Home of the Biscuit. Garibaldi.
17.12.2012 - 20.12.2012 23 °C
Apparently I didn’t book tickets for the connection to Montevideo – only Colonia. After a few (a lot) moments’ panic, we found ourselves in another bus terminal waiting for a bus to Montevideo. It wasn’t expensive, but I was really annoyed at myself for making the mistake (let’s blame it on the crap internet connection at the BA hostel - wondered why tickets came up cheaper when the connection started up again).
Plus, Uruguay has what I would call FunnyMoney. When the exchange rate is $1 = 20 URU pesos. Could not get my head around what things were costing us.
There’s a no drinking in rooms policy at the hostel, encouraging people to pay 100 pesos for something that otherwise costs 50. Hostel is nice though. Showers are readily available and hot water the same.
Breakfast is good here – frosted flakes are on offer! Dulce de leche is also provided with breakfast; a favourite of Warren’s. It’s very similar to caramel, but Argentinians (and presumably Uruguayans) will explain that it’s distinctly different.
It’s a bit too sweet for me (shock! horror!), and I soon tired of it whilst in Argentina...I’ll see if I can’t find a recipe for Woz when we get back home. I have a feeling it’s just heated up condensed milk – easy peasy.
The main square in Montevideo had some sort of popo recognition celebration – cops were lining the streets in their vehicles, on horseback, and on foot. This main plaza (Plaza Independencia) is a bit of a letdown, but old town seemed nice.
We wanted to stay in that part of town, but the same hostel company charged more..or the cheap rooms were unavailable or something. No matter; ours was still very nice.
It has cool ‘street art’ style artwork on common areas’ walls, a lovely little garden area where we smoked a cigar and drank contraband wine – but a bird pooped on my head (karma?).
Plaza Cagancha was just a few minutes down the road from our hostel. Here we found a modern artisan market where I bought my favourite pair of earrings so far. We were keen to buy a batik cloth wall hanging as well, but in the end we decided it was out of our price range (it was about 800 UR pesos)
If you think I’m being a bit harsh with regard to Montevideo’s main plaza, check out this building overlooking the square:
What a beaut.
General Artigas (his farts were colourful), Uruguay’s mega hero, has a massive statue in the main plaza. Below this is a grand mausoleum with granite and guards. We didn’t really feel it was worthy of photographs, but still worth a ganders.
From there, we got a taxi to the Estadio Centenario where the first World Cup ever took place in the 30s. By now, it’s a bit rough around the edges, but has some character.
There was a school trip visiting, and a large gang of kids surrounded us and interrogated Warren about where he was from, who his favourite player was, and who he supported.
He was terrified.
I served as their crap translator, and for me, it just felt like another day at the office. I couldn’t help but laugh at Warren after they were called away by their teachers.
We went back to the old town where we bought chivitos for lunch. Chivitos are sandwiches with steak, a fried egg, salad, and practically any other topping you can think of. Warren had pancetta on his, but I opted instead for olives.
The afternoon was super muggy so we watched films in our room until supper time. Really looking forward to that 20 hour bus ride to Mendoza tomorrow. Sort of. Not.
After breakfast, we got a taxi to Tres Cruces terminal driven by a Canadian. He was a nice fella, but we didn’t tip him properly because of the money we had left. I hope my Christmas wishes were enough.
On the coach, we drove for about five hours until the Argentine border crossing; all was dealt with on board the coach. Once again, there was no questioning at all. In total, it took about 45 minutes for the whole coach to be processed.
It was nice to drive during the day for a change. We could see all the agricultural fields in Uruguay, and the views only got better as we carried on. There was quite a lot of flooding in Argentina, but the roads weren’t affected as far as we could tell.
Argentina has such a varied environment. At times, we were reminded of England, and at others Iowa; then, a palm tree appeared to remind us where we were in actuality.
The coach cranked up the air con for the evening, and as Warren is too proud to actually use his tablecloth/blanket, he made me share mine. This wouldn’t have been a problem, but I was using mine both for warmth and to keep my skin from touching the yucky seat.*
I was too cold to sleep properly.
- I now have a “thing” with yucky seats. In Salta, we got in a taxi where my seat was completely soaked through with sweat. It took me nearly the whole journey to determine where the moisture seeping into my clothes was coming from. I haven’t fully recovered.