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.
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!
The saga continues after hangover recovery, on to Uruguay for a great family reunion, then en route to Patagonia…
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…
Anyway, after I finally recovered from the Big Gay Night Out hangover, I was ready to rally again by 6 PM, so I reunited with the Argentine juggler since she invited me to this REALLY COOL community theater event in a working-class neighborhood just south of downtown. She said the theater is a converted warehouse (just my type) that was intended to be an arts school, buy that never happened. Anyway the rough-n-tough locals decided to turn it into a community theater and for twelve years have produced barrio-written and performed original works. It receives no governmental funding but has managed to produce very innovative theater and have established a reputation for excellence among porteños…. That night’s performance was called “El fulgor argentino” and was sort of a musical/performance art thingey that dealt with the history of the neighborhood from the 1920’s until now, involving amazing costumes, cool music, probably 100+ local performers (no professionals), incredible puppets, sound efects, etc etc. Wow, I TOTALLY loved it as you can well imagine. Even before the show there were a couple street vendors selling everything from gourmet pizzas, roast lamb on a spit (even I admit it *looked* tasty), more than a dozen homemade pastries, beer, wine, etc. Very different from the Italian sausage crapola normally sold on the streets. I treated my friendly host to both the show and pre-event wine/dessert — the total cost: $9. Unbelievable.