A few years ago, the winter of 2012, I was able to travel down to Uruguay for about three weeks with three great guys.  I had never been south of the equator and never been to South America.  I've been fortunate to travel, and as a kid, that's all I dream of doing.  This trip, one I never thought I would be able to make, is hands down, one of the best trips I've even taken. 

There are several reasons for that.  First and foremost, the company I traveled with were top notch human beings.  I mean that.  Dan, Martin and Diego were all very cool and such great people.  I cannot underestimate how important that was to the trip or to how great a trip can be.  Good people, who turn out to be good friends, are such treasures.

Secondly, the country of Uruguay is spectacular.  I didn't meet anyone who wasn't nice, very helpful and who didn't make me feel comfortable and so very welcome.  This is a very laidback country and the people really exhibit that.  Montevideo, the capitol of the country, is a super friendly and the lifestyle is very chilled out...more so than any other place I've ever been.

And lastly, I was there during Carnaval.  This is a two-month long street party.  Drums, dancing, costumes, rhythms... What more could you ask for?  And for those that know me, they know this is way outside my comfort zone.  But it was spectacular.  And Martin and Diego made it even better by providing access to several groups preparing for their particular events.  It was quite the honor to be able to photograph at these locations and with these wonderful people.

All in all this was a great trip and I hope to get back to Uruguay in the near future.

Here is an excerpt from Dan's site about the trip. 

At one point we ended up in an abandoned slaughter house near the Argentina border. We found locals who worked in the location, back in the day, and then interviewed them in the exact locations they stood while working all those years ago. Well, Diego and Martin did the interviews. I stood around trying to look cool. Larry, for still unexplained reasons, was an instant celebrity in Uruguay. I mean it. In my 49-years I’ve never seen this before, and Larry isn’t a guy that goes out of his way to get noticed. It just happened. The entire population of Uruguay seemed instantly attracted to him. Men, women, children and even stray dogs. The guy we were interviewing when Larry made this image of me sitting in for focus pulling was enamored with Larry. As soon as Larry walked in the room the old man froze and asked “Who IS that?” We tried to calm the water by saying “Ah, he’s a nobody, that’s just our friend Larry,” but the old man, and the rest of the population were not having it. I still think Larry could be President of Uruguay if he had extended his stay.

Larry D. Hayden