Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chillin' in Uruguay

We took the Buque Bus ferry from Buenos Aires to Montevideo. It was a very comfortable ride with free wifi and a nice change of pace to all the flights we took during our trip. When we arrived there was an immediate sense that life was much slower in Uruguay. Above is the Palacio Salvo that we saw during our city tour. It was South America's tallest building when it was built in 1927 and still is the tallest in Montevideo. Even in the downtown area everything felt quaint and small.

One day we took a full day excursion to Punta del Este, the famous beach resort city about a two hour drive from the capital Montevideo. On the way we stopped at the artist Carlos Paez Vilaro's home and subsequently a museum he built called Casapueblo.

His art work.

The city of Punta del Este has a permanent year round population of around 11,000; but in their summer (our winter) it swells to a million rich folks from Argentina, Brazil, and lately Europe. On the day we visited it was kind of a ghost town.

The symbol of Punta del Este is La Mano, a giant concrete hand sculpture rising out of the sands of the Atlantic. This was actually the first area in Uruguay the beach was against the Atlantic Ocean. Every time I thought it was the ocean I was told it was actually a river, the Río de la Plata. The river flowed along the coast for miles and miles and miles. Strange.

During our tour of Punta del Este our guide pointed out this bridge (click pic to enlarge for better viewing). Why would they build a wavy bridge? Our bus driver showed us... he gunned it. We were sitting in the back and I nearly lost my breakfast. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what passes as entertainment in Uruguay. We did meet a fellow American named Paul on our tour. He gave us his blog address before the day was over. Take a look at his impression of me on his blog; pretty ironic my reaction was to laugh out loud.

Christina woke up our last day in Uruguay with one goal and one goal only– to take a picture of one of the guys we'd seen collecting recycling with his horse. Success. Next stop Chile!

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