Uruguay belongs to a kinder gentler era (remember George Bush without the ‘W’?) when the middle class worked diligently to improve their conditions little by little and poverty was a condition of circumstance, not a social class to be forgotten or exploited. Some things are the same as in Argentina of course- 10am check-out time at hotels (wake up early!), the highest rate of baldness to be found in
Prices seem a bit lower in
But there are plenty of fancy places too, almost like Buenos Aires, including a traditional market entirely converted to that use (pic #4). Those places are presumably of international standard, though obviously heavily invested in the beef industry. It’s a bit tough for a semi-vegetarian like my self. I hear the wines are good, but I don’t drink alone anymore, and if you thought
There’s an old central core to the city which is surrounded by water on three sides, but struggling to make the transition to the modern era. Truth be told, somebody should have thought of that at least fifty years ago, before ugly 60’s construction moved in, including the ugliest building I’ve ever seen, right on the edge of a lovely central plaza. I don’t usually revel in ugliness, but this mother’s ugly (pic #2)! Still old town has some parts worth saving and, if realtors’ ads are to be believed, prices are not cheap considering its current mostly dilapidated state, like U$100K for a flat that needs total refurb. Ouch! And this is in a country that demonstrates in the street for a raise in the minimum wage to the equivalent of U$400 per month. It’s all psychological. There’s a sizeable Jewish presence in this part of the world, too, in addition to the well-documented German one.
So by some quirk of fate there just happens to be a ‘percussion festival’ going on this weekend in
If I had more time, I might hang out for a while in MV, long enough to find a favorite café and bar and maybe a cheap hotel with wi-fi too. That’s crucial. People laugh at my insistence on cheap hotels, but there’s more than money at stake here. It’s part of an ethic, my own if not of backpackers, to see life as lived by regular people, not fancy tourists with their money and their cocaine... well, okay, maybe a little. But as it is there are other wild cards still to play. If they fall through, I can always come back here. The first wild card for this trip was
This particular going to extremes should be especially significant, because that’s where I plan to vote in the