Yes! Today is my last night in Uruguay. I am in Salto tonight and I will cross over to Argentina early Monday Sept. 3. Thank God! I can´t say I will miss Uruguay. Not to offend any uruguayos who may read this, but my experience here was not the best. I guess it was the wrong time of year. in summer, Punta del Este is supposed to be the Rio de Janeiro of Uruguay.
Anyway, I will try to be fair and list the pros and cons of my two weeks in Uruguay.
- The grilled beef on the parrilla was excellent. If you like meat, you will like Uruguay.
- The weather, although cold, was nice and sunny most of the time. I shudder to think what would have happened if it rained and was cold as well.
- There was some nice quiet countryside. Lots of cows (you know you are struggling to find something good to say if ‘lots of cows’ is one positive thing).
- Colonia del Sacramento was a nice old town
- The thermal springs of Guaviyu were superb. 38 deg C. I soaked in them for an hour until I had wrinkled fingers. Hey that could be the name of a band,´The Wrinkled Fingers’.
- Uruguay is cheap. Hotel $10, dinner $8.
- The few people I met were friendly. More so than I was. I was in a bad mood most of the time.
- There is never a shortage of football (soccer). My first hour in Uruguay, in the taxi to my hotel, the driver gave me a detailed history of football in Uruguay, back to 1916. In any hotel you can switch on the TV and see at least 4-5 different football games.
- The 1 liter bottles of beer ($2)
- The drivers were pretty bike-friendly. There are lot of cyclists here so they give you plenty of room.
OK, now the dirt:
- It was COLD. (I know this is not strictly Uruguay´s fault, but I am taking it out on them). The summer is supposed to be nice. As it was, my bare legs saw the light of uruguay only once in 2 weeks.
- The countryside was BORING. Cows, sheep, horses and wheat. Yawn. Thank God for my iPod.
- I fell once (I blame this on their uneven roads).
- Although lots of dogs, only one came roaring at me snarling and barking like Cujo. I quickly pulled out my pepper spray and hit him right in the face from 3 feet. It was satisfying to see him sneeze and claw at his eyes. He actually came after me twice more before giving up, but as soon as I raised my arm again he backed off. Ha.
- Free camping was difficult due to the fences and little real estate that was not fully occupied by cows, horses or crops. The worst was when I had to sleep in a cow pasture and woke up with cow poo on everything. Yech!
- My back injury. Again, I can´t blame this on Uruguay, but it happened here so…
- My maps were not the best, causing me to get lost on more than one occassion and forcing me to stick to main roads, which I detest.
OK, there you have it.
Here´s a few last pix from Uruguay:
This is a poor farmer and his son. I stopped near their house and they came out to chat. He is 48, can´t find a job, so makes his living making honey and candies and selling dairy products from his 3 cows (one died last winter because he could not afford to feed it. )He also has a tractor but can´t afford fuel to run it. They invited me in to their house but he was too depressing so I declined.
Katrina, you asked about the food. Here is a typical concoction when camping: a packet of soup, some water, a few veggies (carrots and green peppers) and six cut up hot dogs. Boil until it seems ready. Eat with bread and water. Yum. I call it hot dog soup.
This was where I was forced to camp in a cow pasture, among the cow pies. Most were dried up, but not all, as I discovered the following morning.
This one I just call “Kev eating pear on railroad tracks”.
Great going Koski!! 🙂
I must say, it has been really exciting and entertaining reading your blog 🙂 What an adventure!!! Continue the great job of delivering it to us 🙂
Hugs and Kisses
Hot dog soup. Mmmm. Sounds easy to make and I bet the kids will really like it. I will have to try that one out. I bet Ira would love it after a long day too.
Cheap dinners there, but Vietnam has it beat. $3 for a meal.
it was great talking with you this morning.
Uncle Don here. Finally caught up on your blog. Brother Jim is here in Copper Harbor and told me you were writing often. Good job. I am living a dream reading you and Katrina and Ira and son Ben’s blogs.
I suspect the “poor” farmer saw a rich gringo with an ATM card. I mean, how many of us working stiffs can take a few years off to ride through the countryside and relax in a cow pasture?
But I must admit that I admire your grit and tell everyone about it. Keep it coming, Kev, because we are almost done sailing for the season and I have a lot of time to read.
Jan. 13, 2008 and finally getting on your blog. I’m starting at the very beginning and it is incredibly interesting. Makes me feel quite small here in the U.P. where we are experiencing a light snow fall today. I could make a comment on several things but since I am getting a late start I’ll just say a thing or two. First, seeing the pictures of you makes me miss you. I hope it won’t be too long before we can see eachother again and have some laughs (thanks for the letter by the way before your trip). Second, I think of you often and ask the good Lord to keep you safe. Third, I always tease Grif that you can name a band virtually anything today, and just yesterday I came up with “Ear Wax”…kinda gross but “Nine Inch Nails” is equally so…..Love ya Kev.