Trip Start Oct 14, 2005
71Trip End ??? ??, 2006
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I guess the main reason was...
Because I could, I was in Buenos Aires, I had nothing better to do, it was the weekend, I was about to start a week of Spanish, and Uruguay was a boat trip away, 3 hours by cheap boat, 1 hour by faster boat. I did the cheap boat, 3 hours on what was a luxury ferry similar to the sort that took me and my family over to France for holidays, and to stock up on cheap booze, actually it was probably nicer, so far I have been very impressed with the South American Travel companies, Iīm expecting that to change in Paraguay and Bolivia. All I really knew about Uruguay is that they have a moderately successful football team, that won the world cup twice, but more recently were denied qualification by the mighty Australia, and that it was pronounced by Homer Simpson as "Ur a gay".
So yeah because I could, I did, and it had been my plan ever since I met a guy called John, going Jakarta to Jerusalem. When I met John in Malaysia my South American adventure consisted of a month in Chile and then flying to Lima and a month in Peru. I met John who was going Jakarta to Jerusalem over land visiting many countries on the way. So whilst studying a map of the world I decided that to get to Lima from Santiago I could go east through Argentina, North through Uruguay to Brazil, cross at the Iguazu Falls west into Paraguay, traverse the Trans Chocobo Highway to Bolivia, and enter Peru at Lake Titicaca. I have revised my plan slightly to accommodate my Spanish classes, and my desire to not have to learn Brazilian, and thus I had a day trip to Uruguay, return to Argentina, and then head up to the Iguazu Falls, Brazil, and then Paraguay.
So I got my passport stamped and my Swiss army knife confiscated, D'oh, did they think I was going to hi-jack the boat...
Still I should know better, and 3 hours later I'm in Uruguay, I love days like that, Iīm just popping over to another country for a few hours, will be back later. Colonia (de Sacremento) is a quiet little town full of cobbled streets and colonial history, initially a Portuguese settlement, and at the time a very strategic area looking out over the channel, the Spanish were not happy with this, and so started a bigger settlement, which became Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay.
Enough of the boring History lesson, and on too all the exciting things I did in Uruguay, erm...
I went up a light house, it could have been quite dangerous as it was quite narrow and there were people going up and down at the same time...
There was a dog that had nearly squeezed through the railings of a balcony and wanted to jump down and attack a smaller dog.
I had some pasta, and a traditional Uruguaian dessert, that was nice, meringue and ice cream.
My time in Uruguay will not go down as a highlight, but it was a nice relaxing way to spend a few hours, wandering the historical streets, and spying small art galleries, and other such oddities that had sprung up in this laid back tourist haven, full of Argentines and the odd American tourist.
The best part of the day was wandering over to the markets near the, football ground, and discovering a match, it must have been a league match of some sort as there were fans in the stadium, on the hills surrounding the stadium, and in the trees. I only noticed the fans in the trees as I passed by underneath and heard this disembodied voice screaming "Puto" and "Hijo de puta!!!". This gave me a bit of a start as my limited Spanish includes some swearwords, but they were not aimed at me rather the ref. I decided to join the fans on the hill to watch the second half, but it soon became apparent that the home team were not very good, and at he final whistle I was the only one observing from my lofty vantage point.
After my first experience of South American football I decided there must be more to it and the next day I experienced the full passion of Argentine footy, at a Boca match, but for now I made my leisurely way back to the ferry, with another country crossed off my list, and another stamp in my passport, cos thatīs what travelling is all about, isnīt it?