BEAM ME DOWN, SCOTTY

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The Independent Travel
This week's random co-ordinates chosen by the computer are:

37 4' S 57 40' W

FIRST REACTION

Luckily I brought my four-foot-long hunting knife to pick my teeth with after dinner.

COUNTRY AND REGION

You have landed in the Buenos Aires province of eastern Argentina, less than 200 miles south of the capital.

NATURE OF THE TERRAIN

This is a flat, green marshy grassland on the edge of La Pampa, inhabited by cattle and the odd gaucho.

ALTITUDE

About 100 metres.

NEAREST SETTLEMENT

The cattle market and railway junction town of Ayachuco is about 20 miles to the west; the major port city of Mar del Plata is 80 miles to the south.

POSSIBLE HAZARDS

Argentina is one of the safer of the South American countries. Kidnapping or murder is unlikely to occur.

LANGUAGE

The pampa Indians are long gone, so you'll have to get by with your GCSE Spanish.

TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER

The man with the sideburns: Carlos Menem, who changed the constitution in 1994 just in time to win another election.

LIKELY WEATHER CONDITIONS

Mild and quite pleasant temperatures, around 15C in the daytime. Don't bet on staying dry though: this can be a very soggy part of the country.

REASONS FOR HANGING AROUND

Beyond the exotic bird life, the local attractions include a linen mill and a huge hydroelectric plant. Cattle eating and dancing the tango are the main pleasures after dark.

GETTING THE HELL OUT OF THERE.

Walk the 20 miles to Ayacucho, where you can catch the local train to Tandil. It's about a six-hour bus ride from here to Buenos Aires and an international airport.

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