Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Montevideo, Uruguay: 3 days turned to 10

I left Buenos Aires on a massive ferry (possible the biggest catamaran that I have ever seen). I soon arrived in the city on Colonia, Uruguay. My sleeping bag was missing from the baggage train. After talking to the baggage staff it was established that my sleeping bag loved Buenos Aires and decided to stay longer. They assured me they would send it the Montevideo the following day. So I jumped on a bus to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay.

Uruguay is a country I new very little about except for Australia beating them to qualify for the 2006 world cup, it is expensive and I can take USD from the ATMs (very important for going back to Argentina). The population is 3 million with 2 million in Montevideo.

When the bus arrived in Montevideo 2 guys holding shotguns outside of a bank caught my eye. The guards always work in teams of 4 in Uruguay, 2 with shotguns that stand guard and 2 that get the cash with handguns holstered... Uruguay is actually a very safe country.

And they love statues of dudes on horses.

I walked to my hostel that was recommended to me by a girl from CS, Mar (Sea in Spanish). After checking in having dinner and mingling Mar came to the hostel with her friends to drink out the back. She introduced to a drink Grapper Miel (Miel is honey in Spanish), it is drunk straight and a must try in Uruguay.

Soon we were walking down the street passing around 1 litre bottles of beer before 4 of us squeezed into the back seat of a car that I assume were 2 of Mar's friends in the front. It was a squishy ride and my lap was a seat for a girl I just met.

We soon arrived at a bar. In Uruguay people buy the drinks in the bar but the party is outside on the street and sidewalk. I was soon handed a drink of Fernet (an Argentinean/Italian spirit) by some randoms in another group I got talking to. It's a spirit everyone told me to try in Argentina but it never happened. It was immediately apparent that Uruguyans are incredibly friendly and talkative. I ended up mixing with many people before leaving with Mar and her friends to another bar and then back to the hostel for bed incredibly drunk... This was my introduction to Uruguay.

The next few days involved more parties, meeting many new people, reuniting with my sleeping bag and playing soccer. On the Sunday I also went to the biggest street(s) market I have seen in my life, it literally sold anything you could think of, covering around 10 or so blocks. I also spent one day taking photos.

Somehow I end up spending 2 night in the 2nd top floor of the tower.



After 5 days in the hostel I was off to meet my CS host, Hailey, an American girl. She lived in the 21st (3rd top) floor of the building I was snapping photos of the day before. She is an awesome girl that has done a lot of travelling and living in other countries.

The first night involved dinner at Hailey's place with her friends and her boyfriend. We ended up pretty drunk and somehow I ended up with a brand new toothbrush. The next day involved exploring and taking more photos, before inviting a Canadian guy I met through Mar, Brendan, to come play soccer with my hostel friends and I. The night was capped of with an asado (BBQ) and drinks at one of Hailey's friend's places.

The famous port or Star Wars?

From the window of Hailey's place

The next day I was off to Brendan's place for a few days. Brendan had actually lived in Brisbane for a year, small world. He hooked me up with a free ticket to the South American version of UEFA. We had a Canadian taxi driver on the way to the match and an Australian on the way home... we couldn't believe it. The Uruguyan team also beat the Colombian team.

Brendan lived in the beach neighbourhood so the next day I went off exploring the beaches. I saw a group of people slacklining on the beach so I thought I'd better go say hola. One of the girls, Fio, spoke good English so I spent the next couple of hours slacklining and talking to them.

A Capital City on the Beach!

Fio and su amiga

That night Brendan and I started drinking roadies before making our way to Hailey's place (apparently everybody knows everybody in Montevideo). After more drinks we were off to go to watch Mar sing with her band in a bar, all the people from the hostel I stayed at happened to be there as well. Mar has an incredible voice and sings soul music... another big night.

The couple of days just involved chilling out, drinking many mates (kind of like tea) and failing in getting the stoners I  the hostel to play more soccer. I also met a few more people.

After 4 nights at Brendan's and 11 nights in Montevideo it was time to head back to Argentina.

Next stop Buenos Aires!

Lessons Learnt:
Uruguayos are incredible friendly.
You can see Montevideo in a day but the people will make you stay longer.
Couchsurfing is awesome.
Mate is everywhere in Uruguay,  everyone has a furness under their arm.
Restaurants are expensive but street food is cheap and good.

If anyone wants some funny Spanish reading then Mar writes a blog (Anti-Novia = Anti-Girlfriend)

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