Nice Capital

Trip Start Jan 20, 2004
Trip End Feb 01, 2005

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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Friday, November 19, 2004

Another capital city to add to the list, although I am nothing like the Capital City Kid, but I do know that Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay, that`s where I am and that it is pronounced mon-te-vid-ayo NOT mon-te-video.

The Ferry
I had to leave BA and the ferry is the best option to Uruguay. I got a taxi with a couple of American surfers to the port and proceeded to buy my last minute ticket, although for some silly reason you have to go all the way to the far side of the terminal where people are lining up to get on the boat to get your ticket and then come back to the entrance to pay for it and then go and check in your bags at what is exactly like a airport check in. So I did a few laps before I was ready to get another stamp in my passport.

I had done some research on my first day in Buenos Aires (the only day I actually did anything) and found that Australians no longer need a visa for Uruguay. Yay yay!! So I don`t get another visa stuck into my passport....

I walked onto the ferry and I thought I`d mistakenly entered a hotel lobby. It was amazing!! More like a cruise ship than a 3hr ferry shuttling to Uruguay. I wandered around sharing the boys` awe, although minus the "dude this is like, like a palace dude" and we went up on deck to watch the BA skyline disappear. They met a Uruguayan surfer there and started talking swells, so I went back downstairs to sit in the lounge with my breakfast and journal.

It was such a smooth trip across the river delta although by the end, my lack of sleep the previous night was starting to hit me. We arrived in Colonia, and I made a last minute decision to go straight to Montevideo and jumped on the bus from the port, which was probably a bit more expensive, but the seats were the most comfy things I`d felt in awhile and I got a couple of hours kip.

Montevideo Montage
I hung around the hostel a bit, and then went on a wild goose chase for an ATM less than 15 years old that would give me money. No luck, so I changed some US$ instead and was rather surprised when the casa de cambio exchanged Aussie dollars. I commented on this and he tried to buy some off me, but when I said I didn`t have any, he wanted to sell me some. Ah no to that question too. Plus the rate was quite crappy. They bought AUD$ for about 16 pesos (this is about right) but then sell it for 21 pesos!!!!

I wandered around, seeing that there were lots of markets and things to buy but since there was not a lot of cash in my pocket, priority number one was food. After a pizza I called home to wish Mum a happy birthday, but ended up leaving a message (hope you got it Mum). I then, spontaneously, decided to see The Bourne Supremacy at the cinema near the hostel and got back to the hostel very tired and in a sleep welcoming mood.

The next day, after surfacing around midday (one day I`ll have to snap out of this little luxury) and told myself that I had to see something. I wandered down to the Old City along the main drag. At the Plaza Independencia I stopped to admire old Artigas astride his horse and his mausoleum. I then wandered around the charming streets admiring the architecture (struck me by surprise as I`ve never really appreciated it before) and then along the promenade.

I found a fantastic cake shop on 25 de Mayo which was divine and then on the way back to the hostel I found a few too many shops with things that I liked. So now I have two new jumpers (Camille, it`s almost summer you twit) and about 10 pairs of earrings (you only have two ears you know) and some bags (didn`t you already send home 6 from Paraguay?). All stuff I needed of course.

So now it`s time to chase the sun and am off to Piriąpolis to try and tan it up a bit before moving on to other green pastures.

Things I Learned
* Coppers in Uruguay look just like Vic Police coppers, right down to their hats and reflective yellow traffic jackets.
* Uruguayan men don`t whistle or make as many comments (finally, somewhere I can go incognito!)
* Taxis in Montevideo have meters that tick over at an alarming rate, but instead of 45 equalling 45 pesos, the driver then pulls out a chart that says when the meter reads 45, it actually costs 62 pesos. Who on earth thought up that deceiving, thieving idea?
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