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My Travel Writing Scholarship 2011 entry - My Big Adventure

WORLDWIDE | Friday, 25 March 2011 | Views [278] | Scholarship Entry

Interrupted by the shrill, dawn chorus of resident Macaws, I awoke roughly from my outdoor siesta; the sweet, fresh aroma of Eucalyptus invigorated me as I attempted to shuffle free from the captivity of my 70s-style, striped hammock.
I could see the vast, deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean at the foot of my garden, teasing me to bask in its salty depths. However, this day had other delights in store for me.

After waiting patiently for a while, slow-cooking in the oven-like heat found only in South American climes, a pristine, white coach edged further toward me along the palm-lined coastal road. I hopped onto the refreshingly air-conditioned bus and found a seat at the rear, as I had done many mischievous times in my youth. Once the coach had spluttered back into action, I couldn’t wait to visit the bohemian coastal region of Rocha.
The bus zipped past green fields and rocky hills, which had been oddly misplaced in my mind whilst imagining Uruguay. The scenery was reminiscent of bonnie Scotland, only with the pleasing addition of Palm Trees substituting masses of Heather.

As my white, motor-driven steed carried me closer to eastern promise, I ambled my way down the coach’s gangway, thanked the driver, and attempted to hop off the bus in a delicate fashion; the scuffed knees were an hourly reminder of the reality.
I had arrived on a hot, glistening, dirt track somewhere in the province of Rocha. The sign before me accurately assured me of a crowded, bumpy, 4x4 journey through blazing-white sands, to the peninsula hamlet of Cabo Polonio - a commune run without electricity; it survives on the income of tourists in summer, and any edible delights and sustainability that the sea and surrounding land can provide.

After 30 minutes of being thrown every-which-way as we meandered through beautiful, ice-cream dunes, my fellow adventurers and I spied the colourful, tin roofs of El Cabo, rusting in the blue, salt-filled air, ahead.
Thin, sun-bronzed families sat around in small groups, singing, playing instruments, or just generally watching the world go by. Some, ageless; no lines from stress or upheaval, just the essence of youth and quiet acknowledgment that they’d carved themselves the better end of the deal.
I breathed in the unrestricted, pollution-free air; I felt at peace here.

As dusk fell, I knew that I only had precious minutes left to soak up the vitality this place ebbed. With no clouds in the sky, only stars were visible in all their majestic glory, beaming down on the hamlet as if it were the only place left in the world.
Impetuous waves bashed repeatedly against the rocky peninsula, home to a colony of sea lions who were taking the opportunity to bask and loll in the remaining light, trying to tell me that this is, indeed, the life.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that I had found my own little piece of heaven.

Tags: #2011writing, travel writing scholarship 2011, uruguay

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