Post by Donna
Well, we left Joaçaba almost a month ago and have been steadily moving southward until May 6 when we arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina. So this is just a recap of the last few weeks with some highlights to get us caught up.
The last days in Joaçaba were full of food – lots of good-bye meals! Moving out was complicated by John springing a hernia on the second item he moved. So Fabiano from church (poor guy) and I moved all the rest. John spent that afternoon and evening in the ER just confirming the diagnosis – pain meds are the only remedy short of surgery, which they recommended for when he returned home.
The move was one load off our plate, but 10 heavy suitcases and LOTS of transitions meant a lot more moving for Gwen and me. We just shipped the heaviest of those suitcases off to the States last night and I was sooo happy to see those huge bags go I didn’t even mind when the airlines said it would cost $200 in extra baggage fees! Good riddance! (What was in those anyway???)
Our first stop after Joaçaba was to spend a few days in Panabi, Rio Grande do Sul, the southern-most state of Brazil, visiting Eli, Cris and Vanessa in their new home. However, their home was too small to add anyone else, so they set us up with the pastors of their church, the Heep family. We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them and when we left, we said good-bye to two sets of friends in Panabi, the Zamoras and the Heeps.
Next stop was Porto Alegre, the southern-most large city in Brazil. We stayed there several days and used it as a base to visit famed Swiss, chocolate-making town, Gramado. We got there right after Easter, which was a great time to visit – lots of leftover bunnies and eggs for cheap. We also visited the zoo in Porto Alegre, among other things of interest.
On April 29, we took an overnight bus – our most comfortable ever! –to Uruguay. We got off 3 hours shy of Montevideo and made our way backwards to the coastal national park of Cabo Polonio – probably the funkiest little place I’ve ever seen. It was like a work of art on the beach – just amazing. The settlement is accessed only by these large 4-wheel drive converted trucks, and it has no electricity, except for generators. So it was two days of “roughing it,” but it felt like anything but. Cold weather and rain cut our outside time down and we didn’t get to explore the dunes like we wanted to, but we did enjoy the sea lions and lighthouse.
Next stop Montevideo. Gwen and I loved this town. To me, it’s the most European city outside of Europe (but I haven’t been to French Guyana…). It was a little run down, but just beautiful – like a 50-some year old woman who was a real beauty in her 20s and has just faded standing still in time. The food was awesome, the Spanish enchanting – I just loved almost everything about it! I did notice that the people in Brazil are really friendly compared to Uruguayos, but I learned not to take that personally. LOVED Montevideo , and I would go back just for the heck of it!
We spent our last day in Uruguay in another incredibly enchanting Portuguese colonial town just across the river from Buenos Aires – Colonia. We rented a Mule (like a golf cart) and had fun zipping around town in that.
That afternoon, we ferried over to Buenos Aires and after a maddening taxi drive through rush hour Friday afternoon traffic, we arrived at home for the next month – a very cute little apartment that we all love.
Last night, we sent John back home to look for work, but he has already found a job (we hope), so he’s going to do things like have surgery instead. Chaise, Gwen and I have six more weeks in Argentina, which you’ll be hearing more about. Yesterday just before we left for the airport, Gwen said, “Imagine if it were us leaving for home today.” I think she envied John, but we agreed that the time has just flown by, while simultaneously seeming like forever. We are determined to drink as much matte, and eat as many empanadas and rip down as many prostitute advertisements as we possibly can during the rest of our time here. Seize the day!
Post by Donna