A two-hour bus ride from Cafayate, along a winded dirt road through devastating landscape, leaves me at the corner of the dusty little plaza in Angostaca, Salta. Population: 1,200. Number of restaurants: 3. Hotels: 2. Gas Stations: 1. No: Internet, Cell Service etc... The kind of town where even the dogs know you're not from around.
The only other visitor in the town, a lanky, curly-haired porteño, and I go to eat at one of the town's three restaurants: El Rincon Florido, my home away from home.
Down a sandy alleyway and through an arch, we emerge in the El Rincon's low ceilinged patio, shaded with a lattice of grape vines and hanging gourds. From ceiling to floor the walls are ornamented with assorted country decor; leather whips, rusted out irons, armadillo skins, braided rope, broken farm tools, saws and machetes, and my personal favorite, three cell phones dating back to the late nineties.
The seventy-something owner offers us a cardboard box filled with postcards from far and away places to thumb through as we wait for our meals. He brings out the guitar and serenades us with the region's folk music, banging out the familiar tunes with his swollen fingers. His voice is as literal as a snare drum, attacking each note with pain and determination.
We listen intently, quaffing his homemade wine. Alcoholic yet sweet, it emits the faint odors of old raisin and animal hide.