Well, this was the last day of the ranch. Actually, it was more like a transition day since we were leaving the estancia in the morning by the same van/truck that picked up and then drop us off in the nearest town called Tecuarembo where the bus would pick us up. And that trip was damn cold and wet as the vehicle was going fast and the wind and rain picked up along with it. I still managed to suck it up but it was miserable at times. It was also bittersweet leaving the ranch and the out fields since I really enjoyed the horseback riding and being detached from the modern world of electronics and the internet. The last time I was out in the wild for awhile with few people around was probably survival school that I attended a few years ago.
In town, I also got my passport sent to me here so I would be able to travel across borders again since Guillerme and Diana pulled a deal to get my passport back (along with the Brazilian visa in it). I don’t know how they did it but they got it somehow by having someone retrieve the passport and sent there. Something funny happened while we were in town. Because the town was a resort town, famous for its hot springs, the place has a lot of restaurants, hotels, and stores that are used to seeing tourists. Well, I happened to arrive at the restaurant a bit late and went to the restroom, finding out that I did not have a seat with the rest of the group. No big deal, I can sit by myself which was what I did. However, when it came to ordering food, I got to order first probably due to everyone else being wishy-washy on what to get. There was a huge difference though that separated me from the others was that I spoke Spanish and they didn’t. I think the waitress was tired of dealing with English-only tourists and did not come by their table at all. I remember seeing this confused, yet pissed off face on all of them wondering what the hell was going on after I got my meal before they ordered and they got there before I did!
They all eventually got their meals but it was funny to see the whole thing turn out. What’s the overlying message about all this? Attempt to speak the local language, no matter how bad. The thing is that at least you try. The whole world speaks English but only “hello,” “thank you,” and “goodbye” and that’s it. They would like to be fluent but probably never will be. I’m in a different category as I’ve studied Spanish in school and on my own so I know how to speak it more advanced which was probably why I always went out where the locals were and the others stayed within themselves. And despite the fact I might speak Spanish with some errors and with a Mexican vocabulary (Spaniards, Argentineans, and Uruguayans always do a double take on my Spanish being different before realizing it was Mexican-based), I at least get respect from the locals for speaking the language.
For example, after eating at the restaurant, I walked around town for a bit and saw this guy fishing in the river. I went up to him and started speaking to him in Spanish and asked him about fishing and what he could catch and so forth. He did end up catching two fish while keeping him company in the rain and it was interesting how open these people were if you’re willing to speak the local language. It really does open the doors and not keep people in which happens to a lot of travelers.
This incident happened again when we were at the bus station on the Argentinean side and I bought some of empanadas after inquiring where I get some. The other travelers were wondering what I was eating and where’d I get them from and I pointed to an old lady selling them, “just ask in Spanish and she’ll give them to you.” No one wanted to do it. Well, too bad for them they missed out on some great-tasting empanadas since we were getting on the bus to go up to Brazil. The Foz de Iguaçu (Iguaza Falls) and Brazil were going to be up!
Here’s information about the Estancia:
Nearest town: Tecuarembo, Uruguay
Panagea Ranch – Juan Manuel Luque/Susann Schurrenberger