King for a day, ...or for a week actually.

Trip Start Oct 06, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Saturday, January 14, 2006

I'm flying from Buenos Aires and back to Europe in two days, and my last week down here in Latin America I have spent in Punta del Este with a very good friend. We happened to get a very good deal at an ultra fancy (backpacker) spa and casino resort, so I figured screw it. There's still a couple of bucks left in my account (well maybe not anymore), and over the last 15 months I have basically just spent more and more money for every day that's passed. So why not take it to a completely different level, and let me be king for a few days.

Turned out the place was posher than posh, and I must admit I felt a bit stupid wearing the same old jeans on the 8th day, ...but who cares. At least these snobs won't notice, unless I maybe surprise and scare the shit out of them by blocking their perfect mirror image. Here's Johnny!!! In fact Magali told me that about every other guest at the resort was some Latin American hotshot model, designer, actor/actress, producer etc. You name it. We even thought we saw Madonna eating two fried eggs (sunny side up) one breakfast morning. Not sure if it was her under all the make-up and designer sunwear, but at least Naomi Campbell was in town during our stay. No matter what, I am pretty sure I am the first backpacker ever to have set my dirty feet in the Mantra jacuzzi while at the same time ordering US $15 burgers on room service. That should be recognized, even though I always left the "propina" (tips) field empty while signing the bill. I just pretended to be a stupid European not understanding..., que es propina??? I also managed to use the dirty laundry basket as storage for some of my clean clothes, so was I happy when they charged me US $61 to clean some of my clean underwear. Cheap bastard...

Unfortunately we were not too lucky with the weather during our eight days stay, it was a mix of sun, clouds and rain (with a slight emphasis on rain). But we had a great time no matter what, with lots of good food and drinks. And would you believe it, we even went out on the town drinking and dancing a few nights ;-) The relatively little time we got on the beach, we mostly spent on Mantra beach, our hotels own personal beach that also happens to be one of the most popular in Punta del Este (La Barra neighborhood). There's a couple of hundred meters walk from the hotel and down to the beach, so we just took the golf cart of course. Travel with style is all I can say...

All in all a very different experience from when my brother and I went to Punta del Este mid-week in December. Back then the place was more of a ghost town with mostly retired people around. Now however the place was heaving with fashionable Latin American tourists and their fat wallets. Hence we fitted right in (maybe except for the lack of plastic surgery and a few thousand other (almost) negligible things)...
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