20 Jun 2012

Middle of Somewhere (Part II): Los Molinos

Argentina's Route 40 that stretches north to south across the entire country, is virtually impassable without an all-terrain vehicle between the two little towns of Angastaco and Los Molinos in Salta. This dirt road sports fierce curves, sandy trenches, and river or two that directly bisect it. As such, no public bus goes between the two towns. Luckily enough for me however, a group of school children from Angastaco goes to school in Molinos during the week. I happened to be in Angastaco on a Friday meaning that all of the town's sturdy pick-up trucks were off to the little town of Molinos to fetch the 30 some-odd kids coming home for the weekend.

On these impassable roads, hitch hiking is a business. Those with durable vehicles can make a living driving from one town to the next, picking up vehicle-less countryfolk who flag them down on the way, charging between 5 and 30 pesos depending on the length of the journey. Besides bringing people from one location to another, often the drivers of these vehicles are put in charge of sums of money to deliver to family members in other towns, they can transport packages or goods from village to village, or sell news papers along the way.

I arrive safely in Molinos (Population: 1000, Number of Hotels: 2, Restaurants: 3, No: Internet, Yes: Cell Service!), thanks to eighteen-year-old Maxi, my round faced driver with gummy cheeks and a handful of rogue hairs wandering around his chin.


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