I’ve documented many times the overwhelming assault vehicles that Germans (and some others) apparently feel essential for navigating the wilds of the Americas. And to be fair, I personally know one who has made thorough use of its off-road provisions, in the Andes and elsewhere.
Mostly though, I see them parked in the dunes or supermarket parking lot. And those closeups often reveal fascinating evidence of wide-ranging travel.
As in, you know, suggesting maybe the vehicle was actually in those places at one point.
Enter the Pathfinder.
But first, an acknowledgement that a subset of Uruguayan drivers think stickers filling the back window comprise the essence of awesomeness. The vehicle below presented itself a few minutes later. Shooting through the windshield with the camera on my phone, I felt badly about the poor image quality … until I remembered there was nothing remotely interesting there to examine in greater detail.
So, the Pathfinder. First thing to notice are the wheels on the left. Their apparent offset could be explained by perspective, but no, you had to be there: through whatever misalignment, the car was driving somewhat crabwise.
Then there are the stickers. Most prominent, a person on camel. Let’s see, Africa, eh? Or am I jusr cheating based on not one, but two, sticker outlines of the continent? So has this vehicle been to Africa (maybe twice?). Uh, no. Look 10:00 from there (with your ancient knowledge of analog clocks) and spot the Route 66 sticker. So this vehicle has traversed the southwestern United States? Uh, no.
Then on the window to the right, another camel, and then a dog peering through what might be a shrapnel hole. And then a cross motif, and … hmmm. Will I apologize that you can’t clearly see more? Uh, no.
By the way, no intent to denigrate the juggler, whom in this case I hardly noticed. Though considerably less novel than I’d prefer, unsolicited traffic light performers here are often quite impressive.
Local (Uruguay) campers. Looks like they’ve got it all sorted – solar panels, side awning, sun protection for the truck. There was a couple sitting with a little portable table between the two vehicles.
But: covering the tires to protect them from the sun? I guess maybe a good idea, but I’ve never, ever seen that before!
Montevideo Rambla, Ciudad Vieja. When we arrived here, late 2009, it was rare to see even a single vehicle parked along this stretch of road.
Consumer credit comes to Uruguay! At least that’s one explanation.
Car prices have fallen recently. This may involve poor budgeting by people new to credit, buying cars for only *so much* a month. Perhaps they don’t think about fuel (2.5 times the cost in the USA), maintenance, and insurance. Then enough of them figure out they really can’t afford a car, and try to sell it.
At any rate, it’s distinctly more difficult to find a parking place in Montevideo than a few years ago, to the point that I usually don’t even try, and head to a parking garage instead.