Ports of Call

Trip Start Jun 15, 2007
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Trip End Aug 31, 2007


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Flag of Brazil  ,
Thursday, June 28, 2007

Getting to Montevideo means going by night bus since that´s all there is and anyway, I´d rather not spend money on transport plus a night, it´s too much money. I´ve realized that the cost of travelling is the only thing that really breaks the bank on these travels, otehrwise the daily expenses are generally around the same as back home. Brazil right now is the most expensive of the three countries I´ll visit (Paraguay was close to Iguazu, but too difficult to get to - could´ve had another).

So instead of staying in Gramado, which is beautiful and nice in its own right, I decided to head to Porto Alegre early so that way I could get the ticket to Montevideo and just see what it had to offer and then just leave that night. There is no direct bus from Gramado and I think I saw almost everything it had to offer during the winter. There was more to see, but unfortunately it wasn´t running or wouldn´t have been easy to get to.

Porto Alegre has a crazy mercado público. This bazaar reminds me of São Paulo´s. Bigger than Florianópolis at least. Had some good street food here and made sure to get all my last things from Brasil before I left. Made sure to get a 2.5 l bottle of Guaraná before I left. I think the 12 pack of cans would´ve weighed way too much. Got some chimarrão even though I´ll still get yerba maté in Argentina before I leave. Even though I still have a week left, I´m already starting to get ready to go home mentally. This last week will pass by so quickly and I´ll be home in no time. In fact, internship wants me to work next week Friday but my flight actually arrives that afternooon so I don´t think I can make it.

Brazil is expensive because their currency has stayed very stable since 2001. It´s been a half of what it was when I was last here. All other nearby currencies have gone with the dollar, but the real is still the same. And it´s interesting because I see the remnants (or modern products?) of socialism and left-wing governments. So many stores and places are way over-employed. For a tiny pasteleria to operate, they need one person for the register, one who takes orders, one who walks the orders from the kitchen to table and two in the kitchen. At most in other countries there´d be three at most instead of five. It almost seems as if the country ensures people are employed even if it isn´t at its most efficient. That´s not a bad thing, but it´s very interesting when you enter a store, even a tiny closet-sized one and there´s four salesgirls at your call to find anything. And you´re the only one in the store too.

Anyway, I look forward to Uruguay. It´ll be reasonably cheaper and they say that Montevideo is the Paris of S. America
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