This is Elise. Argentina is a wonderful country and I hope they don't take offense but I feel like I inadvertently signed up for a sleep deprivation experiment. This country takes siesta time seriously. The towns are empty and everything is closed in the afternoon. It seems like such a shame to be sleeping on such a beautiful day. I can understand wanting to lay low if it's blazing hot like in Cartegena but it is a sunny 72 degrees. Night falls and the stores open. The town comes alive. The restaurants don't open until 8 or 9pm. The parties start around 10 or 11 and go until 3am. Camping has exposed us more to the culture. Every night there has been some kind of organized party going on in the two campgrounds we have stayed at. Thursday night there was a group of elementary school kids that were around the campfire until midnight. Last night I was treated to a talented folk music band until 2am then disco music until 3am. Everyone was up and the music was pumping again by 8am. I saw them setting up more big speakers for what looks like a little girls party tonight and they have been testing the speakers out all day long. When do these people sleep???
Other than the wierd schedule they are on, the country is wonderful. We are in the wine country town of Cafayate. It looks like Sonoma, California but cuter. I looked up at the horizon from our campsite yeserday afternoon and thought I was looking at the sunset with the sky all pink and red. It was really the mountains that are colored red like the Southwestern United States. Imagine a combination of Napa and Sedona and that's Cafayate, Argentina. The climate is dry but the trees are big and mature. There are a ton of birds singing including some kind of dark parakeet. Later I want to sample some of the microbrews and wines this area is known for.
It's now 1:30pm and the kids' party has started with kids screaming and music blaring. So much for a nap. I can now appreciate culture shock and how difficult it would be to move to a different country.