Gaucho life!

Trip Start Apr 27, 2010
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Trip End Sep 15, 2010


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Flag of Uruguay  , Rivera,
Sunday, July 18, 2010

Many people have asked what was the highlight of my trip.  Maccu Picchu was amazing and the Amazon jungle was incredible, but living on a ranch in the middle of Uruguay and playing gaucho for a few days was by far one of the best experiences on my trip.  Juan, the owner of the ranch, met us at the bus stop and didn't speak a word to us until our initial meeting that evening on the ranch.  He somehow managed to "welcome" us to his home and ranch, all the while making jokes without ever cracking a smile.  There is no electricity on the ranch and he puts on the generator for about 3 hours a day.  We eat traditional gaucho food, which was some of the best food I have ever eaten.  We were each given a horse to suit our riding abilities and the first morning we went out on horseback just to get used to our steeds.  That afternoon after warming our toes by the fire, we went back out to round up part of the sheep herd.  When we had the sheep up close to the house the real gaucho noticed a cow that had been in labor and was having trouble calving.  We brought her up to the house and Juan pulled the calf.  The group absolutely loved the experience and I was so happy that it had ended well for mother and calf.  The next day we finished bringing the sheep in and it was absolutely freezing cold.  Our job that afternoon was to drench the sheep.  As Juan is a vet, he asked me to do the oral drenching and he would inject the sheep.  We had a few people doing the wrestling and a few marking the sheep after they were drenched.  We stayed very warm as we ran around catching the sheep!  That afternoon it was raining so just a few of us braved the cold and went out.  We took the sheep back to the pasture and rounded up a few cows and their calves.  A couple of the calves had to be castrated and then we took them back out to the pastures.  Juan was a veterinarian who has lived an amazing life.  He made a point to individually talk to every person in the group and had a real interest in our stories.  Jn had travelled extensively throughout his life and he is one of the most interesting people I have ever met.  We were all extremely sad to leave the ranch.  If and when I return to South America, I will definitely come back to the ranch.  It
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