2. Oct, 2015

Colonia - a brief encounter

Off to Uruguay. When we came to Argentina last time we agreed that we would make an effort to go to Uruguay and we were so glad we did, definitely worth a visit and certainly a country I would like to get to know better.

Colonia is a pretty quiet village on the River Plat. Colonial in design with several jewellery sellers in situ. We buy some bracelets and move on to a cafe. Wine in the spring sunshine. What a treat. 

We marvelled at the 360 tour of scenes from Uruguay in the quayside museum as it whirled around us like a crazed dance. It really did whet the appetite and made me wonder why is Uruguay famed for one thing and that is that people biting animal Suarez! It looked and felt like a wonderful country and one I would like to get to know better. If it is anything like Argentina I know I would love it. Unknown and untapped. There are stil some places like that in Europe but you have to rely on word of mouth to get to know them or go exploring for days on end. I remember the first time I stumbled across Strasbourg and many others and I thought why has no one  told me about this.  Germany is another country I think that has much untapped beauty, although I am sure it has changed a lot since I last visited  there in 1991. 

We walked casually around the little town taking in all it had to offer. The photos and video speak for themselves. A beautiful encounter in a beautiful colonial town and we managed to get some dollars. 

The duty free on the bateau was crammed, people squeezed past each other with fists full of dollars, bargains and dreams in their hands including me. The drink and perfume that we had earlier left in a taxi was purchased again bigger and better  it felt like I was metaphorically  rebuilding my empire. I will not let one mishap defeat me once - I will do it again and again! 

By the end of our trip to Uruguay I think we must have walked 250 miles and queued or waited for planes, ATMs, boats etc for for 48.3 hours and we had travelled by boat, trains, taxis, bicycles, jeeps, motorbikes, golf carts, cars, cable cars, trolley bus, planes of all kinds, catamaran, horse, bus, horse and  carriage and mostly by our feet. We were soon to experience other types of transport in South Africa but these were yet unknown. But all to experience a piece of this giant complicated riddle called world.

On the return boat a man in the same seat plays Spanish guitar music really loudly on his phone sharing the wonderful experience with his adjacent friend, much to annoyance of the other passengers. Previously in the same seat a man had spent an hour snorting, wiping his nose with his hands and chewing gum with his mouth open. Yes I do not have to watch but etiquette gentlemen please.

A man adjacent to me clearly has something like restless leg syndrome. He was previously reading the book El Cuento Argentina 1930-1959,  and now is seen jumping up and down. I am unsure if he wants to go past me or wants to release his symptoms or he just wants to survey the people. Is he another who arrived in Uruguay this morning to get dollars? What will do with them? What did he have to do to get them? We imagine answers to questions like these all the time and imagine stories around these real characters.

The day before we were in the Monet Cafe and a couple of lovely old ladies came in 

'Donald, can we have our usual seats? We imagined them saying before they had even settled after coming through the door. 'Oh I am sorry Deirdre and Olive, they are taken today.' He will say as he nods discreetly in our direction. 'What did you say Donald? Did we hear you right? You have given our seats of 35 years to these good for nothing gringoes. We will have to see about that!' They say as they wag their walking sticks at us and waddle purposefully towards us. Obviously they speak perfect English with a slight Spanish accent! 

The stories continue as we disembark from the boat. A man, who looks and dresses remarkably like my son from behind including the adorning of a large black baseball cap definitely has several stories - he is screaming them out. No one dresses like a rapper in South America unless they are one. He hasn't even opened his mouth and he has used  3 words - 'Pussy, Drugs, Money' are emblazoned vertically in silver writing on the front of his hat. I gasp silently on reading this, if that is indeed possible. He drops off his hold-all onto the security conveyer belt,  which is supposed to check for illegal items etc. However, with 400+ passengers disembarking simultaneously and all throwing their bags onto the belt  Mr hold-all  goes through without a hitch,  my bag is through, as are the other 20 passengers'  bags as they all clash together in one heap. What is the point? I think is the phrase we used.  This practice clearly overwhelms the guards as the warning lights and alarms go off. Their only tactic to avoid a potential security breech and to satisfy 'da management's rules' is to stop everyone who is carrying/pulling a hard plastic suitcase. However, one passenger becomes irate as his elderly mother is stopped and her bags searched -  really?  He is immediately surrounded by 6 or 7 armed guards wearing uniforms of different kinds as he continues to shout abuse at them whilst comforting his mother. Mr. Hold-all is off through the doors and enroute to revel with the best of them.  I know we shouldn't stereotype, but we have just come from a country where several drugs including cannabis are legal and dollars are easily available, so shouldn't   'Pussy, Drugs, Money' be searched?!