Friday, January 20, 2012

..and into Uruguay

Uruguay. Go ahead and say it. UR OO GWAY, UR OO GWAY. I love that word.

Well here I am in another country that was just a place on a map for so many years. It was easy enough to get here from Argentina. There is a ship that does the hour trip from BA to Colonia Uruguay 4 times a day. Then I transferred to a bus for the 3 hours ride to the capital, Montevideo. The boat ride was uneventful however I did have a standard class seat and that of course includes all kinds of screaming babies and yelling children. Time to hold my head high and walk with confidence into first class like you belong. Nobody batted an eye or checked my ticket for that matter, plus they gave me champagne. Someone very smart told me that when the time is right walk with confidence and hold your head high, you can go anywhere.

A New country (37), new flag and new freaking pesos to get a grasp on. 1 Canadian dollar = 19.1 UPesos so 1 = 20 in my world. I now have a pocket full of 1000, 500 and 100 peso notes . The bank gives you 1000 notes out of the ATM and they are hard to use. A little tip I learned to get started is to take out 3900 pesos not 4000. That way you get 100s to get you started for cabs and food, then go into the bank during business hours and exchange the 1000s for smaller notes. I like smart advice.

** to my friend Ed, the pesos are safely tucked away in my private safe in my room. Thanks for your concern about me walking around with money in my pocket and announcing it on my blog in the past, again I like smart advice**

Argentina was interesting and had some great highlights. I think because it came after Antarctica and I was sick for a while it never had the chance it deserves. I will pass through the north to a small sliver of Argentina between Uruguay and Paraguay. There are some Jesuit ruins and of course Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian border. I may head over to the Salt Flats in the north as well. Bolivia is entering its rainy season and sadly like Easter Island I may have to skip it. Its not going anywhere and will be a place to explore in the future.

I can feel the difference between BA and Montevideo right away. BA is huge and the portenos (People who live in BA) are aggressive and on the go, busy busy busy. It could be any American, Canadian or European city really. Staring into their mobile devices and blocking the sidewalk or almost getting run over by a passing taxi, bouncing off you, cutting in front of you and not giving a dam. Here in Montevideo there is a calmness in  the city, the people and just the feel. I have only been here half a day lets see what tomorrow brings. Its also noticeably cheaper. I have been paying a premium through Chile and Argentina and its nice to have the dollar stretch a little further.

Finally you would not think so but travelling for extended periods of time can get tiring and the last couple weeks have been a bit slow for me. I think it showed in the blog postings. A few very long bus trips and a brutal and nagging chest cold caused me to loose allot of my energy. As the saying goes, "my get up and go has got up and went". I had some nice wanders and did a few cool things but it was not the same. I started coming around a few days ago but it was a brilliant 2 hour Gcall phone conversation that completely got my groove back, yes I said groove back. My energy is restored and all is right on the road again. Bama, only you could have done that, thanks.

So off I go, into the Uruguay night..come on now UR OO GWAY. Makes you smile when you say it doesn't it?

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