09.11.2010 - 14.11.2010
Merry Christmas People!!!
Although it is not accurate to say that Jesus was born on December 25th, this is the time of the year when we remember the arrival of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to this world. So, let's celebrate and open our hearts to let Him fill them with love, peace and hope.
Uruguay is a great place to meet up friendly and well educated people -actually there are no illiterates in the country. A three hour boat ride across Rio de la Plata brought us to Colonia del Sacramento. Portuguese and English architecture, rocky streets, a bohemian atmosphere and a windy-rainy weather gave this little town a nostalgic feel.
It was in Colonia that Jay found out about a meal called Chivito which deceivingly -for Spanish speakers- evokes the thought of a lamb based meal. However, it is beef topped with ham, cheese and fried eggs, accompanied by French fries served on a gigantic plate or with bread as a sort of sandwich. The portion is literally "Texas size," no wonder why It was one of Jay's favorites.
A couple of cool Uruguayan girls we met in Salvador, Brazil invited us to stay with them in Montevideo. We were quite the rowdy crowd out to live it up. These girls took us dancing and for several strolls around the historic city center and greater metro area, to live music pubs and street performances. It was a jolly ol' time with them, being the lovely girls that they are.
One of them, Silvana, also took us on a tour of the local theater -Teatro Solis- and to see a short play which was directed by her. It is amazing how many Uruguayans are into art and intellectual affairs. "We are all over-educated, we all want to be artists or intellectuals of some sort, to the point that there is not enough people to work in the fields" explained Silvana.
Another thing we really enjoyed about Montevideo was the security we felt walking around at night. No worries about getting robbed or jumped. Everything about this capital is pretty laid back. One of the other highlights for us was the excellent food. It has a somewhat meat and steak driven gastronomy (Chivito) similar to Argentina with some small variations.
The wine was also pretty descent, but not as good of a value as in Argentina. Our time in Montevideo also made possible for me -Fiorela- to see old friends. The ones who host me in early 2003. Ale's great sense of humor energized us while Talo instructed us in Uruguayan Soccer history and politics. I loved seeing Alejandro and Talo again, they have not change a bit!
The longer we stayed in Montevideo, the more we liked it. There are so many charming details about Uruguayans... for example, it is common for people to gather on the weekends to play drums on the street, most likely preparing for the Carnival. Candombe is a tradition that comes from the black slaves who used it to communicate, dance and express their religion.
Nowadays whites, indigenous and black Uruguayans of all ages alike walk along the streets playing African drums for hours until their hands bleed. The sounds are so inviting that people sneak out through the windows and even follow the musicians on the street dancing to their tunes.
We left Montevideo wishing we could have stayed longer... Our Swiss friend Oli joined us for the most part but as we arrived in Buenos Aires time had come to say goodbye. He continued South along the coast towards Patagonia and we stay for a few extra days to see more of the lively downtown area, spend time with Monchi and do some shopping. In the next entry we'll tell you about it, also about whale-watching in Patagonia and Mendoza wineries...