Sunday, March 22, 2015

Summer in southern Uruguay

The summer was warm and long. Computers and technology were forgotten and life wheeled around what seemed to be the real important factors of existence: the ocean, surf, food, dogs, cats and wine, and of course each other.

From the moment we entered, Uruguay paved the road for a very smooth ride. The people embraced us like a warm blanket, making life too easy to wonder, let alone worry about it all.

And like so many foreigners around here, we got trapped by an unexpected feeling of happiness in the midst of seemingly nothing peculiar. What are these places along the coast? 

Small, not much happens, and no world wonders. Good waves, yes. 

Maybe it is the Uruguayan coast, or just find yourself going to a place, just for a few days, and weeks later still not wanting to think about when to move on…next month…maybe. 

And so the Southern summer months ran by, living the good life, and re-living the Uruguayan slow life, as our navigating journey began here in Uruguay during the South American summer of 2012 - more good friends were made, more food digested, and more foundations build. Return invitations are again happily received, and comebacks dynamically wished for. 

Because plans or no plans, sometimes it is just time to go. Only if it would be to renew that passport stamp and stay for another month or so, or just to start another great adventure in a unknown country ahead. 

And so we find ourselves again amazed by the mystery of simple joyful living, but this time making one thing sure: our farewell is just for now. We are leaving El Verde behind, safely stored on Uruguayan ground, performing as the perfect excuse to be back again soon, and see where other vehicles and roads will take us for a while. We pick him up again in a month or so, or the next summer…who knows, but making our return. For sure. 

Summer season at La Pedrera

Roberto and German friend Sven digging water ways for the tires

The Swell kicking in Punta del Diablo

Surfers waiting for the set

Faina who blends in well with the Uruguayan landscape

 Mauri in the water

View of La Viuda

Roberto waiting for the full moon

Mari and Mauri: a creative cooking couple, two beautiful people, and, our campground hosts for most of the summer.

Santa Tereza National Park

 House at Rivero, Punta del Diablo

 Pesqueros, Punta del Diablo

 Brazilian friend Thais with one of the many summer dogs

Roberto and Semilla on the lookout

Friday, January 23, 2015

Meeting Luis

Great wisdom traditions tend to tell us that every problem in our life is an opportunity for something greater. 

'Problems as opportunities for something greater...'

It is easy to read over the words, not really and fully grasping its meaning. However, perhaps as a universal reminder, our travel seems to have been been a live demonstration of it - proofing us its truth through a ride where problems turned out to be gifts in disguise, and where problematic situations always gave us something better in return - from big and revealing, to small and nourishing, or just something surprising. As well as that day in December where we were happily cruising of the last mountain range of our trip before reaching flatter roads of the Brazilian and Uruguayan coast...

After just having passed the mountains, a steep ride down of at least 15 kilometres - something where with our old car, attention needs to be paid - on the arrival at the toll payment the car halts. I look over to Roberto who is trying to enter the first gear. Without result. "A broken clutch string", mumbles Roberto, which means no gears, no moving. While we are a little dazzled about the timing and the consequences of it all, the Brazilian road staff is clearly not and takes immediate action. Before we know it we are pushed on the side of the road and The Verde is put on the tow truck, and we are being dropped of in a gas-station nearby. Still a little stunned and realising the luck of the moment - the string breaking at the the bottom of the mountain instead of on our way down - we do know that the real hassle just begins: finding a mechanic and a string, in the middle of we don't know where, where we don't speak the language, and with a money supply that is no elevating sight either. But, instead of stressing out we learned to keep our spirits high, because we remember problems mean opportunities, and solutions simply arise by focussing the mind positively on what needed. In this case: a mechanic with knowledge, time and a good heart. And so this is what we did, and waited. But, just a few minutes into my book Roberto appears. "Guess who I bumped into..."

And so it was that we met our new friend Luis, not only with knowledge, time and a good heart, but also an elevating personality and a great story - somebody from whom we come to experience first hand Brazilian warmheartedness, something of which the country is so famous for. 

Luis turned out to be a nomadic mechanic; living and working from his truck, specialised in fixing mechanic problems on the spot, and is since a few days working from the gas-station where we just were dropped of. Due to a combination of situations, his divorce and the sugar crisis in the North and centre of Brazil, drastically lowering the truck traffic and so his main business, Luis decided to take his home and office for a spin - discovering new places in the country looking for new work opportunities and perhaps also a new love. We discovered a shared appreciation for persons with time for each other, to share their hearts, and Luis also secretly shared his dream of meeting a like-minded lady who might be up for a travel around South America together someday. But, with the things that he has - his tools, a van to sleep in and work from, and a bag full of experience - he is sure that life is smiling at him, and he is looking forward to the new adventures that await...

And so it was that Luis fixed our car, and we spend a great afternoon together, eating, talking, laughing, encountering a new friend who also seems to be happily navigating on trust. And maybe this was the message of it all: because by putting your attention on uncertainty, fully witnessing this uncertainty and embracing every moment in all its aspects, while expectantly waiting for the solution to emerge out of the situation, then what emerges often turns out to be something very nice and exiting. This counts for Luis, for us, and for all of us. From finding real wisdom, beautiful places, people, and great opportunities, to who know what more. I am curious where Luis will be in 10 years, as the same counts for us.

So we find ourselves cruising along again, with uplifted hearts, the wind in our back, and the sun upon our face. Though uncertain, we are alertly waiting for our intentions to bloom when the season is right. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe another time. Life feels good.  


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