From now and then

Arriving in the uruguayan military run santa teresa park in february 2020 with pina and stella our camuflage was demasked by a swiss couple. We know this van they stated and they could tell it was not us who travelled the 300.000km that are lined on a map at the side of the car. We actually never pretented having travelled all the world. It is oskar and heike who went all the way to mongolia, kanada, alaska and the panamericana down to patagonia with this van. They met uli and susanne in chile and celebrated new years eve together. Well now in uruguay it is us who ride the van and i suppose we are worthy successors.

Actually now that we returned to germany they asked for the tale of our experience with the flight agencys, so i’ll write it down. Its fun. Because it got an happy end. And its a good opportunity to start from scratch. Like most stories nowaday it started with the pandemia. Because of travel restrictions we were unable to follow our original plan to make it to chile in order to sell our car there and fly back from Arica. Due to pandemic travel restrictions we decided not to leave brasil. That might sound a little awkward because many other travellers including the chief director of the well known explorer-magazine literally fled back to Uruguay to store their car there and return savely home to wait for better times. We have had an appointment for a churrasco at serginhos condomino to which we invited martin as well. He apologized with a quick message saying he decided to leave Brasil as soon as possible.

Actually our decision to continue travelling was based on the awareness that our friends from germany would welcome us in their condominio and providing us with plenty of space and sweets. We stayed there for six weeks and like the rest of the world we gained about 5kilos each. Anybody with a disposition for conspiration-theory should think about the profit gained by sugar industrie. We observed the development of the pandemie aware of the probability to receive a shitstorm by continuimg traveling like some overlanders in chile, bolivia, argentina did. Well we have had already spend the largest part of our financial capital on the car and the outlook not to use it further seemed quite unsatisfactory. And Brasil still offered some opportunities. As Uli, well known to the dynamics of south-american mentalities stated, we would surely find plenty of marvelous sites but maybe not encounter the usual hospitality. He was partly right. The hospitality we encountered is beyond words and I can not tell if the private hellpfulness was offered in the awareness that we depended on it. I guess not. Surely our two cute boys did their part on it.

Not only the route, our journey in itself was changed dramatically. It totally lost all cultural aspects. An ancient city, Furnas, well this means in brasil an age of maximum 300 years was closed for public. An official post sent us away and denied the opportunity to park on a lonely spot with nice view over the dam of the rio grande. We asked where to sleep and the recommadation as always in brasil was to stay at a gas station. those places are normaly open 24h and secured by service. they provide toilets, showers, food and many many truck drivers that sometimes explain the dynamic of brasilian society better than history books. Well, why didnt you become a teacher, we asked carlos after explainimg us the despair of a brasilian revolution even in an oportun time like 1881 or so. No, he answered, I always dreamed of beeing a truck driver.

That moment at the rio grande we were not keen on spending the night on a gas station, so we decided to look for a better place with the possibility of swimming. Should be easy we thought, but the campsite was closed by decret, the parking at the walking path to a waterfall was direct beneath the main road with heavy trucks rushing by all night long. All tracks to the river were closed by fences and somewhere the road ended, we decided just to stay there. I found this rediculous. There is plenty of nice places that you cannot enter because they are private for questionable reasons. I felt a little dissens with the world in myself this night and was quite embarrased, when on the next morning two people entered the gate and showed fully understanding for the miserability of our situation but in no way showed any movement to let us in, like look, just pass the gate, go down and swim, nobody will mind. The loyality they showed was later on explained to me by cinthia and by the beneficial aid of the cachaca that diminished my reflexive abilities far enough to understand the cultural security i gained by birth just by being german. It took a moment of deep and serious demand on my side, that moment at the rio grande, when by chance the owner of this land with his family walked by, maybe to see what kind of people arrived there at their gate. Leo became our friend and due to his working experience in germany he greeted us in german. They offered us to stay at their gardeners house and provided us with plenty food and as Leo by itself likes and knows the german needs, with some beer. We enjoyed three nice days swimming in the rio grande that should normaly be crowded by motorboats but still nowadays due to prohibition of watertraffic by decret, remained silent. Leo offered us warmly hearted any help we might need on our journey when we finally left to seem some wild natured spots in the famous serra de canastra. His name became wizard-like qualities whenever we told others about this encounter and a nice brasilian lady told us that her grandmother spoke of leos great-grandfather as the man with a shining star on his forehead.

No museums. No theatres. No national parks. Despite from the serra de canastra were we luckily found a private host in vinicius, a dentist from the capital city Brasil and his family that took some days of on their old family land. He knew the land from childhood and he probably was not entirely wrong in saying this might be the most beautiful landscape in brasil at all. Every brasilian keeps up the beauty of waterfalls an even in the most dirty towns they state that its nice to live there because there is a waterfall nearby. Everybody who dived into the pool of a waterfall knows this to be true. In the serra de canastra we encountered about six splendid waterfalls in an two hour walk and when the main park is open for public you can visit about 50 in about three days.

It took us some more weeks to travel back from the inland to the ocean, as we promised the kids to see the beach again. And it was releaving to hear the sound of the waves and feel the power of the sea. Something changed when we continued up north to bahia where people seemed not to denie to fall in love instantly with strangers. Thats the point where my equanimity diminished when we met staël who kindly invited us to her house. And it totally ceased with Jurema and Edu who became our friends from the heart. its somehow inacceptable not beeing able to visit them like we did by opportunity while staying in the region of trancoso. I deny the laws of nature to be bound to a material location.

from this moment things started to get difficult as we decided to depart sometime to germany. Sure, there was never doubt about this, but first hand in Trancoso, when it was not for the family, the friends, the promises that made us think about the time in bahia as the final station before the journey back i would have been able to light heartedly decide to stay.

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