Colonia Suiza

An outdoor handicrafts market ringed by ice cream and beer stands in the middle of the woods is a lot more interesting when you’re not taking mincing steps down a rutted gravel road, sans umbrella, in what my mother would call a good soaking rain, and cursing the steamy hour-long bus ride it took to get there, during which you were privileged to share a seat with a large four year old while praying the severely overcrowded bus wouldn’t slide right off the narrow road into a ditch, causing numerous “crush” fatalities among the passengers because, being so heavy, the bus would undoubtedly roll.

Today at Colonia Suiza—under a cloudless sky and after a month without rain—negative thoughts were focused exclusively on my Spanish, which has atrophied in the five days since I last went to class.

Moving on.

Valeria, a mom we know from tae kwon do who is trying to build a business making pottery, invited Lou and me to spend the afternoon with her and her son Otilio, and as we wandered past stands where woodworkers, weavers, painters, potters, and jewelry, soap and candle makers were trying to make a mango (a buck), I was acutely aware that I was one more tourist passing through without spending money.

More financially successful, I think, was a pair of donations-accepted performers from Buenos Aires. With music, a few props, and moves worthy of Cirque du Soleil, they kept the crowd entranced.

After treating ourselves to ice cream, we headed to the beach to cool off and observed a curious seasonal phenomenon: seed pods on retama bushes popping open with a sound just like crackling fire. Take a listen while trying to ignore the people sounds (15 sec), and then look at retama bushes covered in yellow flowers in mid-November.

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