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.
It is another great trip. Awesome group, everything very quiet, nice weather, calm sea, good vibes and a work willing team of Guna captains. The third day of the trip I suddenly don`t feel well. I'm freezing cold, which is strange when it`s 35 degrees Celsius. I wait a bit, but after the daily boat trip, I feel 10 times worse. Half awake, I help Jean with preparing the lunch and when everyone is happily munching on their sandwiches, I dive into my hammock. Senora Rosa Linda, the owner of the island, an old Guna woman, comes in my hut with the eternal charm of her traditional clothing and colorful jewelry. "I have some warm blankets for your Sanne, to keep you warm.” I thank her, throw two ibuprofens down my throat and fall into a deep sleep.
My hammock is suddenly swinging back and forth. It is Mogui, one of the captains. “Sanne it is Patricio on the phone.” (Patricio is a Guna with great respect, he coordinates the captains and all contact with the islands). “Sanne, please go to the hospital now while it`s still daylight, Mogui will take you together with Cesar. Mogui called me worried that you could fry an egg on your forehead. Let yourself get checked by a doctor and please let Jean take care of the group.” Yacob, a guy from Israel offers to come along. He was drunk, but he speaks fluent English and Spanish and since my Spanish with my feverbrain was pretty far away, it seemed for the best to take him.
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