Puente del Inca (Bridge of the Inca)

11-13 May 2003.

Punta de Inca is a very tiny village that is situated at 2720m above sea level. There isn't much to do there as it serves 2 basic functions; 1) jumping of point for those insane enough to tackle Mount Aconcagua, and 2) it has an amazing natural bridge and hot springs... and accompanying cheesy tourist paraphernalia such as sulphur covered coke cans.

Jason passed his evenings drinking rum with the lovely locals and speaking very bad pigeon Spanish. The 'boys' would hang out in one shed drinking beer and trying to smoke themselves to death... they all had kids but mysteriously no women seem to be found in the whole place!

This is the natural stone bridge which was just outside our glam refugio.

It's a natural bridge under which are the ruins of an old bath house. Everything is stained yellow and green by warm, sulfous thermal springs. During our visit, we were lucky to see a very fat, naked local man trying out the natural springs.

He didn't seem the slightest bit fazed when I convinced Claire that the small room at the back was very interesting and that she should go for a look.

Bringing new meaning to the term "mother nature"... I (Jason) found this picture hard to resist and it did make me chuckle for quite sometime much to Claire's disgust.

Paging doctor Freud.... best not to show me the ink-blot test - you might not like the results

Persuing the Freudian theme in the room next door was this little 'money-shot'... and downstairs the naked Argentine.

Despite all this sexual electricity we managed to avoid bathing naked with the hump-back

The old railway station sign gives an indication of how immaculately maintained the place is... the sunset is not to bad though...

Several things happened in Punta del Inca:

- our hostel ( old railway station) had no heating, bed sheets or hot water

- our hostel had an inch of dust on the floor

- we were sleeping at 2,700m and hiked to 4,200m during the day, so altitude sickness was just beginning.

- the air is so dry that static electricity builds up continuously

This is my morning face after an evening of;

- Freezing as I had to abandon my sleeping bag due to static electricity after having a 2 inch long bolt of electricity shoot from my finger and arc itself on the bed at 2am,

- a few beers,

- local rum (read poorly distilled moonshine),

- altitude sickness,

- breathing through my mouth as my nose was blocked with dust, and

- having eaten some dodgy chicken for dinner the night before (read green-apple-quick-step)

The crowning glory of our stay here was again mistaking doce (12) for dos (2). We went for a nice meandering walk to kill some time only to get back to our hostel to find a minibus full of angry punters and an angry driver who had been waiting 15 minutes for us slackers ready to go to Chile. Combine this with the usual fiasco at the Chilean border and it took us 7 hours to drive 200 kilometres through the Andes to Santiago!!

Does anyone work at Dyson?.... We would like to send the hostel owner a vacuum... make sure it has a manual as I don't think they've seen one before.

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