Category Archives: beach

Snowboarding with sand

Sandboarding is hugely popular in Vina del Mar. The group I was with was keen to try. After my morning, I was keen to watch.

It’s just like you think – snowboarding except with sand. There are giant dunes and the only way to get to the top is by foot making the climb up in sand a little more difficult than it seems.

Here’s the climb up:

real sandboarders

Me climbing to the top sans sandboard:


Here’s a shot of the actual sandboarders at the top:

the climb to the top

And once you get to the top, and peek over, here’s the spectacular view – well worth the (exhausting) walk up:

the view at the top

Where’s the best place to relax? Hint: the beach

Once we picked up my new medicine, where’s the best place to relax?

Yes, the beach.

as it should be

all smiles, as it should be


vina beach

bus sponsorship

bus sponsorship on the beach


guardavida (lifeguard)

view from the sand

behind us – beachfront property

Seeing the Celebration of Yemaja

Once the sun went down on the day where I saw the sheep’s head, Romina, her friend and I headed to the Yemaja Festival on the Rio de la Plata — on a different beach from where we had been earlier in the day.

There, was a religious festival on the beach, in the river and on the streets. Yemaja is the Goddess of the Sea.

The beach was full of people celebrating this spiritual holiday. The beach and the surrounding streets were full of people like us, who were observing.

In the sand, people had scooped out holes to put candles. Families gathered around their ‘hole’ and you could see them enjoying the company of those around them.

these were the holes in the sand

the beach was covered with candles in holes

It made the beach look beautiful but if you weren’t watching where you walked, it could have been dangerous.

it looked pretty

People were dressed in all white as they walked from the beach into the river to make their offering to Yemaja. Long white cotton gowns and pants dominated the fashion scene of religious participants.

women walking into the water

On the beach there were bands playing and on the street just parallel to the beach there was music coming from nearly every car.

It was very interesting and I didn’t take many photos, or try to get good ones, because I felt like an intruder on a spiritual journey. If you Google “Yemaja and Montevideo” there are photos if you wanted to see more. The spellings vary as this is celebrated in a variety of countries with an African influence.

And no, I did not see any other animals on the beach.

Heads Up! You Won’t Believe It Until You See It!

I know I didn’t want to spend time in cities, but after being so far from civilization for a few days, I couldn’t have been happier being in Montevideo.
With Romina's mate
As for food, jamon y queso sandwiches are everywhere! That’s ham and cheese — and they cut the crust off when you order them in a restaurant.
The other popular food item — dulce de leche. It’s very sweet and I was introduced to this during a vacation in Argentina. But the locals love it!At this point I had stayed one night with Mariela in her high-rise apartment and one night with Romina in her rented house. I didn’t want to be the houseguest that never left but the girls convinced me to stay just one more night.
My third, and final full day, in Montevideo had Romina and I heading to the beach!
View to the left…
Montevideo in the background
View to the right…
 Beach view away from the city
Shot of the city and the beach
The beach was pretty dirty with smashed watermelons and a fair amont of trash scattered on the beach.
 Dirty beach
Romina explained that this was the start of a native holiday. The fiesta, celebrating Yemaja, was for native people to send off watermelons, and boats, as gifts to the Goddess of the Sea. It was an African tradition and there would be many people celebrating again, on beaches around the city, tonight. We should go, Romina said. It wasn’t something she celebrated but it would be good to show me. I agreed.
Romina's shot of me after she took the picture of the head. Still note trashed beach.
We continued to soak up the rays and I headed to the water to stick my feet in. I walked along the edge of the water realizing that I was in Uruguay. It was like I had to keep pinching myself, knowing I was there. Being around Romina and Mariela made me a lot less lonely and their hospitality was incredible. I was having so much fun with them but I knew I needed to leave the next day. I continued along the beach until I was stopped in my tracks.By a head.

Yes, you read that right. A head.

Without even taking a double look, I ran back to Romina skeeved and shaking in disbelief at what I just saw. I started speaking in Spanish and English telling her that I think it was a dog’s head. I even woof woof’d a few times to get my point across!
There was no blood but there was most definitely a head. She erupted in a fit of giggles. I was puzzled but still freaked out by what i just say so I was asking what, why?
When she caught her breath from her laughter, she said it’s probably from one of the gifts from the festival.
I said you have to go take a picture of it. I can’t go back and look but I wanted to see it again. Plus, no one at home would have believed me.
She took my camera and went to document the body- less head.
When she came back I asked more questions. And I kept saying perro (dog)? She replied with baaaa baaaa.
So sheep it was.
Another shot of the head

Being Green, Really

Here, recycling is a way of life.

Recycled plastic water jugs double as candle holders. candle

Locals fill the jugs with sand, stick a candle in and the jug acts as the barrier to the wind until the candle burns the plastic so much that you need a new jug.

Nine people shared a house for a night and created less than half of a bag of trash (until I showed up).

Before I left, I cleaned out my daypack with anything that I didn’t need. Not even an entire week on the road and I had acquired so much paper — tickets, guides and receipts. Couldn’t believe that I acquired so much and made a mental note to get rid of it before it accumulates.

I saw the juxtaposition in being in a place that was so accustomed to recycling yet had caused me to accumulate so much trash in just a few days.

Cabo Polonio hadn’t changed much in twenty years

One of my roommates in the attic told me that he had been coming to Daisy’s house for two weeks every summer for the past twenty years. Living in Buenos Aires, spending time in Cabo Polonio was his way to disconnect from city living.

He went on to tell me that Cabo Polonio hadn’t changed much in twenty years.

It was, and will probably always be, a hippie haven with gorgeous and unspoilt beaches and some of the friendliest and most laid back people I will probably ever meet.

If you are up for an adventure like no other, and want to head somewhere with amazing sunsets, beautiful beaches and interesting people — and you’re willing to go off the beaten path (literally), you’re okay with just a sentence or two in a guidebook and you can stand not having any electricity —  don’t hesitate to visit Cabo Polonio. But shhhh…don’t tell anyone else!

Cabo Polonio at sunset

I Finally Met Daisy

I got back to Daisy’s and met my other roommate, Miguel, who had a late night. He and my Buenos Aires roommate were in the yard when I returned and asked what I was up to. They took me to buy bus tickets and to my surprise, the bus tickets were right next to the supermarket but keep very sporadic hours – as in an hour here, an hour there. When we arrived, it was closed.

So we headed to the beach. Miguel was also from Argentina and on holiday. In a mix of English and Spanish the three of us chatted about travel, city life and jobs while enjoying the Uruguayan beach. Once we were together chatting on the beach, I started to feel a little better and the loneliness waned.

A few hours later we went back to buy bus tickets – and got my ticket part way to Minas. They could only sell me a ticket to a town called Rocha. Once in Rocha, I’d have to buy the onward ticket and get on a different bus (or so I thought).

Hoping for the best, we headed back to the house where I needed to pay for my stay and head out.

I finally got to meet Daisy. (No photo but here’s the outside of her house where I stayed).

Daisy's House

She was probably in her 70s. She didn’t speak a lick of English but we managed to chat for a few minutes. The tall German boy was in the hostel and was able to bring my bags down the stairs. I said goodbye to everyone and headed back to the supermarket where I’d get back on the truck out of Cabo Polonio.