Montevideo, Colonia, y Unas Quejas

Trip Start Jun 16, 2006
1
8
23
Trip End Aug 15, 2006


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of Uruguay  ,
Friday, July 7, 2006

Los caminos de la vida,
No son los que yo creia,
No son los que imaginaba,
Los caminos de la vida,
Son muy dificiles andarlos,
Re dificiles caminarlos,
Y a veces no se encuentra la salida

--Vicentico

Well, to the say the least, Montevideo is not the city that I had imagined. In fact, it kind of sucks. And I`m not one to dismiss a city so quickly. I guess I just don`t understand what the charm is. Maybe I came here with too high of expectations.

I`ll try not to write too harsh of a review, but there simply is not much here, at least not enough to merit an overnight stay. But maybe I just don`t know what I`m doing. I`m in a bad mood, grumpy, because I had to get up at six in the morning to catch the 3 hour ferry over here. I have a splitting headache, maybe a migraine, from not eating or drinking enough. My legs and back hurt from walking so much the past week. Boohoo! (You`re such a little cry-baby Alexandrinho).

Things have improved since I had coffee. The coffee is not too bad here. Took care of that headache and the sun came out for a brief moment. I walked around the downtown area and took in the plazas and colonial architecture. I walked around the docks area and took some ugly pictures of the sea. Not much there--just general filth and some remains of fish.

I guess I was expecting a smaller, more tranquil version of Buenos Aires, and in a way Montevideo is just that, but the city is still packed with noisy commuter buses, cars without mufflers, and smog. The streets actually smell worse than Buenos Aires and are filthier. I had the intention of renting a mountain bike and riding around the city, but it`s just not going to happen. Benjamin recommended tht I rent a motor-bike to tour the city and countryside, but no dice there. But then again, he also hitch-hiked from Buenos Aires, to Tucuman, a city 1000 km to the north-west. Not something I would have done either.

On the bright side, I`m only staying here for the night in a hostel and it is only costing me $9 U.S. The purchasing power parity of the U.S. dollar here is not too shabby (by my unscientific estimates, about $1 U.S. to $2 pesos [Argentine or Uruguayos]). However, it was better a couple years ago when everything was 3 to 1. I guess those darn leftist presidents are really turning those economies around, now aren`t they? Who would have thought a liberal, maybe a Keynesian economist, would understand how to develop an economy? Darn you Nestor Kirchner and your hardball tactics with the IMF!

Still, I ate a fancy steak meal at the Mercado del Puerto for a pretty good price. Don`t grow the economy with generous tax cuts just yet guys. Alexandro`s gotta eat his steak and pay for it in baby notes. Anyway, the Mercado del Puerto is a carnivore`s paradise. Grilled meat everywhere. All kinds of cuts. For cheap.

At night, I end up hanging out with an American, Henry from San Francisco, who volunteers at an orphanage in Buenos Aires. We also hang out with a guy from Guadalajara, Mexico. I talk to him about the city for a bit. They are both just passing through like me. We end up seeing Pirates of the Carribean since there isn`t much to do in the city, at least anything we can find.

But while Montevideo is disappointing, Colonia definitely raises my spirits. After not getting much sleep, I decide it is high time to get the hell of Dodge. I take a two and a half hour bus ride to the east and stop in Colonia.

Colonia is a quiet provincial town nestled along the coast amidst the Uruguayan countryside. I find myself zipping along this coast on a scooter, alongside my new friend, Abdul Zuluaga, a pleasant and friendly man from Medellin, Colombia. I met him at the bus terminal in Montevideo, and he recognized me as one of Benjamin`s friends. Weird. Apparently, he is staying at Benjamin`s house for a couple weeks while traveling in and around Argentina.

He works in industrial design. He drives the scooter ahead of me. I follow on my scooter (which I named the Blue Bandit), a little confused as to how I got here. Capriciously, after just getting off the bus and arriving in Colonia, we decided to rent motos for the afternoon.

The beaches breeze by and I notice how clean they are. But I also notice that my speedometer doesn`t work. The owner who rents the bikes explains to me, in confusing, fast Spanish, how to drive the thing. Needless to say, I don`t know what I`m doing. I don`t know how to work the signals or lights.

I try not to think of my ATV crash in San Diego last year. I focus on the road. We arrive at the Plaza de Toros, a bullfighting ring and snap quick pictures. It starts to rain and we make a hasty getaway. Now we`re roaring back along the main road at a whopping 50 km/h (not very impressive I know). But it feels a lot faster when you have little experience riding bikes like I. And with the rain falling in your face and you`re clothes getting soaked. And some of it is hail.

But we get back safe to the center of town. Obrigado a deus. I`m drenched and freezing to the bone, and the ferry ride back to Bs.As. is bumpy, but at least I have a friend to talk to. Abdul is sensbily dressed, wearing boots, a waterproof jacket, and a beanie. I stare at my khakis, which are torn and soaked. But we make pleasant conversation about South America and the trip doesn`t feel too long.

So, the coasts and beaches of Uruguay are clean, the town of Colonia is quintissentially rural South America, and I lament that I only had a few hours there and despair at how I could not take more photos. All in all, my trip to Uruguay is not what I had anticipated, but still fun nonetheless.

Oh yeah, I lost my debit card in Montevideo so I will need to figure out how to care of that. Don`t go to Monte if you have other things to do.
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: