Archive for November, 2012

Give the Kid a Camera

Posted on November 30, 2012 by 3 Comments

And he’ll give to another kid. And so on. Eventually, it comes back.

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Cerro Arequita

Posted on November 29, 2012 by 6 Comments

We set up camp at Cerro Arequita, as did hundreds of others. They came in busloads and quickly filled the mini-cabanas and campsites.  A little loud, but mostly people just walked by and stared at us. We seemed to be something of a curiosity.

The campsite was in a beautiful hill country location, quite a bit different from the coast we’ve been on only 50 miles away.  Our favorite part was a really odd assortment of animals they had in a large pen near the entrance. I did not know that these animals could peacefully coexist. Well, all but the peacock who seemed to rule the roost and terrify even the goats.

Jason went to work on a few bus projects, namely repairing my seat again (yay!) and fabricating a steering coupler.

Bode and I joined Karman, our German friend for a horseback ride. It started well, but ended with Bode rashy and teary-eyed. Apparently, he is allergic to horses (this one, anyway)  and/or the sheepskin saddle.  Lo horible!

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The Scenic Route

Posted on November 28, 2012 by 7 Comments

From Minas, we took a drive towards Villa Serrana. The back way, of course.

More rolling hills and a very nice slow drive. Along the way is a waterfall – Salto del Penitente. Not nearly as exciting as we had hoped. Bode has a theory on waterfalls that increasingly proves accurate.

The highlight was finding pools of tadpoles at various stages of development and inspecting them all. Biology class: check.

Flocks of parrots. And, a meal-sized lizard too – if anyone can identify it, you get extra credit for biology class.

We finally made it to Villa Serrana and it’s description proved correct: a tranquil little town with a small lake. It was nice, but didn’t really hold our attention for very long. So, we headed back towards Minas and found a campsite just north of town at Cerro Arequita.

Up To Minas

Posted on November 27, 2012 by No Comments

Even camping in Punte del Este can break the bank. We were happy to finally say goodbye and drove over the goofy bridge to La Barra. A much smaller and groovier town, but we didn’t stick around very long. We needed to clean the sand out of our crannies and headed inland north to Minas.

We took the circuitous back roads through the hill country. These are the kinds of roads that the motorcycles guys love. Ups and downs and lots of curves. It’s almost entirely ranch land. That probably explains whey the lamb at the cafe on the town square was so good.

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Turkeys

Posted on November 26, 2012 by 4 Comments

Not only did we get a full Thanksgiving meal, but we dined with a celebrity.

We had filmed 4 interviews at the VW show and didn’t really think much about them afterwards. The first was a very long interview in English (nailed it!) and there’s no telling where it will go. The second was in Spanish with a cute perky host and we managed to laugh our way through it. The final two were with more stoic interviewers who weren’t so forgiving with our struggles in Castellano. Hopefully, it was the second one that aired.

Anyway, after a trip to the grocery store, we went for a rare McD’s treat for Bode on Thanksgiving Day. We followed our normal routine: Bode runs to the playground, Angela orders, and I go find the baño to wash the grease and oil off my hands. We later noticed a huddle of kids on the playground and figured Bode was in the middle – it wouldn’t be the the first time. The blonde English-speaking kid occasionally gets some attention on the playground.

Bode came to the table and the huddle followed. “Every time I say something, they all go crazy!”

The huddle arrived and in perfect English, they all started asking questions. “Are you the world travelers? We all saw you on TV!” Yep, that’s us. We felt pretty special and Bode posed for photos.

Later, we had a bigger treat: a real Thanksgiving dinner. We met Moises at the VW show. He’s a former California surfer who moved down here and opened Calexico. Super nice guy and killer – killer – Mexican* food!

Moises also hosts a big fancy dinner for the local expats on Thanksgiving every year. A restaurant full of Americans and a huge family-style traditional spread (including awesome tamales!) was a nice treat. We met some more interesting folks and there was even a kid’s table for Bode. We all made new friends and stuffed ourselves appropriately.

* back in the U.S. a few misinformed folks asked us if we were tired of eating Mexican food. For the record, Mexican food is only available in Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. Finding it in any other country is uncommon. Finding good Mexican food anywhere else is extremely rare.

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Sudamericano de Fuscas

Posted on November 23, 2012 by 6 Comments

Warning: Explicit VW content. Viewer discretion is advised.

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Punta del Este

Posted on November 22, 2012 by 2 Comments

We rolled into Punta del Este looking for a VW show. We heard from the Fuscanet guys that there would be stuff for us to do all weekend, but we really didn’t know what that meant.

We cruised La Rambla and admired the city in general. Nice place. It reminds us of California, but better. In the smaller towns on the outskirts of the city, the beach, dunes, trees, and dirt roads reminded us of small California coastal towns from years gone by. Interesting houses tucked into the foliage and white sand beaches out front. Once you get to the city, it’s still pretty cool, but looks more like a mini version of Miami. It’s not even summer*, but there are already plenty of tanned and coiffed vacationers strutting their stuff on the malecón. We hear this is where the wealthy Buenos Aires Porteños come to be seen. Seems about right.

Once your go around the point, you get the wind and all the beach-side cafes disappear. That’s about when we found Los Dedos. It was done by the same artist that did El Mano del Dessierto in Chile (see the theme?) but we missed that one on our route. Not long after we parked in front of the big fingers, along came a VW caravan. Maybe 20 or so. From all over, but most of these guys were from Gramado, Brazil.

It should go without saying that we met some really nice folks (and Gramado is definitely on the list) and saw some nice classicos.


* We are at the same latitude as the southern tip of Africa.

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