Holidays in Punta del Este, Uruguay

Trip Start Dec 26, 2006
Trip End Jan 18, 2007

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Monday, January 1, 2007

I just had a whirlwind of adventures the last few days!  I booked my last minute ferry/5 hour bus ride to Punta del Este, Uruguay to visit my friend Greg and his buddies.  Like I mentioned before, they dropped a bunch of money to rent a villa right on the beach in one of the most exlusive areas in South America.  This was nothing like affordable Buenos Aires, although I am sure it was slightly less expensive than hip beaches in the rest of the world.  I had a great time, the boys really know how to do things in style.  I got to spend time at the beach (hooray!) and work on turning my sunburn into a nice bronzed tan.  Punta is truly the land of beautiful's full of models and South American socialite-types.  Everyone is incredibly well-dressed, incredibly thin, incredibly rich, and they all smoke like chimneys. 

For our actual New Year's celebration, the boys contracted two Mercedes with drivers for the night.  Our original plan was to go to a "house party" of a guy that one of the boys knew.  We somehow got our directions switched up which lead to a wild goose chase around Punta, and we ended up pulling over on the side of the road to pop open a couple of bottles of champagne to celebrate midnight.  It was probably a good thing we got lost though, because in South America, it's traditional to celebrate New Year's with dinner with family/friends, and then shower and go out at normal 2:00am-ish times.  We got to the house party at 12:30ish and they were still setting up.  The guy that owned the house said he expected 1,200 people.  He had 30 security guards, wristbands, a VIP area, and loads of booze.  We decided to go to a nearby restaurant to grab some food.  The kitchen was closed, but the guys paid the owner to open it back up so we could have fruit, cheese, bread, and.....filet mignon.  Nice!  The boys paid for a table at one of the best clubs in town, Tequila.  It cost a mere $2,000 for the night, plus $2,000 for bottle service all night.  We ended up going there around 2:00am until 4:30am and then taking the Mercedes back to the house party which was in full swing.  The house grounds were packed, there were at LEAST 1,200 people there, if not more.  It was pretty crazy.  We stayed out until the sun came up, and ended up staggering back into the villa at around 8:00am.  It was a pretty amazing night.  I think I got a little taste of what it's like to have more money than you know what to do with and I owe the guys so much for treating me so well.

I ended up catching an earlier ferry/bus back than planned so I could have more time to sleep before going to work tomorrow, which was nice.  The trip back was long but uneventful and I even met a really nice Argentinian who was in Punta surfing for the weekend.  We talked forever, it was nice to meet someone who was down-to-earth and normal after being around so much superficial BS in Punta.  He works for ESPN in Argentina and gave me a couple places to get good sushi in Buneos Aires, which of course I've been craving.  I think we're going to get sushi sometime this weekend.

This afternoon, after I got back in town, I headed to Polmero, a bohemian/trendy district.  It has great Argentinian-specific boutique shopping.  I didn't even make it through half the neighboorhood before everything was closed, so I'm definitely going back.  I had sushi for dinner (finally!).  I ordered a huge variety platter so that I can have some for lunch tomorrow.  For approximately $16 I got what is pictured here.   AMAZING!  It definitely hit the spot.

Tomorrow is my first official day at the clinic, so it will be nice to get a good night's sleep.  It just started raining here, which is pretty loud on the roof, but I'm so tired I'm confident I'll have no trouble sleeping.  I also move out of the hostel tomorrow to the second residence of my journey...the little house in the outskirts of the city.
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