Tuesday, November 20, 2007


It is hot. That´s what was thinking as I trudged through the sand covering the path through the sugar cane field. I had been walking for too long without shade due to an unfortunate shortcut attempt. I never really appreciated shade before coming to South America. Now it´s not just comfortable, it´s necessary. It´s a long walk through this field, but it´s a good shortcut to get to Guarambarè where I use the internet. The other way to get there requires two busses and twice the fish skin. Anyway, it´s rare that I have a free afternoon during training and I wanted to spend some quality time inside my brain.

Back at the house it´s a continuous stream of attention from the kids and the animals, out in the field on the dirt path it´s just me and the sun. The two most important things that I brought with me are my hiking boots and my Tilley hat. Every time I walk down the only "cobblestone" road without breaking an ankle or a foot I think how thankful I am for those boots. The fact that I still have skin on my face is 100% due to my hat. I finally hit the routa at the end of the sandy red dirt path and made up my mind to catch a bus instead of walking the rest of the way into town. It can be done, but not on days like this. The asphault of the routa singed my nose with fumes and could have singed my feet through my boots if I stood in one spot too long. I found some shade to stand under and waited for a bus.

I don´t know how it is in the US because I never took buses, but here you can get any bus to stop for you by simply sticking out your hand like you would if you were a falcon trainer. The next bus to come by slowed down enough for me to jump on before tearing down the road again. I paid and sat down. It was mostly empty, nobody does much when it´s this hot. The wind blowing in my face didn´t help much, but at least I was moving. The long haul buses here are big and sometimes have bathrooms, similar to a greyhound bus back home. The short trip buses like the one I take to Guarambarè is probably 30 years old. Every trip in one of these is an adventure, and they are usually the best and only way to get around. Half the time there is a string you can pull to signal the driver to stop for you, but this wasn´t one of those times. I made my way up to the front as he swerved around people, parked cars, and animals. "Upepè por favor" I said pointing to the internet cafè. He nodded and took a sip of terrerè before slamming on the breaks.

I jumped out onto the hot street, alone in the heart of South America in a city full of people I can barely communicate with and who might never fully understand why or how a NorthAmerican is down here buying chipa and talking about the forest like he lived there. Every day is an adventure. Aiko porà - life is good!

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