Thursday we left at 9am for Paratay. This is a picture of our accomdations. The inn was actually a converted barn and our rooms were once stables. Despite that it was a very charming place that grew on you. I seriously felt like I was reliving the summer camp that never was in my childhood. The red hammock was a hot commodity at the end of the long days. I wish I had taken a picture of the lush Atlantic rainforest vegetation to the right of the hammock.
The next morning my conflict resolution class went in small groups on boats to the island of the carnicearos (sp?)
This is a picture of the "mayor" (for lack of a better term) of the city. I loved the casualness and simplicity of the island. As you can see though we were considered very important guests on the island since guests are not invited often to see them, this is about as dressed up as he gets. What also amazed me about him is that though he has a great deal of power in the city he was so kind and humble. He is trashcollector for the island. He helps the older ladies with their things when they are going up the hills. He had so much grace and calmness to him and his humility despite his power was inspiring.
We hiked and observed and learned about the cultural issues facing the town and the legal battles they have to deal with to preserve their island and keep outsiders from completely taking over. We saw homes of Americans who live on the island and what is shocking is that they force the local dwellers, that if they (The non natives) ever visit one of the stunning beaches on the island then if there is a native on that beach they must leave. That was very sad. This is a view of the beach on the island. It looks rocky but right past the boulders is fine white grainy sand. I liked this view though.
We ate sugar cane the mayor cut for us and watched the children play soccer barefoot by the water as we waited for our boats. I cannot describe nor can I capture in pictures the peace that existed on this island but we all felt it.
Below is Paratay on vacation time.