La Pedrera

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South America » Uruguay » East » Rocha
January 21st 2012
Published: February 18th 2012
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1-21-12 Saturday

The ride to La Pedrera was long and flat… quite literally. There are very few hills in Uruguay, especially in the south. As you ride along the highway, (a two lane road with a few stop signs) you can see as far as the eyes can wander. There are small “hills” in the distance that look as though they could be comparable to Connecticut's own, but our mind must have played tricks on us for the reality is they are very close and very small. Randomly speckled along the highway are fields filled with antique cars. through my eyes it seems as though the cars outlive the people here. It isn’t odd to see multiple vintage VW buses and bugs drive down the street, along with old ford trucks and tons of fiats older than the combined age of us four girls in packed in our car. They are rusted and look like they are on their last leg but if they drive then it’s all good around here. We are heading to the beach for some fun before the harvest.

There seems to be no concept of time here… it is actually really tough to grasp what time of the day it is. The sun rises at 6am and it is light until well after 9:30 – 10pm. The only way to realize that it is noon is that everyone is headed back to his or her houses for the siesta. The sun isn’t even in the middle of the sky by noon. Everything is ambiguous here, questions aren’t ever really answered with a complete sentence, as though no one really knows. It is frustrating but at the same time kind of exhilarating. I am never really sure as to what we are doing or how we are doing it, slowing me down and forcing me to enjoy the moment even more. That is the thing about us Americans, we always need to know what and how and who and when.. and when we don’t have answers we are anxious to what will happen. Maybe not knowing the time helps with that anxiousness.

We drove to a little beach town with no reservations, being that it was only 3 hours away it wasn’t a huge deal… But this was the Argentinian holiday so every hostel that we stopped at was full and we were looking for enough space for 7 girls. This is a huge feet for a place that is so laid back. We kept getting an answer of check back later maybe someone will leave, which it seemed like everyone was coming or going because the street was filled with young people with traveling gear getting off and on buses. Forced to take everyone’s advice, we went to the beach, after a few hours in the sun, we decided that it was time for lunch and some shade.

A small little café with a great energy of well-traveled people, conversation and a little house music to set the soundtrack seemed like the perfect place for our siesta. A spot in the shade was refreshing from the heat of the beach ( . I chose a salad of quinoa, chickpeas and olives, which was lite and just what I needed. I love to watch the people coming and going from a little place like this. It seems like a fun little spot to spend the afternoon and just sit and take everything in. the roof was filled with Tibetan prayer flags swaying gently in the breeze and although the sun fades them they pop against the bright red building.

The beach is littered with people and mate. It seems crazy to me to bring a hot drink to the beach but here it is very much acceptable, in fact it is crazy if you don’t have it. By 6 the breeze seems to kick in and the temperature cools moderately. We went to a different beach after lunch; this one was on the opposite side of the town and is surrounded by rock cliff faces that overlook the ocean. There are umbrellas made of palm trees that line the beach with hammocks underneath... oh what I would do for one of those for the day. This is defiantly my kind of place, the main street is lined with bars and restaurants and the beach is where you would fine your jewelry and other goods for sale. The people who are traveling through La Pedrera sell all kinds of goods to make their way to the next beach town by bus. There are some really beautiful pieces. This one guy even made scorpion statues out of crystals and other stones. I chatted with a few Argentineans while lying on the beach. They asked what is there to do in the evening but their guess was just as good as mine. We received word that there may be a place for us all to lay our heads tonight we went to investigate this “open” hostel. The place was just off the main road and had a hand engraved sign with Atelier on it. This was the home of an artist, who just happened to build a few extra rooms and put some bunk beds in them. It was beautiful property with all kinds of small sculptures hidden about the trees and flowers. In the center of the yard was a pool and surrounding it a large grill and open kitchen. Sitting at a picnic table in the yard was two Argentineans guys and a woman; she proceeded to say that there were 5 beds available and a tent that slept two, along with three bathrooms… since I speak very limited Spanish I left this to Francisco’s daughters to make a deal. The owner Richard was to return in an hour and the beds were ours if we wanted them. We took it. I don’t believe that the bathrooms would qualify as bathrooms in the states, neither would the bedrooms, but there were four concrete walls, a door, light and running water… I was happy.

Around 10pm we decided that it was time for dinner… I am not sure who exactly decided but it seemed as though it would be too much to buy meat for the grill and through it on for everyone, so ham sandwiches where the dinner of choice. We walked to the store... it was a crowded mess, with items strewn across the isles, people pushing pass you and the line for the register and the line for the deli was tough to interpret exactly where or which way it should go, although it was on opposite ends of the store. We spent more money on bottles of rum than food and returned to the house for dinner. We started the evening with card games and our rum and cokes. We were quite the mixture of girls. One from Poland, Two Americans, One Argentinian and Three Uruguayans, luckily enough the language was an issue the majority of us lived in the states at one point or another… Names on the other hand were a lot more difficult to remember and pronounce. By the time the others staying in the hostel started to return and the guitar playing commenced we noticed that it was 1 am and time to adventure into town.

Surprisingly at 2 am the streets are dead. It was explained that everyone decides to go out around 3am so we were early. We choose a bar that seemed to be busy and decided to stay there for the remainder of the evening. When we entered we were held at the door because Cecelia didn’t have her ID with her (although she looks older than 22, which she is) and after about a minute they decided to let us all in. This seemed odd to me because once we got into the club it seemed as though there were a lot of really young people there… like 15 or 16. The music was nothing that I expected, it switched from top forties to Michael Jackson then Elvis and finally salsa to add to the mix, the DJ would play the whole song and randomly switch genres. There were two bars, one in the front and one in the back, and the remainder of the club was outside. In ½ an hour the place was packed. We danced in our little international corner and ordered beers, which only was served in forties. One of the girls we were with knew some people at the club so our group grew and we danced until 6am. There were some really cool people to chat with there. Earlier I asked if Yoga was as big of a practice here as it was in the states, I was told that it wasn’t very popular but there are a few places in the city that had some spaces. In our new larger group there was an Argentinian who was spending the summer in La Pedrera and teaching Yoga at a hostel on the beach, just like about every yogi out there, we both loved Bob Marley and although the language barrier was difficult we found a lot to talk about while the DJ went through his Beach Boys phase. It’s funny that the Uruguayans hate the Argentinians and the Argentinians love to come to Uruguay for prolonged periods of time. It’s a silly seesaw that they play. By 6 am the sun was starting to appear and since the Club was located right next to a church and it was now Sunday Morning it seemed time to return to our hostel, although the other people at the club were no where ready to return. We hit or beds and slept until 11.


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