A whole new country

Trip Start Apr 17, 2006
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Trip End Jun 14, 2006


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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Monday, June 5, 2006

Pablo met me in the coach station in Montevideo, where it wasn't raining - or at least not as much. The next morning, he drove me around Montevideo showing me the sights and filling me in on the stories, both the public and personal (such as where he shook the hand of Prince Charles - or did he?). However, the bad weather had not confined itself either to yesterday or to Paysand˙, and our sightseeing was dampened accordingly. One particularly memorable view was from the top of el cerro, "the hill", where you can see over the whole of Montevideo, or, in our case, some particularly attractive fog.

Montevideo is a city of some three million, located on the River Plate, and with beaches all along its coastline, right in the heart of the city. Having arrived in the dark, I was rather taken aback when I looked out the window of Pablo's tall apartment building in the centre of town the next morning to see a beach and a palm tree. But even his view wasn't as good as that from the apartment of his parents, where I went for lunch on my last day (and needless to say managed not to have my camera with me).

Pablo sat me down the night I arrived with a pen and paper and told me to prove that we were related, otherwise he'd be charging board and lodging. We managed to work out that we were third cousins, and had the same great great grandparents. Quite impressive, huh? His Parents, Pedro and Eva, took us all out for lunch the next day and Pedro was able to fill in the blanks. It's quite interesting so here goes: my Mum's Grandad, Arthur, and Pablo's Dad's Grandma, Sabina, were brother and sister in Switzerland. Arthur came to England and married, and had my Gran, who had my Mum, who had me. Sabina had Pablo's Gran, Cecily (this is my Gran's cousin - confused yet?), who married a German, Charles, and being Jewish they were forced to flee Europe in the 30s, and came to Uruguay, owing to that being the only place prepared to have them at the time. They had Pedro and Anita (who I will be meeting in Buenos Aires, back in Argentina), and Pedro had Pablo. Fascinating stuff.

I also went to the movies to see the Da Vinci Code with Pablo and his girlfriend, Sylvia, thinking I would have no problems as it was in English with Spanish subititles. However, as you will know if you have seen it, much of it is not in English but French and some other gibberish language, perhaps it was Latin, I don't know. But the subtitles, of course, were still in Spanish, and owing to it being amongst the plottiest and most gripping films I've ever seen, this increased significantly my motivation to understand my chosen second language.

Pablo deserves a MASSIVE shout out here for being such a kind host, insisting I make myself totally at home, offering me unlimited assistance with the remains of my journey, giving over his whole weekend to me despite recovering from his ironman triathlon (which, by the way, he completed in around 12h50m, astonishingly almost the exact same time as last year), and refusing ever to let me contribute to expenses. I don't feel a mere thank you is enough, but I can at least say in the presence of these many witnesses that Pablo, you have an open invitation to visit us in England whenever you wish!

Miles munched: While Pablo was at work on Monday, I went around Montevideo on my bike, to snap some photos. Somehow I managed to cycle about 30 miles. Taking photos. How?
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