Let sleeping dogs lie


Esteban the dog sleeps in the shop entrance. It’s Sunday afternoon in Salta and the streets are empty. The powerfully hot sun beats down, and the occasional light breeze fans the mad dogs and Englishmen who roam the streets in the hot air. Esteban watches as the tourists head passed the Church of San Francisco with its ornate tower and on down to the empty desolate square by the convent. 
Guido the dog takes refuge from the heat in the cable car ticket office. The ticket queue sweeps passed and over him and children run around stepping over him. He does not move, the cool floor too comforting in the ridiculous opressive heat.
At the top of the cable ride the San Bernardo teleferico deposits the Englishman 200 metres above the city. Here the heat remains stifling. Inez the dog watches the visitors take photos against the city backdrop whilst Luna sleeps under a bench keeping out of the sun.

Back down below, Orlando the dog lies in the park eating some bread and watches the locals enjoy their Sunday afternoon. Everyone moves slowly in the heat. The locals and visitors alike all waddle along, their legs slightly apart to allow the breeze to circulate and their pace slow so as not to overheat. Children play games whilst adults sit and stare, sip fruit cocktails and lick ice lollies, too hot and exhausted to move any further.


Pedro the dog sniffs around the edge of the lake. Pedalos cross the water, murky and dull  in the heat of the sun as if it’s had all the oxygen boiled out of it whilst Raul the dog lies next to the market stalls, full of knitted head-wear, religious memorabilia, cheaply printed T-shirts and scarey potato-faced dolls.

Back in the heat of the town Rocio joins the other visitors lying on the grass in front of the bandstand, seemingly passed out from the efforts of the day.


Off to the side of the square inside the neoclassical Cathedral, Sancia the dog lies in the entrance vestibule whilst Sancho encroaches further and takes her afternoon nap in the front porch, not daring to actually enter the building properly.

Leaving the centre, Senon the dog roams the streets and leads the Englishmen away from Salta’s central square and back towards their hotel, only leaving their side to run up to and madly bark at any white car that passes.

As they walk, the Englishmen reflect on their tour of Salta, originally established as a stopping point for those travelling between Lima and Buenos Aires. Today it retains its ‘one-horse’ staging post feel and caters for travelling bearded gap year students as they work their way down through South America. It feels poor and isolated, trapped in the mountains of the far north west of Argentina, far away from where the important issues happen. It’s fabric of occasional two storey Colonial buildings reminiscent of its important  Wild West past now look forlorn amidst the modern streetscapes that have engulfed them.

Finally, Ricky Togey the dog lies on his day bed in Sidmouth, exhausted by his afternoon field run and slumbering with his belly full of dinner and like his owners wonders again why he’s here?

Liam, Salta, Argentina, 15 January 2017

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One Response to Let sleeping dogs lie

  1. A. Has-Been says:

    hmmmm… can’t make out if you are enjoying your trip? I can hear regrets? If not can we have an uplifting post next?