San Miguel de Tucumán (or simply Tucumán for short) is the capital of the province located approx 550km northwest of Córdoba. This time round I managed to convince my cousin to take me by car, so I was saved from another overnight bus experience (wooooo). Even though we were averaging 140km/h on the road, the trip itself took just under 6 hours thanks to the potholes, the heavy fog and the numerous trucks that slowed us down.
Tucumán 50 years ago was a small town in the northern regions of Argentina. More recently, Tucumán has grown dramatically and the suburbs have rapidly expanded outwards. While nowadays nearly 800,000 people live in the city and its surroundings, Tucumán still feels and looks like the small town of the past. Orange trees line the streets in the city centre, siestas still occur so all the shops and businesses close at midday, and noone respects any road rules as you’d typically expect in Argentina. Traffic is a big problem here as the blocks are 150x150m (50m longer than in most Argentine towns), meaning there are fewer streets in the city for the amount of cars on the roads. The fact that all the motorbikes wieve between the cars and go through the red lights doesn’t make the situation any easier. Most streets are also filled with potholes and in the outer suburbs, the poverty is pretty prevalent.
With that said, I’m not going to deny that Tucumán definitely has its charm. The amount of homemade food here is astounding! Humita, locro, quesillo and empanadas tucumanas are just some of the typical dishes of the region. In the old town style, most of the food is sold on the streets, so you can’t walk a block without smelling something delicious in the air.
The city of Tucumán is surrounded by mountains, so the scenery and vegetation of the region is absolutely amasing. On two different days, we went on short road trips up the mountain to visit the small towns of Tafi del Valle, el Mollar and San Javier. The photos pretty much speak for themselves.
The Tucumán accent is extremely closed, fast and hard to desifer. An interesting thing here is that the locals don’t roll their r’s and emphasise them as much as they do in the south. I have to process twice what people say in my head before I understand what they mean. I always thought I was good at Spanish. I mean I can get by and make myself understood but it is just embarassing when I end up staring blankly at people because I don’t understand what they have just said.
Tomorrow I leave for the USA. I’m leaving from Tucumán and going via Buenos Aires and New York before reaching Phoenix, Arizona on Sunday. I’m both excited and anxious to start this new phase of my trip. I’m definitely going to miss Argentina, its food and speaking Spanish everyday.
Let’s hope they have good movies on the plane!