After two weeks of red meat and red wine Jordan and I figured a little detox would be fun. We signed up to ‘volunteer’ at a yoga center north of Buenos Aires for a couple days. The Eco-Yoga Park was a beautiful place and we met some incredible people, but the farm work was actually extremely exhausting. The hard work combined with the fact that we still had to pay $25 per day per person made it not feel like the best value for our efforts.
In a rare instance of our bus travel not working out, Emma and I found ourselves stranded in the town of Lujan on Easter Sunday. The day began normal enough, browsing through the street fare then having lunch in the central square underneath the massive cathedral, but as the sun went down things got a little strange. Following a few incomprehensible announcements over a muffled loudspeaker, we watched as locals took to the stage dressed in colorful outfits while painted in blackface. Here’s where I don’t even try to interpret what kind of dance went on or why it was performed. What really caught our attention was a 25-ft tall effigy of Judas that they set aflame in the middle of the crowded street. Confusing, exciting, uncomfortable, it was all these things! But the night ended with a spectacular firework show over the cathedral and we left with the feeling of confidence in knowing that we’ll never experience an Easter celebration like that again!
The people we’ve met on the road have amazed and invigorated us by how open and friendly they are. Is it because staying at hostels or volunteer programs are inherently filled with other people looking to experience new things and meet new people? Is it because we ourselves are more open as we take this adventure around the world? Or is it just that in our previous home of Boston we just didn’t have the time or impetus to be meeting new people all the time? Whatever the reason, we feel so lucky to continue meeting top quality new friends everywhere we go.
A few folks that left a particular impression on us were three artists from Costa Rica. We met them while volunteering at the turtle camp with the Corcovado Foundation. They volunteered their time and performances to entertain the kids and other guests during the event. Having watched their performances we were excited to meet these creative people. That night, before we even exchanged any real words, one of the artists approached us with an incense stick and offered it to us ‘para protecion.’ We agreed and were treated to a cathartic treatment in which he captured a billow of smoke and directed it to our hearts and our heads with a confident and creative flair. It was one of those unexpected experiences that in the moment, you just don’t question. The incense ritual, which was routine for him but new for us, relaxed our bodies instantly. The act felt very intimate and from there we felt welcomed and comfortable to communicate with these interesting people. We spoke little Spanish, they spoke little English, but by virtue of their overly animated demeanors we were able to communicate, make jokes and enjoy the amazing Central and South American music they had queued up on their phones. Their dedication to their craft and general passion for life was always apparent as we talked. They were serious about being clowns because they lived their art. We saw them wake up and juggle, they played with the children between performances and afterwards retreated to critique the show. They were offered a hotel room but opted to stay with us at the turtle camp because they would rather sleep in hammocks and get to know the volunteers. Their skill and desire to connect with people left us with a newfound respect for clowns. They were an impressive bunch and we are glad to have met them!
Two of the artists were unable to finish their performance at the festival due to the weather so those of us at the turtle camp were able to enjoy a private performance of fire and light juggling. Here are some pictures from their performances: