If it smells funky, flip it over

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South America » Uruguay » East » Punta del Este
January 17th 2009
Published: September 30th 2017
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Risotta alla Milanesa - blah! The risotto was hard, not creamy as it should have been. I thought that this dish traditionally has pancetta, but found none, only some peas and slivers of red bell pepper. The flavour wasn't too bad, but it just didn't turn out as a risotto should.
Geo: -34.8939, -56.1568

Troubles sleeping (again) ... if somehow, I could magically travel all around the world, but somehow sleep every night in my own bed, in my air-conditioned room ... if only ... it didn't help that my pillow smelled kind of funky. I flipped it over and somewhat luckily, it smelled a tad less funky. I think I rolled into bed around 1:00 AM, only to be awoken by fireworks at 1:30. They were so close that it sounded more like the city was getting shelled by mortars! Once I realized that a war hadn't broken loose, I actually quite enjoyed the show - I had a decent view out the window while lying in my bunk.

I'm still not liking this hostel, but I'm learning to look at the positives - there were the Chilenas hanging around outside last night, the Calgary Cuties, and there were another two hotties sleeping in the bunk below me. Things aren't so bad here, after all!

Off in search of food - got some directions to the nearest grocery store from Sam. They didn't have much selection in the bakery, so I just grabbed some bananas and juice. You couldn't buy just one, so

Some hard little, garlicky buns accompanied it. The best thing about the meal was the Patricia beer, which was light and refreshing. The meal ended up being $15 CAD - still cheap by North American standards, but I slightly regretted not having the $5 BBQ back at the hostel.
I ended up with three - unfortunately, one turned out to be rotten and ended up in the trash, and I ate one on the way back to the hostel, and saved the third for later.

There's a group of Argentineans staying at the hostel, so I got in some Spanish practice. The Calgary Cuties later joined us, and one of the Argentineans, a surfer dude, lamented to me that he wished he could speak English so that he could talk to them! I hear you brother, that's why I learned Spanish - I got tired of only drooling over the women my first time in Spain, so learning Spanish meant I could talk to them AND drool, all at the same time!

The Calgary Cuties were off to the beach, and I managed to sneak along. Kinda funny and kinda cute - they don't have a window in their room, so they didn't know what the heck was happening when the fireworks started last night, and were pretty scared. I imagined them cuddling together under the sheets, fearful for their lives, hoping someone would come save them ... if only I had been there to comfort and tell them everything

Some festival was wrapping up this evening at Plaza Artigas.
would be alright 😊

I had originally wanted to go to Bikini Beach, famous for its lovely scenery, but the Calgary Cuties wanted to go to the quieter side - normally, I would have been quite disappointed, but was quite happy to hang out with these two instead. Not only are they cute, but they're nice and fun to be around.

In the mood for some coffee before the beach, we stopped at a little cafe and had some pretty bad cappuccinos, served with chocolate and cinnamon. I noticed on the menu that they serve a coffee drink called a Lagrima, which means tear drop - loving the name, I enquired as to exactly what it was. It's coffee with just a bit of milk, a tear drop's worth, if you will.

Running low on cash, I put it on my credit card and was surprised that there wasn't an extra service charge. They say it's quite common in Argentina to charge customers extra for using a credit card, because tax evasion is a bit of a national past time, which is of course only possible with cash transactions. They also joke that Uruguay might as well be a part of Argentina, so I expected them to treat credit cards the same way.

The Calgary Cuties told me some pretty funny tales of the creepy hostel workers. We get the feeling that the owners are just horny dudes who only opened the place so they could party, and try and hook up with foreign tourist girls. In fact, I don't know if many of them are actually workers, or just friends of the owners who are trying to cash in on the situation.

Since their arrival the other day, the Calgary Cuties have been fighting off the hostel dudes. At first, they offered to take the girls around and they accepted, but the guys became quite creepy and overly touchy-feely. The girls managed to ditch them in town but of course, had to deal with it all over again once they returned for the evening.

They've tried hiding in their private room, but I guess they guys would just walk into their room, asking if they wanted to do stuff. The Calgary Cuties asked for the key to their room, but were told that they didn't have one handy, and a copy had to be made ... yeah, sure ... The girls regretted pre-booking and pre-paying for a one-week stay at the hostel, and are considering asking for their money back and finding another hostel.

It's a strange place - last night, Colin told me about the hostel's "security". Colin was told that if he was the last person out, he was to take the lone house key, lock the back door from the inside, climb out the window, close the window behind him, and hide the key under a rock. You can't make this stuff up!

Over at the beach - wanting an umbrella and some lounge chairs, I approached an attendant and asked how much the rental fee was. He told me that they were for hotel guests only, and told me to talk to another attendant about 50 meters away. But then he noticed I was with the Calgary Cuties, and he ran over to the other guy and hooked us up with some chairs. There are definite benefits to hanging out with these two girls!

It was a fun, lazy day - reading, chilling, and chatting. I regretted having poorly planned my final few days in South America - I need to return to BA tomorrow so that I can catch a flight to Iguazu falls the day after. Had I not booked that flight, I would've stayed in Punta del Este a bit longer to get to know these girls better, but such is fate 😞

Sara and Sam have been friends for ages, and it sounds like they've had this trip planned for a long time. Sam's been working at a pub in Eau Claire for a while, and talked of returning to school to become a veterinarian's assistant, but was finding it hard to walk away from the tip money, especially good during the past few boom years.

Sara's also got a pretty bad case of the travel bug - she's planning on picking up a second job at Earl's, in addition to her work as a substitute teacher. I think the Calgary Board of Education should reconsider their hiring policies, because I can't imagine any of the male students doing well - it's too distracting having a hottie teacher like that!

Anyway, her goal is to work hard for about a year, then take off on a round-the-world trip for 6-8 months next spring/summer. Hearing about my travels through Europe, she picked my brain for a bit, about potential places to visit. Croatia came up - apparently, her sister-in-law (if I remember correctly) comes from some rich Croatian family that actually owns a small village there. Sounds like she'll have some beautiful house or villa to stay in while she's there. Hmmm ... perhaps she'll need a tour guide who is well-traveled through Europe ... time to start sprucing up my resume ...

The girls are funny - their lunches have consisted of peanut butter and crackers, so that they could keep costs down, but still have enough money to have a decent dinner every night. It's actually a great strategy that I've employed frequently in the past - but I usually mix it up a bit, and I think they'll soon be quite tired of eating peanut butter.

My lunch ended up being some crappy empanadas - crunchy, hard, bad ... the beef filling was terrible. It just happened that a lady came by with a basket full at the exact moment that I was starving, and was about to get up and go look for something to eat.

We all had strange tan lines and were trying to even them out, but then it got too hot, so we all crammed underneath our tiny little umbrella. And then it rained - hard, and we were all soon shivering. The direction of the wind meant that I got the worst of it - Sara laughed at the sight of me getting soaked. I told her not to, because I was blocking most of it and keeping them both dry!

Come mid-afternoon, we grew tired of the sun and the beach, and headed back to the hostel - but not without a stop at a gelato shop that the Calgary Cuties had earlier been raving about. Chocolate, almond, and panna cotta ... the panna cotta was blah, but the chocolate rocked. They also offered a nice selection of toppings - the strawberries and coconut shavings were perfect complements.

I grabbed a shower back at the hostel, and tried having a nap, but it was way too hot in my room. I thought I'd go outside and nap in a hammock, but it was soaked, so I just ended up reading and writing in my journal. The Calgary Cuties were getting ready to go out, but another girl (not sure if she was a guest, or friend of the hostel owners) asked if she could quickly use the bathroom before they did.

Sam only needed to use the bathroom for about five minutes, but decided to let her go ahead. Well, she ended up being in there for 30 minutes! And the kicker - Sam had left her hair brush and brand new toothbrush inside. When she finally got in there, she found blonde hairs all over her brush (Sam's a brunette), and her toothbrush had been used!!! WTF?!??!?!? That is just nasty!

There was a cheap BBQ planned at the hostel (about $5 CAD), but I was getting hungry and didn't want to wait until 10 PM to eat dinner, so I went off on my own. I had hoped to tag along with the Calgary Cuties, but they appeared to want some time on their own, and I figured they had already had their fill of creepy hostel guys.

I wandered around town, but didn't find any great dinner options, so I decided to go with something cheap. Unfortunately, the one cheap place that looked decent didn't accept credit cards. It started to rain again, so I quickly grabbed an outdoor, but covered seat, at Don Pascual.

After a mediocre meal, it was back to the hostel - I hoped to find the Calgary Cuties and exchange emails, but they were nowhere to be found. Perhaps I will try tomorrow morning, since it sounds like they get up early to go running. The one good thing about the hostel owners is that they always try and involve you, whether it's with the BBQ, or just hanging out in the backyard.

Despite its flaws, it's actually a pretty fun, social hostel. Unfortunately, after coming off an organized tour, I just want some time to myself. I don't think the owners understand why I'm always reading or chilling out on my own, especially when there are hot Chilenas to hang out with. Come to think of it ... I can't understand why I didn't want to hang out with them, either!


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