Articles Tagged with trilingual family RTW

[D77] Casa Pueblo – The Gaudi House in Uruguay

[D77, March 4, La Barra/Uruguay]

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Casa Pueblo is a castle/house/workshop/studio (now a public house and a hotel part) by the Uruguay’s national artist Carlos Páez Vilaró.

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At 91, he just passed away a few days ago, and his funeral was almost one of a national hero, which created heated debate in the media. The house was a complex of imaginary and fairy-like rooms, forms, and curving lines. Huge, but we only got to visit a small section, the rest was hotel and private housing. It reminds me of Gaudi and some of Picasso’s painting. An interesting man with footprint in four corners of the world, in painting, film, ceramics, and, interestingly, revolutionary. There was a very well done documentary (autobiography style) to watch in the in-house theatre (another room of genius).

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Nina bit her lower lip while playing on a bench. Another small accident that fortunately didn’t last long.

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Jose, our Airbnb host in La Barra, dropped us off near the house in the morning around the cliff (great view with ferocious wind). To get out, we had to take a taxi or to get a lift as there was no public transportation back to the city center. We took the only taxi that was dropping off a client, and got another couple to share the fare back to Punta. It started to rain once taxi set off.


P.S: to follow our RTW experience: Trilingual Family blog, or join Trilingual Family facebook group

[D110] Salar de Uyuni – A Surreal Existence

[D110, April 6, Uyuni/Bolivia]








Salar de Uyuni!! While choosing the photos for this post, I realized it’s an almost impossible task, as there are so many photos that even I like myself 🙂 All these photos you see here are straight out from my mobile phone (I love my Nokia 920) with no retouching at all. We have many in our Nikon but I leave the task of selecting those photos to later ..

We took a day tour with other 4 tourists (one Korean guy, 3 Japanese girls) with an agency whose main customers were Japanese with a bit of Chinese/Asian. The only reason I chose this agency amid other numerous agencies was that they offer additionally the sunset on the wet part of the salt lake(while others all came back well before sunset). In retrospect it was such a wise decision as the wet part was easily the highlight of the day.
At 6:30am I woke up to find an amazing sun rising cloud from our window. After all there was positive climbing extra 3 floors.
At a leisurely 10:30am start, we left the dusty town of Uyuni,,with all other jeeps tours … Funny that they unified the departure time. Before the actual Salar, there were 2 other stops: train cemetery (fun to climb on trains, met two guys biking their way down from Alaska to BsAs, quite an adventure!), Colchani (so called salt factory, where the only thing open were a so called museum which was actually nothing more than a shop with a few sculptures made from salt, and many shops selling souvenirs).
Then off we went, into the immense Salar de Uyuni!

Such a surreal experience! It’s a more than 12,000 km2 of solid salt, sitting at 3,600+ m above sea level, with depth ranging from a few meters to more than 100metres. Our jeep – an old land cruiser – cruised through, salt after salt after salt, nothing else, for almost an hour.

Then a hill showed up in the horizon almost out of nowhere, with giant cactus all over it. Incahiasi Island was its name. There on its foot we had out lunch (salad, fried chicken, coke, banana). Then we set out to climb. It’s worth every bit of breathless steps. Nina was not well ( we later realized she perhaps had diarrhea after 3 dirty nappies) so we couldn’t all climb up to the top together. Nicolas and I took turns to the summit – oh what an eerie feeling – 360 degrees around, all that you could see was just white salt, with very very faraway on the horizon a few gentle hills. Then on the island, the only island In the entire salt lake, there were so many giant cactus that I wonder where and how they showed up and survived. I wish I could stay longer on the top to take in the view and really feeling the strange feeling.

Then we set off again to the seemingly endless salt lake. After some time our driver France(!!) stopped in the middle of nowhere n a perfectly unspoiled patch of salt, he said it’s time for some fun photo. And he meant it! He’s apparently mastered this. He took out some props (a few toy dinosaurs, a water bottle, a long sock etc). The three Japanese ladies were the models, letting France orchestra poses/actions/moves for some incredible photos using perspectives. We joined a bit but most of time took photos on our own.
The geometric pattern of the salt lake was naturally amazing. Nina had fun walking along the pattern, and also broke the small patches of salt off. I was sleeping on my tummy sometimes for fun or photo, oh the untreated salt mas very coarse for sure.

Then the sun started to go down, we jumped on the jeep towards our last destination to watch sunset, with a very brief 10min stop in the salt hotel (a hotel made entirely out of salt. I wish we could have stopped a little long so that I could visit a bit inside, but well sun wouldn’t wait). We also changed into the boots that were provided as part of the tour, they even had size for Nina.

The jeep slowed down when there started to be a shallow layer of water on the salt. This was the water not yet evaporated after the raining season (supposedly ended just in March). France really knew what he was doing. He looked around, trying to find a suitable patch to stop where there would be good reflection of sunset in the water. It was not a perfect sunset because there was just enough clouds at the horizon covering the setting set. But what an extraordinary view to see every colour and form reflected on the water, and the sky and the earth seemed to merge seamlessly. And we were all just tiny part of this grandeur unity.

With the boots, we could walk around, but every one seemed to slow down, mesmerized by what we saw. Cameras worked hard – every single angle and moment looked too nice to miss.

An hour or so passed by quickly. Sun set magestically. Moon was already high in the sky. Time to head back to Uyuni. Nina unfortunately was very grumpy, crying constantly, not able to sleep although she was visibly tired. At moments like this i asked myself if it’s too much for Nina and we as parents were too selfish.

Nina went straight to bed after we came back. Nina co claimed he wasn’t hungry for dinner. I decided to go out food hunting myself. Crossed the street to the local restaurant as recommended by the lovely travel agency lady. They were all offering similar things – with parrillada grilling outside the resto and basic seats insides. I randomly walked into one and ordered what seemed to be the most popular – cotillas (griiled ribs) with rice and salad. I was astonished that the big meal costed only 8bol (1USD = 6.9bol)! No wonder she called the type of resto we normally went to and paid at least 50 for a similar plate the tourist resto.


P.S: to follow our RTW experience: Trilingual Family blog, or join Trilingual Family facebook group

[D137] Colourful Andes @ Cuzco

[D137, May 3, Cuzco]

It’s a well established fact that I love markets. All kinds. Souvenir. Flee market. Food market. Fish market. Junk market. Furniture market. Design market. Flower market. If there is a market to go, I set everything else aside and go. If there is a category of people that can use a label market junkie, I was born to be one of these people.

So it was a no brainer when our lovely Airbnb hosts Bill/Nicole in Cuzco/Peru asked us if we’d like to go with them to a Saturday only local food/veggie market. They said it was not a market for tourists – ‘real’ people living there go there and the farmer and producers sell the most fresh products there.

It’s huge market. To my eyes, it’s full of colours, apart from all the edibles!

ALL potatoes around the world originated from the Andes.
cookies made from maize flour. Maize is one of the main productions here.
It’s a fruit from the jungle. Looks like a huge green bean. I have no idea what it’s called.


Cuzco is a Quechua/Inca region. Traditionally Quechua people use natural colours to dye their (fabulous) fabric – such as the ones in these small pots. The natural-colored fabric has a more subtle hue yet still be vibrant. They look so much more pleasant and natural next to the industrialized modern colours.


They have many flowers and herbs used in cooking and making (fresh) herbal tea.


and yes they make cheese too.



Quechua women’s backpacks are a big square tissue as a base. They use it to carry all sorts of things, including children as big as Nina!

The guy claimed the liquid coming out the large bamboo-looking plant would help ease the stomach-ache. I couldn’t help but tasting one – it tasted absolutely just like water. It didn’t give me any stomachache at least!
of course, the blood-coloured liquid from this magic tree skin acts like antiseptic and will heel the wound fast.


I also went to another local market with Nicole which is a hugely crowded flea market. But I didn’t take any photo, as I was warned, many times, that it was not a place to pull out a fancy smart phone as it will certainly disappear in the crowd! I did go back on my own one more time, bought an amazing antique carpet in an amazing price (well it’s a market meant for locals not the fat-pocketed tourists :)), and managed a fairly long conversation with the seller under the torrential rain. It was a good day.


P.S: to follow our RTW experience: Trilingual Family blog, or join Trilingual Family facebook group

[D75] Carnival in Uruguay

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I went out to watch carnaval in La Barra – a small town next to overly developed Punta del Este. Oh!! What a surprise! Less than 10 min walk from home, there was a small stage set up on the village green. Carnaval here apparently was different performance groups competed with each other in the form of show, costumes, drumming skills etc, and it lasted the whole month of Feb. Today and tomorrow are public holidays called Carnaval, it’s the end of the carnival season. The group I saw put on such a colorful, vibrant and energetic show with their amazing costume and singing and dancing and drumming. There were perhaps 30 of them, including three kids, one at the age of 6 or 7 I would guess. In the audience there were lots of families, many with young kids, some even younger than Nina. Latino way of childhood!

I was mesmerized by the joy from the show and the atmosphere created by the audience. There was the real wood BBQ made hamburge. Mostly locals were in the audience, so the show was far from the touristy show.   I couldn’t be more appreciative than the opportunity I have to witness and be part of such festivities around the four corners of the globe.

Topping the ice was the many glowing worms on the way walking back home along side the street. I haven’t seen them since my childhood. Together with the stars above the head, they made me a very lucky being.

[D80 – 82] Magical Cabo Polonio / Uruguay

[After almost three weeks of lack of reliable internet connection, if at all, I’m back to work on the backlog – now that we’re settled in an apartment in Salta (north Argentina) for at least a week. ]

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D80, March 7, La Barra-> Cabo Polonio

As our airbnb host L. & J. were going away to their family’s summer house in Cabo Polonio for weekend, they asked if we wanted to spend the last two days over there instead of in La Barra. Cabo Polonio is beautiful, they said! And I also heard some other fellow travelers how they felt in love with the place. Yet we still hesitated a little as we won’t sure if it’s too much of driving for Nina (and us) to handle for a weekend, but decided to follow the instinct and off we went. We became the ‘portable’ guest of L. & J.

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Such a magical place that was! After almost 2 hours of drive we came to the entrance of the national park of cabo polonio, where everyone should park their car and took the special giant truck catered to transport passengers and belongings through the park and got to Cabo. It was the kind of transport that my instinct told me would be a great ride, some people even climbed on the roof level (a bench there for 4 people). The truck ride itself was fun and totally adventure-loaded, negotiating through a rough terrain of sand dune of narrow dirt road in the protected park. It was 7:30pm, the wind picked up, sun going down, becoming chilly but the view was awesome. Almost 30 min later, suddenly the truck was riding on a long beach with sun starting to set to the ocean!

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We stopped in the heart of Cabo, a upper hippie village surrounded by 2 large bays, Atlantic ocean and the national park. Some random houses, some tin roof some architecturally designed, dotted the rolling hills which gently joined the ocean. Oh, what a magical place! By the time it was about 8pm, just in time for the most magnificent sun set. With horses standing on top on the hill, it was picture perfect.

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L’s family house was one of those architecturally designed. Perched on top of the hill, it has large window bay overlooking the ocean as well as the whole village. With solar power and generator, it has the essentials (even a fridge powered by gas!), but used candle light most of time and the rain water.

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Her brother and sister N. and S. were there, who were still in uni and uni started only next Monday. They have been there since Xmas! I totally understand why it’s such a difficult place to leave.

The village would go wild in the summer with all houses occupied, with residents and tourists coming for the summer holiday, and then after the summer the place would go deadly silent. I asked if someone lived here all year round, they said, oh no except the local fishermen, you would be insane to live here, all year round, it’s so isolated and lonely place to be. But it’s THE place to be in the summer.

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We went to the grocery shop just down the hill and bought what’s needed for 4 pizza tonight. The shop worked on credit system with the residents like L’s family. They would pay the lum sum every two weeks or so. Despite its popularity, it certainly still had its village feel.


D81, March 8, Cabo Polonio.

Magic place to wake up to. Even simplest breakfast tasted great here, with such a view and such a lovely weather.

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Went for a walk around. To the east. There were amazing rock formation in pink and red, with sea lions lazily sleeping their days away. There was a lighthouse, which unfortunately didn’t allow anyone under 8 to climb, but the walk around it was sensational enough. Nina loved climb over the rocks and through the rampas, looking at the horses – oh horses that Nina couldn’t get enough of. Then we came to the north beach. This was where most hostels, restaurants and shops were. A backpackers dream place, with hammocks hanging on the a framed cottage overlooking the ocean, with gentle waves and warm water, ah!

Had choripan (sausage in bread) and hambuger and pepper with cheese melted on asado grill, it was a great and simple lunch on the beach side. The asado chef danced and hummed while cooking up our lunch, while Nina and I waited on the bar stool. Definitely the stereotype kind of holiday.

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Another most amazing sun set. Tonight there was not a single cloud and we went down to south beach to see the sunset, watched the sky turned golden, red, purple, the pink, blueish.

Then the moon. The starts. The milk way!! It reminded me the night at kanbura in QingHai. They had a roof top balcony, from where you had an uninterrupted view to the most incredible sky – whole village relied on only candle light mostly so there was only the sky and stars that glimmered. Sensational to say the least!

D82, March 9, Cabo Polonio -> La Tuna

I wish we could stay longer but it’s time to leave today and go to our next home booked.

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We maximized the time in Cabi, morning on the south beach. I went for a long walk along the beach, kilometers long, seemed endless. A sailing boat capsized on the beach since Jan and still wasn’t been able to be got out of water. Cows sleeping or having a stroll on the beavh, nobody was bothered. Cows seemed to enjoy.

Cleaned the house. They brought everything including linen, quilt, towel back to Montevideo as they brought everything in, and now they were closing down the house for this summer. Today most people would leave as it’s the last day before school started again and holiday week was over.

We took the truck at 1pm. Loved the ride yet again. Nina Fell asleep on such a bumping truck. Kids are funny creatures. Drove back to J. & L’ s house to pick up our luggage. She called the bus company cot to reserve seats for us and found out we could just wait in la Barra. They also called the new host to arrange pick up!! Really amazing host, excellent airbnb experience. And a certainly unforgettable weekend.

It’s fair to say that Cabo Polonial was easily one of the highlights in this trip so far.


P.S: to follow our RTW experience: Trilingual Family blog, or join Trilingual Family facebook group