Gaucho Show (Behind Fences)

As if injected with a shot containing a little bit of everything, I feel revived, swimming in a pool of contentment, tranquility and a feeling usually unknown to me: at rest. After nearly three weeks inactivity, I must take a day off to reset back into camping, fires and bread baking.

done Claudia and Roxanna 2

done 2018-30-06-22-07-46

2018-21-06-20-06-20

2018-21-06-20-32-05

After having tried to discover beauty in the heartland of Uruguay, I now simply take the main road, and skid on. Upon leaving a stealth camp where a dozen of men are cutting eucalyptus, no one raises an eyebrow when I emerge from the patch of oak forest. Instead, they help me push the bicycle on the road.

IMG_20171010_190309_636-001

IMG_20171010_190620_444-001

IMG_20171109_164527_714-001

IMG_20171011_211551_148-001

done IMG_20171014_211008_685-001

From Paysandu I move nicely along the quiet route 3 to Salto and Bella Union. The wind shifts, the sun shines, until clouds make their appearance.

done DSC_0151 (2)

done2018-19-06-19-55-34

done DSC_0068 (2)

Then rain blows vertically across the road.

done 2018-30-06-22-11-16

I trespass, but only once out of 6 nights.

IMG_20171012_212923_731-001

2018-19-06-20-33-13

done IMG_20171015_214220_830

The fences don’t bother me, the boring landscape does not bring my mood down, the rain has little effect on my brain; I happily sail north with the wind in my back. Out of two choices I chose the better one.

doneDSC_0161 (2)

doneDSC_0171 (2)

When I enter the tax-free shop in the last town in Uruguay, I feel like a contemporary example of ancient sapiens. Shambling between rows of perfume, where I notice myself covering my nose. Shuffling between shelves of high-end priced creams, asking the lipstick lady with immaculate clean hands for help. Its lovely being in this upscale shop with stained clothes, smokey odor mixed with the faint fragrance of a week-long absence of a shower, greasy hair and feeling confident.

done 2018-19-06-19-54-53

Irony has it that there are less fences to be climbed. Some patches are without, some entrances are open and some grazing pastures have thick undergrowth beneath a row of eucalyptus in front of the fence.

done 1

done2018-19-06-19-42-32

DSC_0281 (2)

DSC_0754

Irony has it, too, that once I am in Brazil, I have great difficulty finding a spot. I hear myself murmuring: ‘I miss Uruguay, it was so much easier there’. And it was, never did I get electric-shocked by fences, never had I to stop a one hour search for a spot and return to the roadside.

1-done IMG_20171014_210003_126

I camp underneath a telephone mast, of all places, while wondering why such vastness of land is dedicated to feed humans, and hermetically fenced off.

done 2018-30-06-21-55-36

done 2018-21-06-20-08-53

Late in the evening, when I am sleeping under a Milky Way adorned with fireflies, two men step out of a car. One comes over, shines his torch on the tent and wakes me up. He speaks Portuguese, says he’s police, asking for my passport and wanting to know whether I go to Uruguaiana or Uruguay? I am tired, but notice he’s not wearing a uniform, nor showing me his badge. Though I am sleepy enough to hand over my passport while he walks off with it. He makes a photo of my camp and asks if I need anything, then he is off again. Odd.

done IMG_20171015_214410_169

DSC_0172 (2)

2018-30-06-22-10-16

Arriving in Uruguaiana I use WiFi at a gas station to determine my ongoing. The little guy working there tells me ‘this is very beautiful’, pointing my finger on the map at Corriente Argentina, just above the river I’m at now. When I point my finger at the route from Uruguay to Uruguaiana and mention that this is very boring agricultural surrounding, he agrees. The other side of the river is Argentina, and perhaps more beautiful? ‘Yes, it is much more beautiful,’ the little guy says, ‘this is the most beautiful part of Brazil,’ he adds. Now I’m confused.

done IMG_20171017_202348_986

1-IMG_20171019_204940_843

done 2018-19-06-19-59-23

done 2018-19-06-20-02-27

I eat my home-made bread in a lively park where the spring weather has everyone emerging from its cocoon, and decide to cross into the most beautiful part of Brazil: Corriente Argentina.

done 2018-21-06-18-35-04

1-IMG_20171019_205547_754

And although my spirits are lifted, I am in no mood to spend my time cycling between fences, where behind grazing pastures plunge into the endless distance. I can’t avoid fences in South America. If I want no fences I better move away from to the other side of the Andes. Instead, I change my mindset, and hope for more natural surroundings at the other side of the fenced river.

done DSC_0391

done DSC_0217 (2)

It’s sad, but I am triumphant when I find a man-made eucalyptus forest where the fence around has a gate which I can open. On the route which is very dangerous, according the immigration officer. In the most beautiful part of Brazil, according the little guy from the gas-station.

done DSC_0390

done 2018-21-06-10-53-58

done IMG_20171021_210909_557

done IMG_20171011_211335_446-001

Sounds are not changing, a pleasant loud bell-like sound, like small bronze bells a dancing girl in the early period of Indian odyssey would wear.

done2018-21-06-10-45-18

done2018-21-06-10-49-41

done 2018-21-06-10-50-56

What is changing is the temperature. The period after the winter which is pleasantly warm in daytime and cool at night, last too short. Now it seems I am catapulted into the sweltering humid tropics of wetlands around the Rio Paraguay. Humidity takes good care of bumps and pimples on my face. Insects like to bite my legs, horseflies bite pieces out of me, grass has the beneficial aid of allergic reactions. In the evening, when at last the humidity gives way to relative coolness, mosquitoes join the stage.

done 1-2017-15-10-21-04-52 (2)

Sitting in a closed tent is making my new facial cream slide in drops along my neck, down my belly. Opening the door would only invite spiders, even small ones like baby tarantula’s.

IMG_20171021_210536_158

Planning make sense. If only because the surroundings are not beautiful. People might say: ‘Corrientes is so natural and beautiful’, but where I am it’s only agricultural richness. I am advised to visit ‘Foz de Igazu waterfall’ but I like to see the state in its natural way, not the highlight which is not representing the being of the state. I am pretty sure the waterfall is surrounded by fences anyway.

done 2018-21-06-21-06-34

done 2018-29-06-15-18-47

done 2018-19-06-20-20-35

IMG_20171014_210310_815-001

done 2018-19-06-20-22-26

done DSC_0737

I prefer to see the Argentina as it comes naturally, the occurrences in Corrientes, on my way from town to town. And so it happens I am a witness of gaucho’s with lasso’s. I get instantly excited, as gaucho’s arouses my, apparently deep, desires. I get off the bicycle, walk quickly over to the fence, trying to avoid sleeping snakes, am immediately welcomed by one of the gaucho’s and a minute after by two of his sisters: Claudia and Roxanne. Claudia has been to the Netherlands and loves our farm technology and polders, as she uses the Dutch word.

3-Claudia and Roxanna 6

Claudia and Roxanna 1

Claudia and Roxanna 3

done 2018-29-06-15-14-02

2018-30-06-22-45-23

done 2018-30-06-22-58-46

done 2018-30-06-23-03-46

I love the gaucho’s, I tell her. One of them is authentically dressed, exactly as Gauchito Gill…. They are catching the calves, with a rope made of cow hide. The little innocent animals are caught with little compassion, pressed against the earth, a hand shut around their mouth, a single snap bitten out of their cartilage by the other hand. The sound is harsh, reminding me of my dad who would punch an extra hole in his leather belt.

done2018-04-07-07-27-38

2018-21-06-20-07-33

2018-21-06-21-07-49

I pick up the piece cut out of the calf’s ear. There is no blood. But from now on I see all calves as thoroughly traumatized. Perhaps the Dutch technology is ‘better’ for the animals, if you think away the cages, and the separation from its mom, and the general stress, and the lack of grass, and the machines sucking your nipples.

done DSC_0446

2018-30-06-22-46-34

DSC_0393

September 2017

 

 

3 responses to “Gaucho Show (Behind Fences)

  1. Pingback: Gaucho Show (Behind Fences) — Cycling Cindy | petesbikehaven·

I'm curious to your view, leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.