Monday, November 9, 2009

Whirlwind Uruguayan Weekend

The "three-hour ferry ride" we boarded at 9:30am that Saturday arrived in Montevideo at 5:30pm. There's only a one-hour time difference. Hmm. We never figured out how that happened, because we were in transit the entire day, no stops or mishaps. It's a mystery, but I'm content leaving it at that.

Right when we arrived at the Red Hostel we met two Swiss girls, Juliette and Delfina, and invited them to grab some dinner with us. The soft-spoken Uruguayan dude at the front-desk recommended a nearby pizzeria, so we took him up on that and dined amazingly well for only around $160 each.

I hope you had to read that last line twice, because we definitely did a double take at the menu that first meal. The conversion is roughly 20 Uruguayan pesos to every US dollar, but that didn't make things cheaper down there. The math was just harder. So that meal was around USD $8 each, which is relatively cheap but not Thailand-cheap. After dinner Emily, David and I walked around Montevideo a little bit. For a Saturday night it was extremely quiet, which was refreshing after Rio and Buenos Aires. We would come to find that Uruguay is just a quieter country in general. The three of us made it to the port right exactly at sunset and managed to take some gorgeous pictures (including the one above).

That night we met up with my friend Lucia, a Uruguayan girl I met at a hostel in Washington DC last Thanksgiving. In April she came to visit me and explore Boston, so I'm glad I got to reciprocate. Our next meeting will be in Italy next spring- we already have our tickets! She took us to a bar in the "nightlife center" of Montevideo, basically one street with a bunch of restaurants. It was nice to relax and catch up with her, but all three of us travelers were exhausted from not sleeping much the night before, so we went back to the hostel around 2am and hit the sack.

At 9:30am on Sunday Lucia picked me and David up from the hostel (Emily had to go back to BsAs) and drove us two and a half hours to Punta del Este, a ritzy beach town with lots of tourists and a Las Vegas-style casino called the Conrad, whose signage was entirely in English and whose gambling was entirely in US dollars. We walked around the port a little bit, took pictures by a sweet "Hand in the Stand" statue, ate chivitos and helados and churros, and made it back to our hostel around 11pm.

The next morning David and I explored the historic center of the city for a couple hours before our 12:30pm ferry back to Buenos Aires. We arrived at 3:30pm. Don't ask me how.

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