A Travellerspoint blog

Willy, a liberen Willy

A Good Time for All

rain
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Well I tried to update my blog last night. I stayed up late, typing it up. I went to save it as a draft, and the internet cut out momentarily erasing the whole thing. I'll be using word from now on, sorry for the delay.

I woke up late, and it was pouring rain outside. I was no longer interested in Punta del Este. Maria and new companions Valmor from Brazil, and Paula, who I think was from Spain, and I hung out for a bit, then booked a city tour for later in the day. We then went out to explore the city after the rain cleared up, and the sky turned bright and blue once more. They all laughed as I slathered on sun screen.
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Eventually we ended up back at the Mercado del Puerto. They ordered a big platter of assorted meats to share. I ordered rice, potatoes and mixed vegetables. They were curious to know why I was a vegetarian, and the explanation was completely lost in translation. I tried a few small bites to appease their peer pressure, staying clear of the blood sausage. Eh. I'm just not into meat, it really wasn't much of a sacrifice when I gave it up. I will probably be eating more of it throughout this trip though. Not being fluent in the language in a region with limited vegetarian options makes it a hard thing to avoid all together.
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Pot o' carne

Pot o' carne


As we ate, M noticed it was 2:45, the time we had to be back at the hostel for the city tour. We ate as fast as we could and then dashed across the city. We managed to make it back in time to catch the tour. It was in a van, and it took us on a large circuit around the whole city.
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A little over half way through the tour, my stomach began to rumble. OH MY GOD! I can hold it... I can totally hold it. No this is not happening. We were driving through a park, with a small amusement park/large play ground. I caught a glimpse of the banos. We stopped at a statue nearby, and they let us out for pictures. I ran to the bathroom, praying to every deity I could think of. I got to the banos, to discover there was no toilet seat and no toilet paper! Incidentals at that point. Nothing takes you down a peg or two like that kind of situation.

I'll spare the gory details, suffice to say I did what needed to be done. I learned a lot about myself in that bathroom. I then headed back to the bus, and had to act like nothing out of the ordinary had just happened, which I had pulled off with suprising ease. I took a shower as soon as I got back. I would have prefered scalding water under the circumstances, but it was to be my first cold shower of the trip. *For the record, rightly or wrongly I blame the meat!

Valmor wanted to go out for coffee or drinks so we did. Maria and I split a bottle of medio y medio, or half and half and then we switched to beers. Oh how the mighty have fallen. We discussed politics. It was interesting to hear an Argentinian, and Brazillian perspective on Estados Unidos, and the world. It was an interesting conversation between a native spanish speaker, a native portuguese speaker and a native english speaker, aided of course by alcohol.

Valmor has a lot of faith in Obama, and thinks he has good intentions and more respect for the United Nations and the rest of the world than previous presidents. They both said it was impossible to seperate the United States from how they view their countries place in the world.
Maria y mi

Maria y mi

Maria y Valmor

Maria y Valmor

Montevideo..uay_029.jpgMontevideo..uay_030.jpgMontevideo..uay_031.jpgI just love that it looks like I'm drinking fire

I just love that it looks like I'm drinking fire


Maria and I wanted to dance, so we headed back to the hostel to find out where to go. Everyone at the hostel was planning to go out, so we went with them. They ended up going to the same street lined with bars that we'd just come from. There weren't really any dance venues, but all the bars were playing music. We ended up hanging out, and dancing in the street. Later people began to actually dance at one of the bars there so we went there for some proper dancing. We stayed out until four in the morning, it was a great night.
Devil Mouse

Devil Mouse

Post-drinks Desert, Yummy!

Post-drinks Desert, Yummy!

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  • One of the groups in Carnival did a rendition of the theme from "Free Willy" (They take songs and rewrite the lyrics, sorta like Weird Al Yankovic), and it was subsequently stuck in Maria's head from that point on. It turned into somewhat of a theme song for us.

Posted by RyRyGoByBy 16:00 Archived in Uruguay Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Lazy Days

In Montevideo

sunny
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At what point have you seen a city? At what point have you experienced a place? I haven't really done anything in Montevideo. I could stay if money and time were no issue but I am not compelled to. What is travel about? Is it merely a momentum pulling you forward into new experiences?

Today was a day of practicality. I went shopping for necessities: shampoo, outlet converters, and stamps. I forgot postcards. I also went to two museums: Museo Torres Garcia, and Museo Romantico. Torres Garcia displayed the works of the name sake artist, a modern Uruguayan artist, and Romantico displayed the possesions of the Uruguay's upper crust from the early 19th century. They were both free, although I donated $5 dollars at Torres Garcia. I wish I hadn't, the museum was on two small floors, and far from the "must see" as it was described in the guide book.
Courtyard of Museo Romantico

Courtyard of Museo Romantico

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Tomorrow I'm off to Punta del Este. M has never been but has no interest in going. She says it is cute but it is for rich people, pushing the tip of her nose upward as she says so. She has been to many of the beaches along Uruguays coast. She showed me pictures, and described the romantic hamlets with rustic cabanas lacking electricity. She planted the seed, and now I'd much rather go to one of those places. Unfortunately, I have limited time and they are at least four hours from Montevideo, instead of Punta's two hours. We shall see, the weather is supposed to be poor over the next two days.

Posted by RyRyGoByBy 16:00 Archived in Uruguay Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Getting into the Groove

Onwards to Montevideo

sunny
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Reflection
Last night was interesting. I knew going in that hostels did not provide towels or shampoo and yet it only really occured to me when I wanted to take a shower and did not have those necessary items. The only option that late at night was to drip dry in the bathroom for god knows how long. About as appealing as staying dirty. Luckily I was able to give myself a moist towelette bath to tide me over (Thanks Mom-Mom and Dad-Dad for the thoughtful going away present!).

I don't know if I'm the right person for hostels. Don't get me wrong I love the concept and how it brings people together face to face instead of keyboard to keyboard. I'm not the most comfortable around people though. I'm overly sensitive to the presence of others, and thus extremely concious of the impact of my presence on those around me. I don't like to be in peoples way, be noisey, obnoxious or make boring, awkward, perfunctory or offensive conversation. Sometimes I may come off as a ghost because I'm trying not to disturb those around me. This feeling is exponentially increased when you're sleeping in a room with seven strangers.

What if I have to pee in the middle of the night which incidentally I don't do at home, so why this would be a concern now is beyond me (TMI? Just wait until the first bout of traveler's diarhea strikes, it's going to get real real fast people, are you with me or not?). Do I flush? Maybe I can cup my hands and form a little bucket brigade to get water from the sink into the toilet to flush without flushing? When can I get up? What if I snore?! You had no idea I was this neurotic did you?

When I walked into the room to go to bed, there was a girl in her underwear and a tshirt getting ready for bed. She was facing the door so I smiled as a way of saying hello. In hindsight I hope she didn't think I was a creep. So many things to learn and get used to. They say you have to face your fears and step out of your comfort zone to grow, here I am trying to be a sequoia.

What I've been up to
I woke early and waited for the others to rise before getting up. I went to the farmacia first thing, and it was open! Sunscreen bought, mission accomplished. My fair complexion protected I then headed back into the barrio historico for a last look around. I ran into Maria from the hostel. We took pictures of each other and chatted for a bit. Apparently the stores were closed the day before because Uruguay's new president was taking office.
Back at the hostel we discussed our plans. We were both going on to Montevideo, a typical next destination from Colonia. We walked to the bus terminal together to catch the next bus. She was born in Buenos Aires, but has lived in Cordoba for the last five years. She prefers Cordoba's laid back and friendly people. She works for the Argentinian equivalent to social security as best I can tell, and we are the same age.
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Colonia: two eras

Colonia: two eras

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See I make friends easily... or how I caught rabies


We arrived at the bus terminal moments before the bus was to leave, and I quickly bought my ticket, Maria having previously purchased hers. As we went to board the bus we were told there were two 11 o'clock buses, a direct and presumably an indirect. Sure enough I'd managed to book the indirect bus, while Maria was on the other. We hastily said goodbye, while trying to make a plan to meet back up with hurried moments and a language barrier. She said she'd wait for me at the bus terminal.

As the bus crawled through the country side, stopping to load and unload passengers at seemingly random places I tried to make peace with the fact that I probably wasn't going to see Maria again, imagining the difference in arrival times would be hours.
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My bus arrived at the terminal and as I stepped off I scanned the crowd of people outside the terminal. I didn't see her. I walked into the terminal crowded with people and shops. If she was there I wasn't going to be able to find her. I stopped and looked around plotting my next move. I turned back towards the door I'd just come through only to see Maria! We were both confused thinking the other had waited. Turns out the buses arrived at the same time, gotta love that direct service.

Montevideo is a city with all the grit and grime of New York, but underneath it are beautiful, elaborately ornate buildings. It has that decayed beauty of faded grandeur which I love. Just don't open your mouth as you're looking up, as the buildings are all dripping constantly onto the side walk. Must be from all the air conditioners in the windows.
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After checking into the hostel, we went out to look for a towel so I could shower. I bought the towel and then we wandered around exploring with the intent of finding our way back to the hostel. I was snapping off shots with my big expensive looking camera, when Maria leaned over and told me to put it away in a hush. I did and she told me she saw two guys eyeing me up, not sure of the threat they posed. I didn't use my big camera the rest of the time I was in Montevideo after that (You may notice a difference in photo quality).
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It was late in the afternoon and we were hungry so we headed to the Mercado del Puerto, a large indoor market with numerous food choices, all centered around meat. I told M. I was a vegitarian, but not to let that influence where we ate as I still eat seafood. Lunch was delicious, I had fish with aqua con gas, which is simply carbonated water and my prefered beverage down here. M. found out that I don't drink, and the bar tender overheard me say "although I do like champagne". He gave us each a cup of half and half, and M ordered a beer. She insisted I help her drink it, since it came in a liter bottle, so I tried beer for the first time. Enough to get me loose, not that thats a lot. I won't be making a point to order it again anytime soon. I would imagine urine and beer are very similar in taste. M noted how strange I am, not eating meat, not drinking, not eating a lot of food at a time. Yeah, yeah I know, and I'm just as strange to people back in the States.
El Viajero hostel rooftop terrace

El Viajero hostel rooftop terrace

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Later after a much needed shower, M & I took a bus out to see a show we had bought tickets for when we first arrived. It was Uruguayan Carnival, which Maria had asked if I would like to see with her. It was five groups of about 12-20 men all in festive costumes singing, dancing, and telling jokes. Not knowing spanish was frustrating as I had no idea why the audience was laughing so hard most of the time. It was still a very enjoyable experience I'm glad I had.
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Posted by RyRyGoByBy 16:00 Archived in Uruguay Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

First Day... of the rest of your life

"Day 1:...." for Ashley & Sam

sunny 80 °F
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I took a taxi from the B&B to the Buquebus Terminal downtown. It took an hour and cost 94 pesos. I arrived right around 9, hoping to catch the 9:30 AM ferry to Colonia, Uruguay. The terminal was crowded with people, in many lines. I still had to buy my ticket which was less than straightforward. Even after being directed by a woman at the front counter where to purchase tickets I had no clue which line she was referring to. People were holding tickets in every line so that didn't help narrow down the field. I bounced back and forth between two lines which showed the most promise. Turns out you get your tickets in one line, and you pay for them in another: efficient! I'd already resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be on the next ferry, but lucky for me they only begin boarding the ferry at 9:30, it didn't end up leaving until 10:10 and I was on board. The deck was closed so there was no good way for me to get pictures from the water.

It was the express ferry so it took about an hour, and I arrived around noon, losing an hour as Uruguay is in the time zone ahead of Argentina. My first priority was to find a hostel, which I'd already picked out online. I just hoped they had openings, since I really wanted to ditch my bags. I was in luck, they had beds. I dropped my bags and rented a bike to see the town.
My Hostel & Bike: El Viajero

My Hostel & Bike: El Viajero

Old Window

Old Window


View from Lunch

View from Lunch

Popular Transportation

Popular Transportation


Colonia del Sacramento was established in the 17th century as a Portuguese smuggling port to disrupt the Spanish trade with Buenos Aires across the Rio de la Plata. In the old quarter it appears not much has changed since those days, and it has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site.

I spent the day exploring and looking for sun screen. The two farmacias I went to were closed... on a monday afternoon? The small supermercado I tried didn't carry it. Hopefully I'll find some soon I managed to stay covered up today but pretty soon I'll go from mucho blanco to mucho rojo.

I had my first 5 minute friendship back at the hostel. As I was typing an earlier entry, she sat down next to me and began working on her laptop. She was suprised and asked me about traveling with a laptop. Her's was full size, but turns out it was the hostels, which anyone is free to use. So as we both got in our computer time we chatted. She is from Israel, and I think she is doing a 6 month trip. She gave me some useful tips and advice about places she'd been that I'm going to. She finished with the computer and got up. A little bit later, she came back to say goodbye, as she was moving on to Buenos Aires. I don't even know her name. Such is the ebb and flo of the traveller.

Going to go get dinner. Tomorrow morning I'll take a bus to Montevideo.
Colonia, Uruguay, South America 086

Colonia, Uruguay, South America 086

Hole in the Door

Hole in the Door

Through a Hole in the Door, another for my series!

Through a Hole in the Door, another for my series!

Where I had Lunch

Where I had Lunch

Open window...

Open window...

Kinda like Cuba

Kinda like Cuba

Tree Lined Avenue

Tree Lined Avenue

Up in the Faro

Up in the Faro

Through the Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass

Buenos Aires across the Way

Buenos Aires across the Way

Old City Gate

Old City Gate

Colonia from above

Colonia from above

Footprint

Footprint

Colonia 2

Colonia 2

Numerous Coats

Numerous Coats

Colonia 1

Colonia 1

Chess Anyone?

Chess Anyone?

Chess anyone? detail

Chess anyone? detail

Faro

Faro

Colonia 4

Colonia 4

Colonia 3

Colonia 3

Torre

Torre

Fishing

Fishing

Colonia

Colonia

Double Old-Timey

Double Old-Timey

Colonia

Colonia

Broken Window

Broken Window

Colonia

Colonia

Colonia

Colonia

At Anchor

At Anchor

Posted by RyRyGoByBy 15:44 Archived in Uruguay Tagged backpacking Comments (8)

I Made It!

I can feel my legs again!


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After approximately 40 hours without sleep 14 hours of which were spent on a plane I arrived in Argentina. My first priority was finding a hotel. The information desk gave me some brochures. Unlike American airports there are no hotels within or around BA's international airport, seems like a hole in the market waiting to be exploited. I picked one of the hotels "near" the airport, and she called them. Within 20 minutes a car came and picked me up to take me to my place of refuge from the last two days. Nicolas, the driver, had recently opened the B&B with his girlfriend on his grandmother's property. The accommodations were not luxurious and not the most comfortable. However Nicolas was friendly and very helpful, so the whole experience was like staying with relatives.

Things I've realized in less than a day into the trip:
1. I wish my bags were lighter.
2. I HATE the money belt.

Morning View from My Room

Morning View from My Room

Posted by RyRyGoByBy 16:00 Archived in Argentina Tagged air_travel Comments (1)

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