Montewhere

Trip Start Sep 2005
1
18
52
Trip End Sep 2006


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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Saturday, November 26, 2005

05-11-26
Today I crossed the border into Montevideo, the capital city in Uruguay. Another overnight bus journey. It's a nasty little one, as it only lasts about 6 hours, and smack bang in the middle of it they wake you up to go through your luggage with the customs guys. The you get back on the bus and have another 3 hours to get your 8 hours nightly kip.

The city itself is the most laid-back capital city in Latinamerica. Totally chiled out. It's 4 Saturdays before Christmas and still most of the shops take a half day. Pedestrians are happy to wait at traffic lights even though there's not a car on the road. Quiet, pretty and cheap. The people are really nice too. Very chatty and gringo-friendly. The hotel in Montevideo was an experience. The guy at the desk was fantastic. Straight out of Rocky Horror Picture show. Front tooth missing, goofy nervous laugh, kept saying "okey-dokey", and seemed really helpful and delighted to have a tourist staying in the hotel. Without me even asking, he produced a map and gave me a rundown on the whole city. Then he brought me to the room, did a little bow as he reversed through the door and swept his arms towards the bathroom saying "ahhh, you are staying in the suite. Enjoy your stay Keveeen. Okey-dokey." The hotel was pretty basic and was geared towards families. Of cockroaches that is. One insect that I really don't take to.

In the end I was getting pretty good at killing them, and was averaging 2 big fellas a day. The secret is don't chase them, let them come to you. And don't use you're feet, the big boys are too messy on the shoes. It's better to use the squidgy for sweeping water down the shower hole. In the end my loathing was starting to subside, and I was starting to feel sorry for the Cockroaches. They are so stupid and such easy targets. They just panic and run in any direction. Everytime you bang something they change direction. So if you keep hitting a bucket or toilet seat, they soon run somewhere really stupid where it's easy to pick them off. It was cheap entertainment as there was no TV in the room.

I also saw a woman getting her handbag knicked in Montevideo, which is strange because it seemed a really safe city. It was on the other side of the main road and it was dark so I didn't realise what was going on. I heard some shouting, then noticed someone falling onto the pavement, who then grabbed someone else by the ankle and brought them to the pavement. The second one got up and ran off. When I lookled closer I saw the first one was a woman in her fifties just out for a Sunday evening stroll. The robber was long gone before I figured out what had happened.

I arrived in time to make it to the Mercado del Puerto. It's a weekly meatfest, and the best place to people watch. Famous for its steaks, I was warned by a lady to only order a half portion (2 quid, full portion 2.50). I did. The half portion must be at least 20oz. Cooked just right, with a little trickle of blood coming out. Everywhere you look theres rack upon rack of meat being bar-b-q-ed. It's also a rediculously good price to quality ratio.

Since it was Saturday, I struggled out for a few beers. The live music bars were excellent. You can get a bit paranoid if your own in these places, but I thought there were 2 guys who were a bit suss. They kept looking down at me from the balcony when I was talking to a Uruguayan bloke who was trying to introduce me to his sister. When the band took a break the guys from above came down and sat beside me. They both had white winkle-pickers, sprayed on jeans, and matching white studded belts. You never know what's in and what's out in some of these countries, but it seemed a bit different, a bit of a signal. When I checked the name of the pub out the next day it translated as the Hungry Pony. I'm still not sure what the story was as they left before I had a chance to introduce meself.
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