Tag Archives: books
July 13, 2011

Thoughts on Uruguay

I want to make sure I do a “Thoughts on…” post for every country we visit, but I’ve fallen way behind.  While traveling, I try to jot these things down as they occur to me, usually on my iPhone.  I still have all my notes for every country, but I wrote down Uruguay’s way back in April.  They’re not as fresh in my mind as they were back then.

Still, let’s try to catch up a bit:


We only visited coastal areas in Uruguay – Montevideo, Punta del Este, Punta del Diablo, and Cabo Polonio – so I didn’t get to see much inland, but what I did see reminded me strongly of North Carolina.

Most of the roads between cites were two-lane blacktop and the view from the bus window was of nothing but flat farmland.  On the red dirt roads to Cabo Polonio, the view was split between farms and groves of pine trees.  Out on the highways, they even had the occasional John Deer dealership, complete with tractors and harvesting equipment lined up for display.

The beaches were uncannily like the Outer Banks, too.  The same color sand, the same tall dunes, the same tall beach grass.  I even spotted some sea fleas in the surf.  Aside from the occasional penguin or sea lion carcass washed up on the shore and the rocky point, everything on the beach was so familiar that the first thing I did when I got back to civilization (i.e., internet access) was look up the latitude for Cabo Polonio.  Sure enough, it was at almost the exact same level as Nags Nead, NC, just in the southern hemisphere instead of the north.  Makes sense that things were so similar: Same position on the globe, same Atlantic Ocean joining them together.


February 22, 2011

Thoughts on Peru

Before I started off on my first real trip out of the country – a college trip to Mexico in 1997 – our Spanish instructor gave us a little mental exercise in preparation for one of the essays we’d eventually be required to write.  He asked us to take a few minutes to examine our preconceptions about the country we were about to visit so that we could see how well they matched up with reality.

Of course, we can’t help but do that when we travel, but turning it into a conscious effort allows us to see things that we wouldn’t otherwise.

Our recent trip through Peru last month was my fourth time in the country.  With the exception of trekking in Colca Canyon, all the places Oksana and I visited were the same old places I’d been before.  Trying to remember my original preconceptions of the country was futile; for the most part, I knew exactly what to expect.

Still, traveling with Oksana (on her first trip to Peru) allowed me to see the country through her eyes.  I jotted down some notes, as I often do, about how Peru can be different from what you may expect.