old Camino Real, but sometimes with 25 kilometers or more between houses and drinking water.  A few scraggly cows and horses keep me company; the guinea pigs have been replaced by lizards scurrying beneath the underbrush.  Endless chatty birds.

Continuing along with the crappy map of Argentina, one dot looks like the next, though the legend says 0 to 1,000 inhabitants... in most cases, the population of the dot is on the 0 end of the scale.  Ghost towns around old railroad stations.  In San Luis, a provincial city of a few hundred thousand, an energetic parish priest insisted that I stop the next night in a village with another one of his 5 churches.  I was reluctant, being only 30 kilometers away, until he mentioned the thermal waters there.  Hard to find sweeter words to fill the ears of a pilgrim.  And me, a VIP (verily intrepid pilgrim?), had a long hot soak for my feet and the rest of me, sunburnt arms and all... it's great when these little gems reveal themselves, like cherries popping up right in front of you and getting surprise bonus points in the Super Mario Brothers game of life =)


Sheila Phelan Wright said...

Oh those feet must have love you for the thermal bath...sure the rest of your body did also.
Glad the mosquitoes are gone.Just had only one buzzing around me in the house, and I gave it a non-Dalai Lama smack. All sounds good.
Take care

ksam said...

Wow. Just looking at a map and seeing how far you've come and how much further to go, I'm so in awe. And so excited for you. Thanks so much for blogging, and allowing so many others to follow your journey.

Amy R said...

Glad to hear how you're doing.

unadara said...

Have only discovered you today and read 2008/9. Your watercolours are amazing. I love your stories. My friend judy met you in Denver and told me of you. Buen camino for the rest of your journey, you are so strong.

Carla said...

So I´m guessing you liked San Luis. I loved it, it had many National Parks. I try to go to at least one when I´m on a tourist trip because that is the way to get to know the natural world that exists beyond what we know. When I travelled to Argentina, I first stayed in the city in various furnished apartments in buenos aires. Then, I went to other provinces and explored nature in depth. There were so many species of animals I did not know I almost felt like an ignorant. The experience was wonderful though!