Today was spent exploring Montevideo, much the same as yesterday. The weather has not been entirely cooperative though, so my opportunities to go out have not been as consistent as I would have hoped. However, the locals say the need the rain, so that's a good thing for them.
I have plenty of stories from yesterday and today, but I don't think it makes sense to try to put them in any kind of chronological order, so I present them today all as small tales, mostly unlinked from each other.
Here we go.
Yesterday I met an older guy named Steve. He was an architect but is now retired, interested in history and sociology, and was in Uruguay in 1973 during a coup which, in his words, was the "end of democracy" for the country for a while. He and I chatted for a long time at lunch, and in some ways he reminded me a lot of my father....except that he was Australian and gay. That part didn't remind me of my father at all.
Separating the central downtown area of Montevideo and the old town is a portal, a sort of gateway that sits on the west side of Plaza Indepencia. The gateway consists of an old Spanish arch on one side, and on the other is a modern cinder-block structure. The symbolism seems pretty straightforward.
There are at least two places in town that have large structures that remind me of photos I've seen of the central train station in Paris. Old wrought iron, lots of high arcing curves and windows, supported by thin, finely detailed poles. These places seem to have largely been turned into cover for restaurants which are sort of open air places, under these structures. I had dinner in one of them last night, and when it started raining, the entire place thundered. Next door to me there were tango lessons being taught, I shouldn't be surprised, I am after all, fairly close to Buenos Aires here.
Speaking of which, beef is on the menu a lot here. I'm getting close to cow country in Argentina. Delicious!
The rate of US dollars to Uruguayan Pesos is about 1 to 20. I've got a few 1000 peso bills in my wallet, and I feel like I'm going through them like they're water. Hundreds of pesos just jump up out of my pocket every time I sit down to eat anywhere.
Last night in the evening I attended a classical music concert with Steve who I met at lunch. It was the final night of a series of performances by an international music school, and the performers were the students and in some cases, the professors. It was held at the Teatro Solis, built in the 1850s, wonderful acoustics, I had a great time, and it was very easy to forget that I am thousands of miles away from home, in a foreign country.
Today I was nearly creamed by a bus. I'm fine, just a closer call than I would have preferred.
With the route of the trip I've taken through South America, I realize that I will probably never make it to Guyana in my lifetime. I'm okay with that.
Montevideo is not pronounced mon-teh-VID-ee-oo, it is pronounced moan-tay-veh-DAY-oo. Just so you know.
I forgot my pen in a store where I had been asking about prices of some things. I left, went to mail some things home to myself, realized I lost the pen, returned to the store, which was closed. I found a place to buy a new pen, returned to the store, found it open, retrieved my pen, and successfully mailed some things home to myself.
I found a sign that attempted to copy the old Roman habit of using a "V" in the place where a "U" would normally go. It took me a while to understand the sign that said, "Avtomobile Clvb del Vrvgvay."
And finally, as you might expect, I present to you some images that I was able to capture during the course of the day.
Another church interior. We just don't really have that many of these kinds of churches in Seattle. A few, not many. I may very well try to continue the series when I return home though.
Jacques returned to the fountain with the locks, ever hopeful to some day add his own lock there.
More street art in Montevideo. I liked these two quite a bit.
My hostel, which doesn't look like much from the outside, but which is pretty nice inside.
Ok. My favorite, low light photography at dusk.
Sunset in Old Town
The streets were wet from the rain.
The gate between Old Town and Centro
The stunning Teatro Solis
Where I had one of my two dinners. (I've taken to eating a snack at 4:30pm in order to be able to eat late dinners, as seems to be the custom here.) This was a street hamburger stand, but a soccer game was on, and all over the city people were glued to their TV sets.