We Make Plans So We Can Change Them

Trip Start Feb 16, 2013
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Trip End Dec 31, 2018


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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Thursday, April 18, 2013

This blog was intended to be similar to Uruguay: short and sleepy. Since we receive so many questions and interest from our fellow travelers about the little known country squashed in between Argentina and Brazil, we've added a few more details than we originally planned. When we set out on the tour, we had no intention of visiting the country of 3.4 million people (last recorded in 2011). But as time went on and local surfers insisted we must make the detour, we figured let's go AGG (surfer lingo for get crazy) and head to Uruguay!

Here's the recap:
Due to inflation and recovery from a 2002 economic crisis, Uruguay is muy expensive. Everyone told us that ahead of time, but after living many years on both the east and left coasts, we assumed prices wouldn't shock us. A McDonald's value meal will run you about $20 U.S. and that's with only a MEDIUM Coke Zero. Crisis indeed.

Uruguay has traditionally been more affluent than other countries in South America and is known for its advanced education, social security systems, and liberal social laws, which have deemed it the Switzerland of Latin America.  The day before we arrived in Colonia, lawmakers in Uruguay voted to legalize same-sex marriage, becoming (at the time) the 12th country in the world to do so. Legislation also raised the age when children can legally marry from 12 years of age (for girls) and 14 (for boys) to 16 for both genders.  Picture those notes flying through health class - Will you marry me? Check yes or no.

With only a week in this country approximately the size of Oklahoma, we didn't venture far from the coast.  I can tell you that the short inland ride we took through the countryside resembled the Midwest: farms, livestock, roadside stands selling horse meat (one of Uruguay's main exports). Our itinerary along the coast included the following stops:
 
Colonia: Loved Uruguay's oldest town, but the weather was sub-par so we spent most of the time playing rummy. We did squeeze a few good runs in along the water, but because of the village's location next to the Rio del la Plate, the water appears as thought it's been flushed down from the world's largest porta-potty.
 
Punta Del Este. Now we're talking. The blue ocean water met our expectations and although we had just missed Uruguay's summer months, the town had a similar feel to the "good parts" of Miami Beach.  I was dying for some sushi after eating countless cows in Argentina.  Shockingly, the sushi/pizza/empanada shop didn't have the best sushi.  After I overcame the disappointment of my unexceptional salmon roll, we were back to square one: empanadas.  The empanades take shape in Punta Del Este, literally.  The shape of the empanada indicates whether the savory substance inside it is chicken, carne, etc.  Unfortunately, after Adam learned this little tidbit of information, I could no longer justify taking a large bite out of each empanada under the guise of determining which ones were mine.
 
Punta Del Diablo  If I were Patrick Swayze's character from the cult classic Point Break, this is the town I in which I would choose to surf all day and hide out from the Feds. There was a whole lot of nothing going on and we joined right in. We arrived just at the beginning of the off season so the town appeared to be run by canines rather than people. A lone grocery store was open for 6 hours a day. Coincidentally, our stomachs alerted us that we were famished from surfing right after the store closed for siesta. It was odd to find ourselves hungry in a town where you truly could not find something to eat at a certain hour mid-day. The fact that you can get your hair done at the pharmacy also speaks volumes about accessibility during post summer months. But it was all worth it as the best surfing conditions are actually during the fall.

Let's clarify the term surfing a bit, shall we? Adam claims he doesn't really surf and that he only looks like a surfer because of the blonde highlights that appear after he's been in the sun a few days (he was once accused of having his hair professionally highlighted in a salon). But his nose grows as he makes this false claim as I have now seen with my own two eyes that this man indeed surfs. Given his NFL contract, he couldn't get out on a board, so I had never had the chance to see what he could do on the water. He catches waves on a regular basis and he rides them successfully to shore. I, on the other hand, repeatedly have my arse handed to me on a platter each time I enter the water. Have you SEEN the size of me?! I've never been tossed around like a 3-year-old's teddy bear since my older brother had 2 feet on me in height. I loved every minute of it. I didn't posses quite the amount of energy needed to spend 8 hours a day in the water "until I have this thing down" as I had intended. Mother Nature did not hesitate to remind me she is large and in charge. I'll have to give it another college try in Thailand before I can officially check "learn how to surf" off the ol' bucket list.

We managed to squeeze in a horse ride along the beach at dusk. We signed our lives away, jumped on the saddles, and trailed off into the sunset. With only 4 of us in the group, the owner of the horses pretty much let us ride the horses as fast as we desired. We squeezed a stop in the forest to share a couple bottles of tannat, the national, high tannin red wine, before riding like the wind along the surf. 

The video accompanying this blog is not our best footage. As you can imagine, galloping on a horse with a GoPro strapped to your head doesn't produce the most stable of camera footage. We're posting it for the following 3 reasons:
       1. We would like to remember, later on in life, the prime of our lives when we're sitting in a nursing home losing our cognitive abilities.
        2. "Corre!" by Jesse and Joy is a favorite and we wanted to share the entire song with you.
        3. If you have no desire to watch us bouncing around on horses, just take a few seconds to view the last 3 seconds of the video to see the sunset.  

Peace out,
T n' A

Sidenote:
  -  Strangely enough, I did not capture Adam surfing on camera. I can't remember if I didn't record him because he didn't want me to or if I was worried I'd get sand in the camera.  Next time.
 
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