We shouted over and over again. Truco! Truco! Truco!
It was as though no time had passed from our first meeting a year before. Just as we had before, we sat around a table playing cards, unable to peel ourselves away from the game of tricks.
Truco is a popular card game in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Spain. Designed around trickery (truco means tricks in Portuguese), the game revolves around bluffing and distraction. Cheating is not the name of the game; rather the idea is to distract your opponent through fast play, loud conversation, funny stories, etc… The game is fast and furious, at least when you get a hang of it – it’s the perfect game to play with a group of friends over a round of drinks.
And that’s how we found ourselves, a year later, in the exact same position as we were in DC- sharing jokes, telling stories and generally trying to distract each other from the game.
Visiting with these friends- who had couchsurfed with us in DC -was our first opportunity to have a sense of “normal” on our journey through South America. We had rushed through Eastern Bolivia to get to a tour we had won in the Pantanal and then flew to Rio de Janiero in time to celebrate the Jewish New Year. Brazil up to that point had been a bit of a whirlwind so slowing down to take the time to play cards and enjoy the company of others was a nice break in our routine. They were the first couchsurfers we visited on our journey that had stayed with us and for a few days we had the comfort of not only a great place to stay, but also of friendship. We wrote about how important it was to us at the time, but even now, looking back on it, I know our time in Brazil wouldn’t have been nearly as fun or memorable without the days we spent together.
Sure we visited a few museums and sites, and spent a whole day at the largest Oktoberfest outside of Germany (hehe), but mostly our time was spent hanging out, enjoying each other’s company and playing truco. Our couchsurfers opened their homes to us and although we played a lot of cards, we also got to know their families and share stories and be normal. It was the exact break we needed, a little truco to revive our travel mojo and get ourselves energized again.
Photo Credit: #1 courtesy of flickr user ccarlstead via creative commons licensing. Other photos property of IShouldLogOff.