Couch Surfing

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
1
24
39
Trip End May 15, 2011


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Where I stayed
With Marcelo in his penthouse apartment and in his beach house

Flag of Uruguay  ,
Thursday, December 9, 2010


    Mara and I took the early bus from
Colonia heading towards Montevideo. We had plans to meet up with our
Couch Surfing host, Marcelo, at 5:30pm but arrived in Montevideo at
about 1pm. This was somewhat of a mistake, as we had to walk from the
bus terminal to the Plaza Independicia with our packs on, then find
something to do for the afternoon. We planned on meeting up with a
friend of friend who we knew from my uncle's friend's cousin but
couldn't find an internet cafe and therefore could not contact him. So,
we found a nice bench, got something to eat, and sat for a few hours
looking over our Lonely Planet Guide book deciding the next places we
would travel to. At 5pm we started to walk towards Marcelo's place
and met him in front of his place just as he was coming home from
work. We had arranged to stay with him through couchsurfing.com which
we heard about through other friends who are part of the community,
and used it while traveling abroad. Basically, it is a social network
where you make a profile and then mark your status as surfing or
hosting. People verify that the host is real and reliable and then
give that person reviews on their page. This was our first experience
with it, but we trusted that it would be a good one because of
the popularity of the website. Marcelo was a great guy from the very
beginning, and he showed us around his beautiful penthouse apartment
with rooftop terrace and separate room for Mara and I to stay in.
After we settled in, we took a walk on the Rambla, or seaside
walkway, while drinking mate. This combination is the most popular
activity in Montevideo. He showed us some nice parks and other spots
that we would have otherwise missed. That night, he had a party to go
to, so we made plans to go out and find something to do. But, at the
last minute the host of the party insisted that we come along, and so we
did. It was great to meet many locals, and they were very friendly and accommodating towards us.    The next day was Friday, so Marcelo
went off to work while we explored a little more of the city. We met
with Marcelo for lunch at the port market which is famous for its
asados (BBQ) It was nice to have a local with us because he new
exactly where to take and which meat to order. Later, while we were
sitting at the Rambla we saw people rushing over to help someone who
had fallen into the rough waters. Long story short, the coast came and
tried to rescue this person but no body ever came out of the water and
eventually they stopped searching. It was very tragic. After that we
went back to Marcelo's place told him this peculiar story, and then
got ready to go out for the evening. Today was my birthday and coincidentally was the annual Museos en la Noche (Museums at night).
All the mueseums were open for free, and had different entertainment
such as live acapella groups, orchestras, and wine tastings. After a
full night of museums, we met up with Marcelo's friend named Eduardo
and had some dinner and drinks to celebrate my birthday. Our
original plan was to stay one more night with Marcelo in Montevideo
and then take the morning bus to Punta Del Este. However, he and
Eduardo were also going to this famous beach town for the weekend and
were leaving that night and invited us to join them. Not only did
they give us a ride, they also invited us to stay with them in
Marcelo's beach house. Many Uruguayans live in Montevideo and own
another home somewhere near the beach. This was unbelievably generous
of them and we promptly took them up on this offer. The house was
about 15 minutes from the main town of Punta Del Este and is in a
forest with secluded beaches and a view of the stars that was unlike
anything I had ever seen. We arrived late at night and could see
thousands upon thousand of stars in the sky and could even see parts
of the Milky Way.

    The next day we woke up and all went
to the secluded beach I mentioned. It was nice and sunny and warm and
we sat there for a while just listening to the sound of the waves
crashing. After that we went and got some meat for the obligatory
beach house asado which Mara and I paid for tp repay Marcelo for his generosity. Every house has an outdoor BBQ pit which is a huge
brick structure with a metal cage to hold the burning wood. As the
embers fall through the cage they are racked under the grill and from
there the meat is slowly cooked. Needless to say it was delicious,
and we washed it down with some local beer. We then strung up some
hammocks and took a nice afternoon nap. An hour later, when we woke up
the weather had shifted and it had started to rain. We brought all
the hammocks in and watched a movie until it was time to get ready to
go out for the evening. We didn't leave the house until about 10pm,
and didn't finish dinner until close to midnight. After dinner, we
went to the biggest and most luxurious casino in Punta Del Este to
see some beautiful people and try our luck. Punte Del Este is a big
vacation spot for the rich and famous from all over the world and
especially Brazil and Argentina. Mara and lost our $10 each in less
than a second but we got some free drinks and had a good time. After
some late night bars it was time to head home and get some rest.

    The next day, the rain from the day
before still hadn't stopped, so the beach and surfing was out of the
question. We got a driving tour of some of the best spots in Punta
Del Este and went to the Ralli museum which has lots of surrealist
paintings and a sculpture garden. We really enjoyed this museum.
Later that afternoon it was time for us to say goodbye to our new
friends. They dropped us at a hostel in the city and we thanked
Marcelo for his enormous generosity. Out first couch surfing
experience was excellent thanks to him, and we saw many things and
had experiences that we definitely would have not otherwise had. We
took it easy that night and rested in the hostel because the weather
was still not cooperating. The hostel was not great and we were eager to
head out in the morning towards our next destination which is the
sleepy hippy beach town of Cabo Polonio.

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