Trip Start Sep 03, 2011
54Trip End Jun 04, 2012
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On Friday night we had the missionaries over for dinner and our new friend Natalia. It was a nice evening talking in English to someone other than ourselves. The Elders were both from Utah, Elder Hancock and Elder Goeckeritz. Because they have been speaking Spanish since they have been here, the English conversation was a treat. (For our non churchy friends, young people from the age of 19 to their mid 20s volunteer for about 2 years to go out and share our beliefs about Jesus Christ and His gospel and about the peace and hope that it can bring our lives. They also share the Book of Mormon as another witness of Jesus Christ.) Natalia our gorgeous Uruguayan friend, also brought over some mate (pronounced maatay) for our family to try, it is dried leaves of a Paraguay holly tree. We gave it a go, but it was a bit, hmmmm it has a very strong grassy, chicory , bitter taste and apparently full of caffeine. They all drink it down here in a gourd cup and a metal straw called a bombilla (bombeesha). From the photos you can see how well we took to it!!!
Saturday we took one last browse through the streets of Montevideo, we looked through the old Basilica/Catedral Metropolitana de Montevideo. Parts of the original brick church from 1740 are exposed at the front of the current neoclassical structure which was consecrated in 1804. We also looked through the market at Constitution Square just incase we could see Campbell's cameras and our external computer hard drive. No luck.
Sunday after church and packing and our last dinner in Montevideo Andrew, Hannah and I went up to the Teatro Solis to take a tour, the theatre was magical. I was expecting some standard theatre with down stairs stall seats and some standard balconies, but it was like something you see in a movie depicting theatre life in renaissance Europe. It really did take my breath away. It is a round auditorium with downstairs seats and surrounded by about 5 levels of balcony seating. It really was like being in an old European theatre that you would have watched a Mozart concert or Oprea being performed in with the rich colours, architecture, murals, designs and fittings. It was originally built in 1856 and then updated with marble pillars and chandeliers from an English factory and other features in the early 1900s (the English factory was destroyed during a Blitz attack in WW II so they have no way of replacing parts, interesting side note). The Teatro Solis was originally built for the cultural benefit of the social elite but when it fell into disrepair it was bought by the Municipal who then renovated it and then they opened up for all to come and enjoy. When the red light on the theatre roof was lit, it used to let the residents of Montevideo know when there a performance was on, now it it on for tradition. In 1998 the Municipal undertook a major renovation and it was completed in 2004. Currently they are setting up for a German Opera. It is a beautiful building, I really loved it.
Our Monday morning began at 6am so we could get the apartment in a clean state and make sure we did not forget anything. By 7.50 we were just about done, the taxis were called the place was clean we were in the taxis by 8.05. I was very sad to leave it is just a lovely gentle city with gentle people, I cried in the taxi as we pulled away from our apartment and waved to our doorman and the lady who cleans the building during the day, I didn't even know their names ( I am so useless!) but they were part of our daily routine of our stay and I will miss them.
We will all miss Uruguay.
We have arrived safely in Santiago, our apartment is 22 stories high (please may the continental plates not shift while we are here), we have a gym, pool, the Andes to the north and east of us, urban sprawl as far as the eye can see plenty of sights and markets and tp can we can flush down the toilet...awesome... I think I am most excited about the tp thing.