We arrive in Chuy. A little town close to the border of Uruguay and Brazil. It has just as much charm as any other border town here in South America. But this one appeared to be a true mecca for tax free shopaholics. On every spare square meter, a shop was squeezed in. they were then filled up with useless stuff and the windows decorated with over the top advertising in Spanish and Portuguese.
“Sorry sir, but do you maybe know where the buses to Brazil leave from?” I ask a man in a sports shop. “Oh, it`s just on the other side of the street sinora. Do you see that tall building over there? That is the bus terminal.” With a smile and a “gracias” I show him my gratitude and signal to Grant that we need to walk further.
In the main hall of the bus station there is a gigantic counter protected by jail bars. It quickly appeared that these jail bars were here to protect the customers against the bitchy sales women. A true killer-bee ready to sting. It became clear very quickly that she felt she was way too good for this job.
Slowly I open my eyes. With a big smile I look at the wooden planks next to the bed. They make a somewhat improvised wall between the kitchen/living room/bedroom and the tiny little bathroom. It`s just like a tiny little hobit hole. The wooden cottage we found ourselves in. It might be 15 square meters at most, but of my god, I loved this little hut so much!
“Hola Sanne, Grant! Como estas? How are you guys doing?” With a big hug I greet my cousin Pamela. Before we left to the breathtaking Patagonia, we had visited my family in Buenos Aires. The decendants of the brother of my grandfather. He had grabbed his bags after the war and traded the Netherlands for Argentina. Like a lot of people of that time he was lured by the great stories of counties far away, countries full of changes, countries full of jobs and money, a new adventure, a new start. A deep sense of respect arises when I think of these people. “Are we still true travelers?” I think to myself. In the past there wasn`t an endless number of travel guides, travel forums, travel blogs. You weren`t able to `google` where to go, how to prepare yourself or what to expect. You just bought a one-way ticket, took some cash and put some clothes in the suitcase. You embrace your family and friends for one last time and off you go. You turn around one last time and wave them goodbye, knowing you may never see them again. You`ve promised to write them but itwill take weeks for you to get into your promised land and then another few weeks just for the letter to arrive. What a joy it must have been to find the money to make a phone call, to finally hear that familiar voice again, to finally speak in your mother tongue once more. For sure, you must have felt lost and lonely.
After a burn-out it was time for a change. I quit my job, sold my stuff and bought a one-way ticket to the Dominican Republic. What was supposed to be a 4 month adventure turned into 2,5 years and counting......
Photo by: Vanessa Marques Barreto