I'm a guy? No, URUGUAY!

Trip Start Dec 05, 2010
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Trip End Jan 03, 2011


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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Today we took an 8 am boat ride to Montevideo on a Buquebus ferry. It took about 3 hours and was surprisingly comfortable! As soon as we stepped out of customs at the puerto, we felt the intense summer heat. We had no idea where our hotel was, no idea where to catch a taxi and no uruguayan pesos to pay for the taxi. The ATM at the terminal was broken, so the guy gave us a free map of the tourist highlights and drew a dot two blocks over for what we thought was a bank.
Turns out it was a casa de cambio but we didn't have any dollars or enough Argentinean pesos to exchange! 
Plan B. hop in a taxi, ask him to drive us by a bank. Two tries later (turns out VISA is not everywhere, as they claim!) and we had cash in hand and were headed toward the hotel in el Barrio Sur. 

We found lunch at a great place 2 blocks down Paraguay Street called Parada Sur. We hit up the menu ejecutivo (set menu with a drink and dessert for $12 each) and James had a delicious fish dish and I had two skewers of grilled beef and vegetables. This would be our finest meal in Montevideo. It was also during our meal that we realized how kind and helpful the Uruguayans are. In Buenos Aires, you get lost in the hustle and bustle and people just aren't that friendly. Where in Bs As, they get frustrated with James trying to speak Spanish, in Uruguay, they nod and smile and encourage him, happy to let him practice. They are our kind of people!!

After a nap through the heat of the afternoon, we strolled around the centro, picked up some awesome souvenirs and ate some helado (we have had ice cream about 4 of 5 days on this trip so far). 

Dinner was a huge event. We looked online at tripadvisor to get some recommendations. I really wanted to go back to Ciudad Vieja which we had passed on our way into town from the harbor. We wrote down the addresses and even got two back up restaurants and hailed a cab. It was 10:15 and I realized we were on the porteno schedule of late night dining. I said to James that I hoped Montevideo was on the same schedule because our street had gotten pretty quiet. The cab driver dropped us off on a minimally lit street, we walked to the address of our first choice restaurant and it was closed. In fact, looked like it had been out of business for a while.  When we went to look at the address of our second and third choice places, we realized we had forgotten the map! I saw some bystanders and asked them for the street and they told us it was just the next one over. When we got there it was pretty sketch and so James just said, let's hail a cab and get him to take us to wherever other people are! 

We went back over to the waterfront, that had been hopping ten hours earlier and phew were relieved to see three restaurants on the same block that were open. The food turned out to be bland and overpriced, but our server Julio was a gem, so you win some, you lose some, but you always learn a lesson. Ours were:
1. James and Kat each take a map. It's unfair to make one person responsible for such a key item.
2. Tripadvisor for restaurants is not always a safe bet. (We reviewed El Peregrino and we also let them know that our first choice place was closed down.)  
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