Posts tagged ‘Uruguay’

Scenes from beachy Morro de São Paulo

After three weeks in the magnetic city of Salvador I was getting mighty used to its comforts, neighborliness, and vibrant Afro-Brazilian culture – not to mention two rollicking weeks of non-stop festivals. I was falling for its charms and feared I might never leave.

Yet as alluring as Salvador is, underneath the party dress it’s a dense and exhausting city. I was ready to move on to somewhere more relaxed.

The beach was calling me…

The serenity of Quarta Praia in Morro de São Paulo, Brazil

So the inner rambler got me packing and off I went to Morro de São Paulo via ferry, bus, riverboat and finally wheelbarrow (i.e. “taxis” on the car-less island). On the boat over I met two robust Uruguayans, Marisa and Rosita. We hit it off instantly.

The gals lassoed me into staying with them on the Segunda Praia (aka the Party Beach) where we could split the costs for a triple room which would be about the same price as bunks in the hostel. Sounded good to me – my intuition gave me the green light so I bunked with two crazy chicas for the next four days.

Local tout Luis latched onto us as soon as we stepped off the boat. He was at first our taxi driver (i.e. hauling our backpacks in the wheelbarrow), then our hotel booking agent, and later our “Julie McCoy,” planning our activities and events. He received a kickback from the operators (i.e. no cash directly out of our pockets) and he was goodhearted in nature and genuinely friendly towards us.

With Marisa and Rosita, the indefatigable Uruguayans, at our perfect <em>pousada</em> above Café Marilyn

We stayed at the personable Marilyn Café (as in Monroe) where we rented a second-floor triple (with a spacious terrace) right on the beach with great views of surfers, volleyball players and passing pedestrians. The owner, Alessandro, a transplant from Milan who landed in Morro de São Paulo, fell in love with a Brazilian beauty and started a business and family. The pousada was small and family run and the perfect place to kick back for a few days.

Quaint and colonial Morro de São Paulo, perched at the northern end of Ilha de Tinharé, can be magical: the beaches are pleasing, the atmosphere is laid back, and the nightlife is chill with candlelit dinners and easy-breezy music. People are receptive, fresh-catch seafood and ice cold beers are always at hand, and the rhythms of surf and samba flow through the air.

Smiling local youngsters add to the warmth of Morro de São Paulo

Morro de São Paulo is touristy. Very. A fortress outpost established in the early 1600’s, it protected Portugal’s American Empire for three centuries. But Morro de São Paulo has been less successful in withstanding the tourist invasion in recent decades. This onslaught has turned practically every square inch into a pousada guesthouse, café bar, pizzeria or flip-flop shop peddling the ubiquitous Havaianas brand – Brazil’s de facto national footwear.

Salvadorans, Brazilians, Argentines and Uruguayans flock here in droves – especially on weekends – but the island does a respectable job of absorbing the masses. With the right attitude, Morro de São Paulo is pure pleasure.

Continue reading ‘Lindo Maravilhoso! Merrymaking in Morro de São Paulo’ »

Playing the role of Uruguayan gaucho ~ Drinking yerba maté, the ubiquitous Southern Cone tea-like treat

Playing the role of Uruguayan gaucho ~ Drinking yerba mate, Uruguay’s ubiquitous tea-like treat

I was exceedingly lucky be selected by my high school as an exchange student to Minas, Uruguay during my junior year.  Words cannot describe the excitement, the challenge, the thrill, and the difficulty I experienced leaving one world and arriving in another.  I returned from Uruguay with new vision, the world in an instant larger, compelling, irresistible.  I was ready for more, lots more.

This experience was the defining moment of my teenage years, rooting my wanderlust, and opening my eyes and heart to the Great Out There.  Uruguay is forever a part of my soul, my love for my family there and the exhilarating yet poignant memories I hold close to my heart.

My warm &amp; wonderful adoptive Uruguayan family (clockwise from top left): Mamá Lilián, sis Alejandra, bro Jorge, sis Analía

My warm & wonderful adoptive Uruguayan family (clockwise from top left):
Mamá Lilián, sis Alejandra, bro Jorge, sis Analía

In the classroom at the Instituto Eduardo Fabini in Minas

In the classroom at the Instituto Eduardo Fabini in Minas

With my Norwegian AFS friend Anne at the Plaza Libertad in Minas

With my Norwegian AFS friend Anne at the Plaza Libertad in Minas

"The return of kidnapped children depends also on you... your signature decides" ~ Sign supporting a referendum to bring the military leaders to trial following a repressive dictatorship that ended in 1985

The return of kidnapped children depends also on you… YOUR SIGNATURE DECIDES
Sign supporting a referendum to bring the military leaders to trial following a repressive dictatorship that ended in 1985

A more formal moment with my family before a fiesta de quinceañera birthday bash

A more formal moment with my family before a fiesta de quinceañera birthday bash

This is how I remember my family — all love and warmth!

This is how I remember my family — all love and warmth!

My Summer So Far

So it’s been a typical, Arcadian summer here on the Maine coast… weather has been dry and warm with sunshine, the best in memory!  Mark and Amy have provided super companionship, a renewed interest in all the area has to offer, and we have welcomed a number of visiting guests.

Continue reading ‘Summer So Far’ »

Southern Cone 2002

This was a month-long trip I took in November and December 2002 with a primary focus on Patagonia and the Andes regions.  I still remember how constantly I was on the move, so much to see over a HUGE geography.  The conventional maps (oriented with the northern hemisphere at the center) don’t adequately scale South America, but new reversed map constructs such as the Upside-Down map better represent land mass proportions.  Imagine taking a bus over half the continental USA in a mere four weeks, sightseeing to boot.

These entries were originally emails to friends and family, here they are presented with photos.  Enjoy!

Uruguayan Reunion

27 Nov 2002

Here’s the latest of my travel adventures.  Wow so much has happened, let’s see where I last left off… oh Buenos Aires, was it?  Seems like an eternity ago…

Continue reading ‘Family Reunion & (Even Further) Southbound‏’ »