A very definite etiquette is followed by a stranger on the vast plains of South America. “Ave Maria” is the common salutation. If the stranger is on horseback, he does not alight until invited to do so by his host. Once in the house, the stranger must converse a while before asking shelter for the night.
Read from Darwin‘s VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE Vol. 29, pp. 51–60
Chapter III – Maldonado
Date: July 5th, 1832
|Locations||Words, Animals, Terms|
|Rio de Janeiro||Verbena melindres|
|La Plata (Argentina)||promethean matches|
|Monte Video (Uruguay)||gauchos (countryman / South American Rancher)|
|Maldonado (Uruguay)||Struthio rhea (South American Ostrich)|
|River Polanco (Uruguay)||recado (Argentinian saddle)|
|Pan de Azucar (Uruguay)||Nothura major (partridges)|
|Sierra de las Animas (Hill range of Uruguay)||Cervus Campestris (type of deer)|
|Las Minas (Uruguay)||Rodentia (rodents)|
|Hydrochoerus Capybara (water hog)|
Points of etiquette while approaching the house of a stranger: ride up slowly to the door, give the salutation of “Ave Maria” (hail Mary), do not dismount your horse until someone comes out and asks you to “alight” (dismount from a horse), and final answer from the homeowner will be “sin pecado concebida” (conceived without sin). Once entered, light conversation is maintained until permission is asked to spend the night. After being granted, a meal and room will be provided.
Bolas (balls – a primitive hunting weapon) consist of three stones, or other weights, connected together via cord to a common center. The Gaucho holds the smallest weight in his hand, whirls the other two around his head and sends them downrange like a revolving chain shot at the target. After the bolas reach their target, they cross and wrap becoming firmly hitched.
Darwin found several “heaps of stones” at the summit of the Sierra de las Animas
The desire to signalize any event, on the highest point of the neighboring land, seems an universal passion of mankind.
Discussions about climate and vegetation. Why was Uruguay so sparsely populated with trees while Tierra del Fuego was “ornamented by magnificent forests?”