Category Archives: Argentina

Zombie Hunger

Salta – 21-04

We arrived to Salta by hitchhiking with two friendly government workers. We knew nothing about the city, but the two guys told us it was really truly “beautiful” and that it had the best empanadas. We seriously thought it was going to be like another big city in Argentina, but it was different than all our other experiences. The place was  absolutely gorgeous and had many interesting things to do, like climbing a mountain, visiting the lively market and exploring the many museums. Unfortunately, metal-wise, there wasn’t much that was interesting… there was only a few “metal” shops which were more Japanese animation bootleg shops with 10 metal CD’s. Did I mention that “metalheads” in the north of Argentina love Japanese animation? We even saw people dressing up in characters in a park. WTF!

Of all things metal, this is the CD we saw the most often... a deluxe re-issue of Black Sabbath’s Dehumanizer! (???)

So back to Salta, here is what makes it so beautiful:

The main square with a General Guemes statue (his remains are in the town’s Cathedral)

San Francisco church, one of the highest churches in South America!

The gift shop on the side of the San Francisco church

The view from the San Bernando mountain, after climbing 1200 stairs!

An epic Spanglish moment with a beautiful sunset

As you can see, Salta is a super catholic town, but what makes it fascinating, is that it has a secret-society past; the religious buildings are filled with ancient Masonic symbols:

The Cathedral facade with the all-seeing eye

A square on the top left side of a church

A compass and other Masonic symbols on one of the doors of the San Francisco church

We also went to some pond, which had the weirdest, ugliest looking ducks we’ve seen. They looked like a cross between ducks, pigeons and condors, and swam by bringing their necks forward like pigeons do for walking! Really weird! Here are some photos, be sure not to be eating while looking at them, or you will surely lose your appetite.

The pond of ugly ducks

Ugly duck #38

Ugly duck #15

They were kinda cute when you fed them though, as they wiggled their tail happily like a dog:

Now, to regain your appetite, here is some of Salta’s culinary gems:

Locro – a hearty Andean soup consisting of a corn/carrot broth, a piece of osso-bucco, a piece of meat and some pieces of tripes

Some fresh goat cheese (this 500g piece cost us 5$ only!)

Otro Mundo beer. A nice strong ale with a bitter flavour. Ok, this is actually a Buenos Aires beer, but we saw it everywhere in Salta for some reason!

And we had some extraordinary empanadas at the Patio del Empanada, which was conveniently located close to our hostel:

A lady preparing some meat empanadas

The pot of gold (empanadas). You see here 1 empanada de choclo (corn), 2 de queso (cheese) and 3 de carne (meat)

Inside a meat empanada. The trick here is to not cook the meat before putting the empanadas inside the oven, that way they keep all their juices inside the empanadas and stay moist. Perhaps that could be incorporated in our way of doing “tourtières”! They also add some onions, green onions and tiny pieces of potatoes. So good!

Anyway, it was also the Santa Semana when we were in Salta – the Easter week. We thus had to try some Easter food; holy bread and holy chocolate (which was sold for 1$ on the side of the street):

The easter egg had some candies inside... but they weren’t really good. The holy bread tasted pretty much exactly like the buns we have in Canada.

San Salvador de Jujuy 24-04

To finish our trip in Argentina, we decided to make a stop in S.S. Jujuy to use its hot springs (Termas de Reyes), located at about 15 km from the city. They are situated in between tall beautiful mountains, and the water reaches 50 °C! Unfortunately, it wasn’t in some small lake or anything, we had to swim in a pool, but it was still really nice. Apparently, the Incas used to travel there to heal themselves, in old times:

The amazing scenery of the place!

François relaxing on the pool side, reading his new Pappo book

The pool, which cost only 3.25$ to enter (whole day)

And to finish this chapter on Argentina, here are our metal scores:

Thanks for helping us with some of those, Mr. Baphometal!

And here is an ultra special gift for all of you, a compilation I made of some great Argentinean bands we discovered during our trip, from the 70’s to now!! Enjoy!!! (I think most of these bands – if not all – are from Buenos Aires)

DOWNLOAD Argentinian Metal Compilation here!

1 – PAPPOS BLUES – Sucio y desprolijo
(1973 – Volumen 3)

2 – DRAGONAUTA – Muerte Y Destruccion
(2010 – Cruz Invertida)

3 – V8 – Si Puedes Vencer Al Temor
(1983 – Lucando por el Metal)

4 – HELLION – Leyes
(1984 – Hellion)

5 – THOR – Transilvania
(1985 – El Pacto)

6 – BLOKE – Antes del Fin
(1984 – Demolicion)

7 – HERMETICA – Craneo Candente
(1989 – Hermetica)

8 – RETROSATAN – Esperando El Final
(1987 – Grito Mortal demo)

9 – CANCERBERO – Lucifer
(1986 – No Juegues Con La Muerte demo)

10 – NECROPHILIAC – No Way To Hide
(1990 – Dark Life demo)

11 – INFERNAL CURSE – Morbid Sorrow
(2010 – The Evil Is Not Dead… It Waits To Be Reborn)
Cheers!

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Over the Mountain

Córdoba
04-11
After the nice vacation of Villa General Belgrano we went to Córdoba, Argentina’s second biggest city, settled in the 1500’s. To be honest, we didn’t want to leave V. G. Belgrano. We are starting to prefer smaller towns to big cities, haha! Nevertheless, we had a great time in Córdoba… we preferred it to Buenos Aires for its calmer feel and its nice Colonial architecture:

Córdoba cathedral

As Argentina’s cultural capital, we knew that we could find some metal things in Córdoba. We didn’t find anything online, so we went pretty much everywhere that looked kind of “rock” and asked around. We ended up finding many record shops, and even a metal bar! The place was called Metal Home, and is actually a “pizzeria metalera”… I was very excited indeed. Haha!

Metal Home owner, myself (with a killer Arabe Empanada in the mouth) and François!

I did some DJ there for a night. Although there weren’t many people, we closed the bar at 6AM after listening to killer songs all night… I even did a bit of bartending hahahaha

Some German-style beers in Metal Home

Serving beer in Metal Home

Metal Home owner with napolitena pizza!

The next day, we were invited by Fuser (headbanger and reporter at RPM radio station) for a metallic asado (BBQ). We were very excited because we would finally be able to try real Argentinian bbq!

We started by going to the market to get some nice and cheap meat for our feast:

Cordoba market

Fuser ordering some short ribs in the Cordoba market

Selection of meat at the Cordoba market

Sausages for bbq at the Cordoba market

So after, we arrived at Fuser’s house and started preparing the barbecue. Here in Argentina, you start by heating coals in a smaller part located on the side of the barbecue. The coals are then moved to the bigger part using a metallic shovel thing.

Preparing the coal for a godly asado!

Corn, short ribs, tire de asado, chorizos... yummy!

Fusers weird spacy cat, begging for meat!

That’s what we pretty much did in Córdoba, haha! We tried to visit some places, but since people here take siestas from 1PM to sometimes 5PM, we missed everything (or sometimes, museums would be closed for renovations). We took it easy and followed the Argentinian siesta schedule as close as possible hehe

Tucumán
04-16
After Córdoba, we took a 8-hour night bus to San Miguel de Tucumán, the 5th biggest city of Argentina. It’s a big city – but it has a small village feel. It’s also there where Independence from Spain was declared, in the 1800’s.

A cool example of the local architecture: Tucumans house of the government (or something) by night

Cute dog sleeping in the last patch of grass of the city...

We had a taste of their local junk food, some sort of cross between waffles and hot dogs! They were called Panchuques:

Waffle dog!

The making of the waffle dog

We only stayed in Tucuman for six days, and then took the bus to Cafayate – which is about 6 hours away, in the north:

Our ticket to Cafayate

The drive to Cafayate was absolutely amazing; I have never seen so many changes of landscapes in my life!! There were mountains with clouds, deserts with cacti, red mountains, rivers and we started seeing wild llamas. It was really incredible, although the ride was quite rough on my digestive system haha. We ascended about 1600 meters in 3 hours. It seemed like we were going higher than the sky!

Going up in the clouds...

A cool landscape on the way to Cafayate from Cordoba

Cafayate
04-18
We arrived in Cafayate in the afternoon. It really felt like we were finally seeing some true South American landscapes and architecture. There were also more aboriginal people; a proof that we are getting close to Bolivia! Anyway, Cafayate is located almost 1700 meters above sea level, and is in the center of the Valles Calchaquíes. Known for its exquisite wine and martial-like landscapes, it became a popular touristic center in the last few years. The town itself is really beautiful and relaxing. I think this is the best city we’ve been to in Argentina… a truly magical place!

Cafayate orange church thing

The Cafayate town square

The worlds happiest donkey eating the town square

We encountered a pulperia, which is a place that gauchos (Argentinian cowboys) could find anything they needed; booze, bread, spices, meat, horse stuff… Like what they call a magasin général in Québec. they are pretty much extinct nowadays, so it was cool to be able to visit one of ’em:

The last pulperia

Inside the pulperia

Since the city has been built around bodegas (wineries), we were able to visit some by foot. We only did two; Nanni and Transito. The one we preferred was Nanni; an organic winery that produced world-renowned wines. The climate in this part of the country is perfect for growing grapes; there is not much water so the plantations are not infested with fungi and insects. On top of that, there is a lot of wind – which also prevents insects to feed off the grapes, so no insecticide is needed. The resulting wine is very tasty and strong, reaching 15% in alcohol!

Backyard of Nanni brewery. Notice the nice mountain landscape!

The winery cat with a cork necklace

Filling up wine bottles with the liquid of the gods

The bottles of Nanni brewery

And for 5 pesos (about 1.25$), I was able to taste some of the wines produced by Nanni. I had two different types of red wines, and two white wines. Below is a photo of myself drinking the Torrontés white wine, which is a made from a type of grape specific to that region. It was really killer; fruity and not dry at all. Perfect for a burning hot day!

Trying some Torrontes wine (and really enjoying it!)

We ended up buying a bottle of Tannat red wine, which I thought was the best red wine of the tasting. We made some nice pasta to go with it, at the hostel:

Our meal, once again, some super garlic pasta sauce with zucchini and carrots.

And then for dessert, the local specialty… wine ice cream!

Myself with a Carbanet Sauvignon wine ice-cream!

Speaking of the hostel, I forgot to mention it, but Argentinian households has a different thing in their bathrooms… bidets! At first, I though they were just men’s urinals, but François told me it was for washing the asshole area. I think it’s quite useless personally; is it because people here don’t like taking showers, so they just wash their genitals instead? I don’t know! Anyway, here is a photo of it:

Hostel bathroom and bidet

And here is myself, demonstrating how to use it. This position is for washing the asshole, sitting the other way is for washing the other stuff. You know…

Myself on the bidet hahaha

So now, the biggest and coolest part of our trip to Argentina so far; its surreal northern martial landscapes! We took a 50-minute bus north to the Quebrada de Cafayate, straight into the Devil’s Throat. Sculpted by 80 000 years of water and wind, it was an absolutely otherworldy sight:

La garganta del Diablo - the Devil's throat!

We walked 20 kilometers, and visited many other killer places. The view on the way was truly fantastic:

François with a Trouble-style tree

The scenery. Notice the different colors of the mountains... pink, red, green, gray... it was really incredible!

François, with his Black Sabbath hiking hat

A river in between the mountains. There used to be a much bigger river there, a few thousands of years ago...

The scene changed slowly as we walked…

A winery with some cool mountains in the background

The frog! Sculped by Pachamama herself.

Some cool rock formations

We then took a bus back, instead of walking 30 more kilometers to the city. Haha. Anyway, this hike was really killer, and it was absolutely overwhelming to be surrounded by such massive natural structures. We were speechless, really… and it was also really nice to be in total silence most of the time. Anyway, I recommend this place to anyone going to Argentina… it is not to be missed!

Tomorrow, we will be going to Salta, and then Jujuy… our last two cities before we reach Bolivia! More news later!


Lost in Necropolis

Sunrise and our airplane at the Santiago airport

We arrived at the Santiago airport on Monday morning, April 4th. We had printed electronic tickets, but nowhere did it say which airline it was! So we wondered around everywhere, a bit stressed, and after a good 30 minutes we found out that we were booked on a Brazilian airline called GOL. Phew! The flight was quite good and we arrived in Buenos Aires after about 1 1/2 hour.

We had a beautiful view of The Andes (huge chain of mountain separating Chile from everywhere else) from the aiplane window:

Los Andes

Buenos Aires
The city of Buenos Aires is really beautiful, it kind of reminds me of a mix of Paris and New York with lots of Italian food. The people are quite nice, and the architecture is really detailed and very European style:

The micro center of Buenos Aires

On Monday night (or should I say, very early Tuesday morning?) we went to see a show which featured Stoner/Doom metal band Dragonauta. For some reason, they sounded even more powerful than on their albums! Their riffs were amazing, and people went totally insane… here is a photo of their set:

Dragonauta

Thanks a million to Alejandro for the invitation to the gig!

The next day, we finally tasted some of the famous Argentinian steak. We had Bife de Chorizo (a steak from the back of the cow) at a restaurant called Pippo. The meat was very good and tasty, and was cooked over charcoal (they call it parrilla around here). I actually had a better steak in Montreal last summer, so I am still craving an absolutely mind-blowing steak from here, but here are the photos anyway!

The steak with some bread and some pumpkin purée

Cutting the baby up. Notice the fat on the left? That's extremely crucial to the taste of the meat! Never remove all the fat before putting it on the grill!!

We also had some of Buenos Aires’ famous pizza, which tasted ok (the crust was quite nice) but I prefer my very own hahaha:

Pizza Napolitena from El Cuartito

But what we enjoyed the most, and what we will remember Buenos Aires for, is its cemetery…

La Recoleta Cemetery
Located in a high-class neighborhood, this cemetery dates from the late 1700’s and contains about 4300 mausoleums – all above ground. You can say it is some sort of Necropolis (a city of the dead) because it actually has roads:

Lost in necropolass...

And the coolest thing about this cemetery is that alot of vaults have been forgotten for years, even centuries… so some are extremely dusty and have ancient spiderwebs…


Ruins of a mausoleum

Highlight of the visit? A coffin so broken that the skull came out!!! WOAAHH!

There was also some cool stuff, like Egyptian ornaments:

Egyptian mauseoleum detail

A necrocat:

She loves the dead!

A zombie grave:

Perhaps the mausoleum of one of the ancient ones...

And some other cool cryptic stuff:

Life after death

Some big-shot mausoleum

We also went to a friend – Eric (Baphometal zine and distro)’s place, and had a killer dinner while talking about traveling and metal from all over the world. (We listened to some Nepalese metal and more!) It was really eye opening, as Eric and his girl are great travelers that went all over southern Asia and India on a 2$ per day budget. Really cool! They taught us a lot… a million thanks to you two!

So that’s what we pretty much did in Buenos Aires! Haha! On Friday, we took a 11-hour night bus north to Villa General Belgrano.

Before entering the bus, I had one of these babies. They are from Paraguay and I forgot the real name, but I call them crackbread because they are hellishly addictive and they are sold in the streets. They are filled with cheese and squeak when you eat 'em!

Inside the bus. Check out the leg space! We can stretch it out fully! Unfortuntely though, the temperature inside the bus was extremely cold when the night came... we froze our asses and barely slept most of the night.

Included was a huge meal! Pictured you see breaded chicken, potato omelette, bread, fried thing that tasted like onion bhaji and a dulce de leche roll. On top of it, they gave dessert with consisted of waffles, chocolate and dulce de leche candies! Oh, and a huge bottle of pepsi!

We arrived to Villa General Belgrano at 8 in the morning….

Villa General Belgrano
Located in the mountains in the province of Cordoba, and with a population of 6000 people, Villa General Belgrano is quite a strange village. It was mostly populated by German sailors that survived from a ship wreck in the 1940’s! The town is absolutely charming; the houses are made Bavarian style and they host the world’s third biggest Oktoberfest festival. We stayed two days only, but in a bed and breakfast. Luxury!

François with the drunken bus terminal sign

The village of Villa General Belgrano

Our bed and breakfast - Las Acacias

With Obelix, the dog of the place!!

The place also had some killer German-style restaurants and microbreweries which we tried of course!

Vienna sausages, smoked pork chops with sauerkraut and potatoes. The sauerkraut was absolutely amazing... I ate the whole thing by myself haha

Reading a fanzine on the side of a tiny river

Some micro-brewery beer (Waffe) with François' hands in the background. This one wasn't my favorite because I am not big on unfiltered beers, but it tasted really fresh and nice anyway!

So that’s all for Villa General Belgrano. We really enjoyed that city, although it was really weird to be immersed in so much German culture in Argentina hahaha!

This afternoon we arrived in Cordoba, the second biggest city in Argentina. We didn’t get to visit too much, but so far it’s really cool. More news from that city later on this week, I guess!!

Cordoba in the evening...