Monday, February 13, 2006

Uruguay (2 days)

We decided to go to Uruguay. This involved a ferry ride from Buenos Aires- most everyone had small day packs for their afternoon over at quaint Colonia del Sacramento. Since we decided to head north from this point, we had a lot of gear with us (our full packs) and were pretty obvious! Once there, found a hostel and bought tickets for the next day┬┤s bus ride. We were soon to discover that the buses in South America leave between 5 and 6am typically- yikes. Colonia wonderful- a UNESCO preserved site, a treat for photographers, quiet, clean, opposite of Buenos Aires, got to clean out our lungs here. Spent afternoon wandering around cute little cobblestone streets and exploring little shops.

Next day, we get on bus to head north through Uruguay... Go through lots of small towns, witness much Mate being drunk. Yerba mate involves a small gourd-like cup with silver straw sticking out in one hand and a thermos under one arm to refill Mate cup over and over again. See Mate on scooters (and people complain about cell phone in cars at home!), Mate in meat deli section of supermarcados, Mate with border guards, Mate with women on their front lawns... absolutely everywhere-fanatical about it! Everyone has Mate and a thermos, everyone! National obsession. As Uruguay even less financially well-off than Argentina, we seem to get lots of looks from locals- guess just curiousity. Final stop Paysandu, where we get lunch. Now getting quite tired of food in South America- involves ham and cheese between two slices of bread, or salty quiche, or (for lunch anyway)... hate to diss it, but having a hard time finding easily accessible and tasty food down here. Absolutely wonderful cemetary close to the bus terminal, quite a refreshing surprise on our wait for the bus. Palm trees, calm atmosphere, friendly worker in cementary, beautiful mausoleums. Wish had more time in Uruguay, have heard great things about Punta Del Diablo, but decide against long bus ride there in favour of heading north to our Iguazu Falls destination, next to Brazil.


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