Open Roads

 
 
 

PHOTOGRAPHER SARA NATAF ROAMS URUGUAY, THE FIRST COUNTRY ON THE PLANET TO FULLY LEGALIZE CANNABIS. HERE, SHE DOCUMENTS THE PEOPLE AND PLACES OF MARIJUANA'S NEWEST FRONTIER.

STORY: DOREN ST. FELIX | PHOTO: BRAD OGBONNA


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"I noticed cannabis culture the minute I got to the country. I arrived in Uruguay, and took a big walk in Montevideo to try and figure out what was going on. People were on the street just smoking. You know when you’re on lunch break and everyone’s outside smoking cigarettes? It’s kind of like that with weed. I would walk around and smell it— I noticed it on the first day."

 

 

"I saw Manuel on the boardwalk and noticed him because he looked cool and kind of skater-y. The day after I was at the bus station, I was wearing my Thrasher hat and he came up to me like, Thrasher Thrasher! He was impressed by Thrasher because you don’t get those kind of things in Uruguay. He’s 19. He works as a cook, and goes surfing and skateboarding all the time. I took the bus with him, and I ended up spending the day with him because it was raining and I was waiting for another bus. He was just rolling a lot of joints and we were watching TV in this really shady little shack he lived in. He was rolling and smoking weed all the time."


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"Cabo Polonio is a hippie commune with no water and no electricity. These dudes moved there 40 years ago and they are completely remote from the government and don’t pay taxes. It’s a really interesting place. It’s like a hundred people living there year long and really touristy and surf-y in the summer. That’s Ajo on the right, and the guy on the left is in charge of importing rolling papers in Cabo Polonio. These two are like the ancient of Cabo Pollonio. There’s no government, but when there are town meetings, they are the ones in charge."

 
 
 

"Ajo has been living in Cabo Polonio since the beginning. He’s really handsome, super chill, and has so much knowledge. He used to be a dentist and he studied in Cuba during the revolution, and that’s when he got awareness that he didn’t want to deal with government. He ended up living in Montevideo as a dentist but he already had rebellious thoughts. And then he heard about Cabo Pollonio, and moved there in the eighties. He grows his own weed. He’s a great storyteller. He cooked me dinner it was probably the best dinner I ever had—pure fish from the water and salad grown in the garden."


 
 

"This is Augustina. She’s from Argentina, and she’s staying at Ajo’s house. She’s now building her house—she found a wreck of an old house and she’s digging it up herself, building it, painting the walls. After they all got really high and drank local alcohol that they made, she and everyone else started to sing to me. Sometimes you’re like, Hippie music? What is this going to be about? But it was great. I’m sober, but I could tell from the smell of the weed that it was really natural, organic weed."

 
 

 

"Beatrice, has the nicest house—it looks like a hobbit house, it’s really pretty. I was asking if I could take photos of her weed plant and she said ‘No, because they need to get the right energy.’ She called her plants the Santa Maria. She sings to her plants when she grows them to make sure that they flourish and give a lot of weed. She also has a beautiful garden."

 
 
 
UncategorizedAnicee Gaddis