Uruguay, without Carol
On the ferry across to Uruguay the Buquebus I realized how strange it was to be travelling with different people for the first time in a month. Blake was immediately off looking for chocolate milk and Dec was studying Spanish phrases, which is something Carol and I routinely failed to do.
Blake and Dec try to learn three new words per day, so I was soon equipped with the essential knowledge of how to tell Uruguayans I was bleeding in a spaceship.
We arrived in Colonia in a couple of hours. Blake was typically philosophical about the loss of his wallet on the ferry and we negotiated some bus station lockers for our bags while we walked along cobbled streets to the centre pf town.
Here, postcards spilled out of the rubbish bins and lots of cannons decorated patches of ruined colonial buildings. From a lighthouse we were able to see the whole town, complete with little pier, tiny boats and birds flying around an island.
Blake worked on his big plans to become a lighthouse keeper as we walked the pier at sunset and then desperately tried to catch a waiter’s eye to get some pasta. Back at the bus station I was pleased to find that Carol and I were not alone in our communication issues, as the locker man seemed to believe that we had taken eight lockers, rather than locker number eight.
After sorting this out and taking a 2 hour bus ride to the capital city of Montevideo, we wandered the streets in the dark, which was a luxury that Carol and I never felt safe enough to do. It was just as exciting as hoped; we saw statues of huge horses and little men, were followed by stray dogs and pursued for money in the old town.
This is when I realized that Dec lives to walk and Blake will walk until someone tells him to stop. With Carol, we’d often settle on the first beach that came along, but it was good to up the exploration.
We found “The Prancing Pony”, a Lord of The Rings themed pub with an aging but enthusiastic folk band on stage, sang along to a popular classic “Assez Calor”, enjoyed some great Dad-dancing and drank Mojitos Cubanos.
The next day, we walked along pretty much every beach in Montevideo. The beaches were huge, wide and longer than even Dec could trek, but the water was brown. At lunch, we tried local snack Milanesa (supposedly chicken, but I think that is only in classy establishments, since ours were some suspiciously darker, slightly chewy meat). Meanwhile, Blake began a fixation with triple decker Neapolitan ice cream sandwiches.
Another night, another bus, as we continued to Punta Del Este (I had extended my stay as it was so nice to be by the sea). Punta Del Este was a swanky holiday resort out of season and deserted. The sand was white and the sea deep blue. We swam and sunbathed and checked out the large white apartment blocks with swimming pools just metres from the beach.
That night, the hostel co-owner Andi took us to a small patch of beach and showed us a casino across the water where Bob Dylan had played only six days before. He told us that it had been easy to hear from this beach. We were devastated!
Andi was from BA but hated cities. He liked to be close to nature, where he could be more relaxed and not need to worry too much about the meaning of life. You had to see his point, it was so peaceful here. The free drink was a nice touch too.
Then for breakfast there was the luxury of toast, for the first time in my trip. Blake and Dec were continuing to a tiny, undeveloped beach at Punta Del Diablo but it was time for me to return reluctantly to BA. It was sad to say goodbye to my travelling partners, not knowing if I’d ever see them again. On the boat I’d failed to book, I was only able to get a first class ticket and supped on a small plastic glass of champagne by myself.
posted Friday April 2008