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English Language Teaching in Brazilian settings

The unexpected in Uruguay


I could start this post by talking about how surprised I was to watch the following short film:

It’s about the city of Montevideo getting invaded by alien robots and its complete destruction. Seeing New York City under attack on screen wouldn’t be a surprise, but I didn’t expect to watch the places I’ve been to in Uruguay to be surrounded by CGI creatures and visual effects. That was cool.

Anyway, that’s not what this post is about. Here’s the actual point:

As I flew over Uruguay on my way to Buenos Aires, Argentina, I noticed vast green areas with almost no sign of urbanization, except for a few scattered spots that seemed to be villages and small towns here and there, apart from each other by hundreds of kilometers. That is how Uruguay really looks.

Uruguay: from an aerial view, a vast green area with very few spots of urbanization.

Uruguay: from an aerial view, a vast green area with few spots of urbanization.

Judging from that view, I raised a few assumptions on how the people right below would lead their lives. Uruguaians are probably very religion-regulated – I thought. The prevailing small communities based on agriculture are likely to live under strict rules, ancient values, obscurantism and some Patriarch control – I assumed. Worse, education are not likely to be a priority down there.

After being for a few days in Argentina, I crossed Rio de la Plata to visit Colonia and Montevideo. In the Uruguaian capital, a big Christian cross and statues of Catholic Popes stand in central areas as monuments. Despite noticing that the people are very easy-going and warm-hearted, my assumptions while in the plane should be right.

I was definitely wrong, though.

Despite appearances and the Catholic majority, the Uruguaian people don’t relate religion to politics. That is what an article by Brazilian magazine Forum shows. As a matter of fact, the religious population has elected an atheist as government. President Mujica, who lives in a humble ranch and donates most of his income to charity, recently refused attending an Event with the new Pope in Vatican under the argument of being an atheist. His decision was supported by the Catholic Uruguaian people living in small communities over the vast green area. The Uruguaian democracy also includes women’s right to abortion, homossexual marriage and adoption.

Uruguay’s demonstration of clear thinking was definitely a good surprise I couldn’t tell from up in the air.

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March 21, 2013 Posted by | Travelling | Leave a comment

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay


DSCN3942One of my favorite destinations on my last vacation trip is Colonia del Sacramento, in Uruguay.

It’s a quiet small town at the rivershore (despite it looks more like the seashore) where you can hear the waves crash, bird sing and feel the constant fresh breeze. It’s the perfect destination for those who enjoy being close to nature but won’t give up sightseeing in historical areas.

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Getting to Colonia from Buenos Aires is easy: you just have to take a ferry service called Buquebus, located at the north end of Puerto Madero. There are several ferry trips daily and prices vary according to the length of the trip. Fast boat trips take 1 hour from Buenos Aires to Colonia. Slow trips take 3 hours but have lower cost. Vehicles are allowed aboard.

Some tips:

While you are there, walk instead of renting electric  carts. There’s a lot more fun in exploring the town on foot, especially if you’re interested in getting relaxed.

At the lighthouse, you’re are allowed to go up the stairs for a low cost entrance fee and enjoy the view. Once you get to the top, make sure you hold your belongings safe. The wind is usually so intense up there that it may blow hats, purses, small bags and cameras away.

March 19, 2013 Posted by | Travelling | Leave a comment

Travelling South America 1


Me in Buenos Aires, July 2010.

Well, after 2 years without travelling – due to so much work – it’s finally time to get my feet off ground again and see a few new places. I really deserve it.

Main January 2013 destinations are Buenos Aires, in Argentina – a place I’ve been to in the winter – and Santiago, in Chile. Of course we’re heading to secondary destinations in the surroundings, i.e. Colonia del Sacramento and Montevideo, in Uruguai; and Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, in Chile. I can’t wait to see the Andes mountain range and eat a lot of seafood.

Catch up with you in the next travelling posts.

October 28, 2012 Posted by | Photography time, Travelling | | Leave a comment

   

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