Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Elbowed out of the rest of the World by cars and motorcycles, the horse-drawn kart, the mythic chariot, has found among the Mennonites a sanctuary where its thread of evolution. One of the aims of my trip was to hitch a ride in on of these fancy vehicles, called buggies by themselves. No need to stretch my thumb, I am offered a ride by one of the guys, whose family sells spiced cheese. I say I would like to buy some, and he takes me to his house in his buggy. The name of my new friend is Pedro.

To my surprise, the buggy advances smoothly over the unpaved road. The car I had arrived in had, in the contrary, let me feel every ditch of the road with more fidelity. Jacobo tells me that buggies are produced in the colony by a couple of families, who charge around 6000 and 8000 pesos for them (1,800 USD). The deluxe version has adjustable seats, glass windshield and Volkswagen suspension system.

Along the dusty avenue we find scattered groups of boys and girls. Since it is Sunday, it is the only the day they can abstract from their work routine. Then, boys and girls meet up to chat –and drink beer- in the road itself. Jacobo says if they meet a girl and start going out with her, thay can visit each other in her house Mondays and Wednesday afternoon for two hours. A remember a novel by Bioy Casares in which a Danish family who had settle in Patagonia attempts to stop time –and then death- by repeating every day the same sequence of prearranged acts, barring entry to their farm of every news. Likewise, this tendency to schedules makes the Mennonites a community sedentary not only in space but also in time.


Jake said...

I'm always very happy when you post in English. This is amazing stuff.

Jake said...

Hi Juan,

Thank you for the nice follow up comment. I added you to my links. I'm surprised I had never added you before. I have been reading your blog for a few years now, since doing research on traveling in Afghanistan back in 2006. Your writing actually inspired me to try hitchhiking which I did for the first time on Cyprus in 2006 and continue to use for getting around whenever I can! Through your writing your travels have been a big influence on my own travels even though we've never actually met. So I encourage you to keep up the blogging even though I know it takes a lot of time. I myself am still searching for a sustainable and creative way to document my travels.

may the road ahead be a smooth one!

Juan Pablo Villarino said...

thanks for the link!

We keep in touch!


Pinay Travel Junkie said...

This is such a good read! I am a bit hesitant hitchhiking since I'm a woman, I'd rather walk for miles! But your stories encourage me to do so. Keep blogging! If only I got money, I'd buy your books - I'm unemployed myself. Haha!

Happy travels, from the Philippines ☮

gate valves said...

amazing images., i like the way you compose your shots. looks really good.

Juan Pablo Villarino said...

Thanks gate for your comment,

more photos coming son!


Katie said...

I grew up two hours outside of one of the most well-known Amish and Mennonite communities in the United States, so I have always been fascinated by the culture of these two groups. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with the Mennonites here in Argentina.