"Argentina 2002-03" story # 15

Montevideo, Uruguay           April 3, 2003

Epa!!! Mis hermanos, it┤s been three weeks since I last gave a cheek-kiss to a guy upon greeting him. In other words, it┤s been three weeks since I took off from Argentina.
     I stopped next in Uruguay. Uruguay - I┤m not going to lie to you - is rather lacking in exciting attractions. A bit boring, it is. But, I did have a week to see how the people live. the excitement┤s building ...
     And when I see how people live, we can all deduce - based on the relative theory discovered by Modbert Einoddyseustein - that excitement will be equivocated. A simple formula: seeing how people live + the speed of light = MODERN ODDYSEUS┤ TOP 5!!! And nothing with so many exclamation marks could possibly not be exciting.
     To achieve proper setting, brush up on your quick Uruguay facts ...
     capital: Montevideo (1.5 million people there)
     arquitecture: beautiful, old. Montevideo has lots of big, smooth and white buildings with Greek-style pillars and tall doors leading from every floor to small balconies.
     things you see lots of on the streets: horses and little, old ladies. the little, old ladies are so numerous you┤d think there was a slow-paced escape at the old folks┤ home. if you consider lots of little, old ladies an exciting attraction, then you should come to Uruguay. you don┤t see too many of the little, old ladies on the horses, though.
     poor/rich?: about like Argentina
     people┤s looks: females are light-skinned and dark-haired, but less radiant as in Argentina and with more cases of awkward-looking, blonde-dyed hair. the guys are short, darker-skinned, and with shaved heads or short hair.
     where/what the heck is a Uruguay!?: a country, stealing some of the Atlantic coastline between Argentina and Brazil
     There. Now that you┤re informed, Let the excitement commence!
     To get the Uruguay ball rolling, The Top 5 Best Things About Uruguay! (ooh my, all these exclamation marks are making me dizzy)

Unfortunately, I spent nearly all of my week in Uruguay in the big city, Montevideo, because I had to await my visa that the Brazilian embassy had to give me.
     But, what really impressed me about Uruguay was the attractive green-ness of its rural countryside. There were grassy hils, bright trees, and plains of pasture that seemed to sweep all through the country┤s interior. Farmers and ranch-owners made peaceful homes through here. If I were to have picked my ultimate Uruguay travel fantasy, it would have been to hitchhike around Uruguay┤s countryside, meeting the people and possibly looking to do some hardy farm labor.

Uruguayans like to spend their time hanging out with friends, even if they don┤t have money to spend. Thus, the city and town plazas are always full of people sitting and talking on park benches, or standing around and laughing.
     Montevideo has a beautiful sidewalk stretch that goes for five kilometers along the ocean. It┤s called "La Rambla, and it welcomes people, but no buildings are allowed. Bikini┤d girls take sun onthe beach, footballers play soccer beneath the trees of adjacent Rodˇ Park, well-built couples job on the sidewalk, and groups of friends sit on the La Rambla wall, taking "mate."

If you┤ve got a hunkering for meat in Uruguay, you┤re never far from a street meat-vendor. You can have a hot dog, a hamburger, or a "chorizo" sandwich (like a sirloin sausage link) cooked up, and they┤re all cheap and delicious. Mmm, chorizo.

The Uruguayans are much more hooked on the mate (the hot water and herbs drink) than the Argentinans. In shopping malls, on the streets, and at work, the Uruguayans - even while alone - embrace their hot water thermoses and mate cups to their bodies as if carrying babies. It┤s cool to see people so excited about such a simple!!! thing!!!
     Mmm, mate.

In their spare time, Montevideonecians I met acted in or directed plays, learned to dance tango, and salsa-danced as good as latinos anywhere. Even feeble amateurs, like me, could put on a show and dance with a partner to the tango music that invited crowds of passersby to the city plazas.
     Museums, too, were plentiful and free. The Contemporary Art Museum was full of crazy, wacky-thinking paintings and sculptures that made your brain hurt to try to understand. Contemporary art is too cool. I could┤ve spent an hour there with each painting, trying to figure out what in the world each artist was thinking when he made something so weird.
     Then, in the Museum of Pre-Colombian Art, I saw the eroding, black skeleton of an Egyptian mummy, enough statues of naked Greek gods to get my fill, and a ten-foot rock gorilla head sculpted by the Aztecs. The rock gorilla head had a force of attraction about it so strong that I almost couldn┤t pull myself away. I┤d never seen such a magnificent, purpose-less thing. I wanted to hug it, climb on it, worship it, and sacrifice bananas to it. I felt like I should put my life in its hands and let the rock gorilla head guide me.

The rock gorilla head told me to tell you guys that┤s enough positive Uruguay information for today, except that HONORABLE MENTION is the ARQUITECTURE. An enchanting small town called Colonia had colonial-style houses that fit around you like a peaceful cradle, with white-tree-lined streets reached only by privileged bits of sun.
     And now, pound your forest fists against your gorilla chest, because it┤s time for: The Top 5 Worst Things About Uruguay!

Uruguay, like Argentina, is suffering a crisis. There┤s not much work available around town. So, each year, large percentages of the population give up on their country and head to the U.S.A. or other countries for work. Uruguayans are pretty disappointed in their government, too.


This comes from a quote I read in a newspaper article. Apparently, the workers of Uruguay used to have good medical care and were better-take-of in the past. But, now, they can┤t even afford to go to the dentist.

Uruguay┤s history can be summed up by: "A guy on a horse." Any more information on the subject would put you to sleep.

I went out to one upper-scale nightclub. In this place, efforts were made to make the place fancy, the menu expensive, and the women dressed- and made-up. But, they forgot to make the place fun, and the people didn┤t have anything interesting to say.

Whoa! The rock gorilla head says I got a little too critical in that last part.
     Sorry, rock gorilla head.
     "Rarrr!!!" angrily.
     The rock gorilla head says I have to go now.
     Leaving Uruguay. An okay place to live, maybe; but, a slightly boring place to visit.
     Brazil!!!!!!!!! awaits!

- Modern Oddyseus

go to the previous story                                                                                   go to the next story

J. Breen's modern-o.com