The Pear-shaped Puzzle


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South America » Uruguay » West » Colonia del Sacramento
December 2nd 2005
Published: December 21st 2005
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Baby it Hearse So BadBaby it Hearse So BadBaby it Hearse So Bad

Massive 1930´s Carved Wooden Hearse...and the dust makes it even spookier
And in this section we cross the Foz, ride thru´a bit of don´t-cry-for-me-land, have a run-in with the cops, and win!, make the easiest frontier yet, discover another hidden treasure in Uraguay, choose the Devil over Eden, and more....
I was riding along this morning just contemplating some of the perfect pear-shaped bottoms I´d seen in Copercobana and Ipanema, in fact on nearly all the beaches, but in Brasil they are special....and I was wondering who was the unimaginative jerk, locked in some dingy office, riding his overneat desk thru´his boring life and came up with the sicko idea of describing something that has failed as Pear-shaped!...unbelievable...why not brick-shaped, or cuboid or flat or passionfruit-shaped..pears are so perfect, and in relation to body parts, absolutely perfect...if I was working on a project and it turned pear-shaped I´d be stoked....anyway...there´s another 20 kms gone by.....
so we saw the foz from the other side, where they are really cataratas, or saltos again...then off to the south...stopped at a town called Posadas...odd...posadas are sort of hotels...so, a town called "hotels"?
Now we´re getting into the wide brown..v flat and constant wind...for those who don´t ride, its unreal how much affect the wind has...not
Outboard Powered FerryOutboard Powered FerryOutboard Powered Ferry

Some small ferry on the coast road to Diablo?
just slowing you down, but the buffeting constantly rocks the bike across the road...and remember this is a 400+kgs package!....also, its soo much harder holding your head steady and inevitably end up with a stiff neck after a day in the wind...and deaf as well...how come it all gets so much louder?..it really is a pain....
So we crossed over into Uraguay...the frontier was soo cool...one building with one counter...Argy Imigration/Uraguay Im/Argy cutoms/Ury customs...and we were in...like 25 minutes...couldn´t believe it!...and so into Salto...yes a town called "waterfall"..and just incredibly noice..tree-lined streets, small city and just really laid-back..lots of friendly people..we had feared some retaliation over the futbol and the world cup knockout, especially after reading about the reception the team got in Montevideo...but everyone we met was OK, some made mock threats but then always cracked up and laughed...I was told that after all the sh*t they´ve been thru´futbol is just a game!..one guy told me ..well, you can´t eat futbol!..claro!..
So, Uraguay, what a hidden treasure..in the league of Venezuela as far as secret places go...rolling thru the broad acres..it is soo much like Oz..wheat fields, gum trees, hydangeas, bracken, daisies, geraniums, roses, agapanthi(?)...like nearly every farm in
Finally found the turn-offFinally found the turn-offFinally found the turn-off

Yet another bit of the Devil
Oz, at least it was 50 years ago!...rows of agapanthus all up the driveways..just where are we?..western district cattle country?.....along the highways, and good quality too!...not much traffic.....and all friendly and polite...
Occasionaly pass or get passed by a big glistening tinted windowed benz or audi...a reminder that there is another level...always!!...
Off to the sides its like parkland...mown grass verges with clumps of beautiful big eucalypts...I feel like just rolling off the road and having a lie-down on the grass...and every little town, coffee breaks and chats with the locals...one little stop and withing a couple of minutes the locals are all over us with various degrees of broken english and my broken español...one little guy, a bit retarded, disappears to get his guitar...the owner keeps stalling with our bill as we want to keep moving but he´s dicking around. ignoring us..then the kid comes back and we have to sit thru´a song and dance routine...but then he starts playing his guitar and singing..its just outstanding..I mean professional quality...really intricate playing and this major voice...we´re blown away...but have to leave anyway!!
After previous disappointments I didn´t look for a pasta shop in Canelones, pastry in the Pampas and missed
House Boat?House Boat?House Boat?

Some great cruise liner above the beach...
the local Blockies in Montevideo....
Its all starting to be more New Zealand...beautiful, green, laid-back but hardworking people, friendly and hospitable..and, speaking of NZ...saw my first sheep...whoo hoo...altho´it was a bit of a scruff, badly shorn and even blind kiwi freddy wouldn´t call it attractive but things picked up as we fled south and east across the country...rich grazing land with cattle, horses and sheep all together..is that unusual?..can´t recall seeing them all together anywhere else....and this is still serious horse country..whooa...lots of gauchos and the whole gaucho culture..more on that later maybe..but really superb looking horses....
Mate....maaaate...no, Maté ..its supposed to be the great drink of Argentina but here it is a serious addiction..or security blanket or something alse...maté is a tea-like drink..you have a mug stuffed full of what looks like grass clippings and you pour boiling water over it and suck it up thru´a tin straw with a filter on the bottom...everyone has one...they carry them around like seppos with their coffee buckets....and you have the thermos under your arm to keep topping it up..all day, every day...kids just out of school, old people, lovers in the park, business suits....car drivers..it all too weird..must be something in
Restaurant on the rocksRestaurant on the rocksRestaurant on the rocks

Punta del Diablo
it!!...tried it myself and nothing happened as many dope smokers claim too...I´m tipping its more psychological than physically addictive...like all addictions?....oh, don´t go there......and the set-up ranges according to how much you pay!!...from pretty basic to silver service...some of the touristy ones are bizzarro...
I saw a huge guy with a maté cup made from a cow´s hoof...I decided against introducing him to rhyming slang!!...and its quite a sharing thing as well...couples share their cup. a group of blokes hanging around the market or just on the street will be offering another one a hit..very social thing as well....
I think maybe also that altho´its an Argentinian thing its been embraced here so thoroughly...... like many of the people in colonies take on the features and practices of the old country with such a fervour they overcompensate and it becomes almost a caricature of the original....
Signs: I really wanted to stay in one town we went thru´...on the skirts, a few kms out of town, a brightly painted but derelect brick and thatch building with a fabulous neon sign "Whiskeria - Dance-Bar-Club" the sign was fantastic...huge. neon, brand new....seemed completely out of proportion to the building!
In another little
Houses on the sandHouses on the sandHouses on the sand

Punta del Diablo
town, down one of the many wrong turns we took I saw a broken down shack with a scrabby sign, hand painted by a semi-literate, advertising "fashion and design"...and underneath "international quality"...it was just so ludicrous I had to crack up.....and then I have to wonder...maybe they did have experience...maybe a local Dior...but I don´t think so...
We hit the coast...the shitty grey green windswept atlantic...reminds me of how much I prefer the pacific..the atlantic nearly always looks cold and grey...probably didn´t help that it was pissing down!...we called in to Punta del Este, supposed to be red hot but was like Surfers...lines of hi-rise appartments, behind them streets of beach houses..and deserted...we had a burger at a deserted cafe and pushed on...saw the hotel where the Harley crew were having a bash...millions of the bloody things..and the noise!!...so we raced north to find the secret place.....coast road turned to gravel but smooth, we raced along deserted beaches...a thin strip of road between the endless windswept fields and the endless windswept sea...white caps choppy...endlessness everywhere...small ferry crossing at one point..the ferry would hold maybe 4 cars max and it runs along a cable..it is powered by a guy in a
Our Little HouseOur Little HouseOur Little House

Punta del Diablo
tinny with a 40hp outboard tied to the side!!...too much....anyway...get toPunta del Diablo..yes..another devil´s bit!!
And this was an extraordinary place...missed the turn a few times then got it....road turned to gravel, rain had stopped, turn a corner and theres the village...hundreds of tiny shacks all plonked down, cheek-by-jowl, no order, all pointing different directions..some solid, of brick, others just shells of off-cut timber....some brightly painted with fantastic colours....thatched roofs...some leaning on horrible angles..no building regs here!!...and narrow access sandy tracks wind down between the shacks an endless maze...they are so close to each other, just totally cramped...maybe its protection from the wind?......it was all quite surreal and as if to announce our arrival...and to accentuate the surreality...the sky formed a spectacular cloud show...a great grey twisted band stretched right across the sky, behind it a perfect imitation of the ocean below, clouds of grey and white churning and boiling.....huge bags of rain-filled clouds threatening to burst and wash us all away.....and that odd light of the afternoon with a summer storm about..prematurely dark for a summer´s day..the whole scene took on a glow...quite an extraordinary experience......
luckily we found a rental shack on the road...never would have found my
House Next DoorHouse Next DoorHouse Next Door

I think they are wondering about how to fix the lean!
way home down the mazes...and a dinky little shack..just too cute for words..downstairs a table, kitchen sort of area, liitle baño and the stairs!...the stairs, in the middle of the room...steps of roughcast concrete, and I mean rough....the steps were uneven, risers of 300mm and steps only 250mm wide...wondering what the chances are of pissing off the balcony as I wouldn´t like to chance these stairs in the middle of the night...and yes, a little balcony upstairs with the bedrooms....don´t lean against the rail tho´!!...and a view out across the jumbled maze of thatches and down to the sea...breaking waves against the rocks...in the mornings I could open the door and get a framed picture of the thatched roofs, waves breaking over the rocks and, in the far distance, the lighthouse on the next point...
Swallows swooping around just millimetres above the ground, snapping their wings as they brake and dive around the verandahs...and millions of dogs!!...some of them v well cared for and otheres just your regular, street mongrels..
Diablo is actually a fishing village and on the other side of the little point is the fishermens beach with a coule of dozen sturdy looking boats drawn well up the beach...they´re pulled up by big, permanet, hand winches....and thats another story.....at the end of the point is a strange white, 3 sided structure that houses a larger than life and, as is the norm, fiercer than life, statue of someone whose name escapes me..but v imposing and you can see it from all over town, out on the point, high on the rocks, windswept, wet and cold....standing up for the patriotic, founding fathers ideals that have probably since been sold off and re-cycled by the jingoistas...I don´t know...
Theres a nice little scrapped together bar/restaurant down by the fishermens beach where I hang out in the afternoons...ice cold beer and a chat with the locals...but its been getting colder...what the...I don´t do cold!!...but sort of nice to sleep under a blanket for a change...how quickly we forget the sweaty airless sleepless nights of recent times..
Anyway...we quit Diablo and head south...nice to be back in a country you can drive from one end to the other in a day!...get to Colonia..over the river from Buenos Aires!!...walk around the old historic centre in circles about 50 times, trying to find something elae...I´m sure it was a fabulous town, cross culture influences from Portuguese and Spanish...but another touristy hangout with lots of shitty touristy things trying to drown out the historic aromas..
Baby it Hearse so bad: in the hotel carpark we find an enormous 1930, hearse...covered in dust which adds to the appeal..right out of the Adams family..its huge..open cockpit and the back a massive carved wooden construction....musty, dusty shrouds along the side windows...I have a peek inside..looks like man-bones..aarrgghh...on closer inspection its old paintbrushes and some boxes...would really like to bring this baby home and do it up...just amazing..another thing...thruoghout Uraguay there are thousands of old cars!!...all along the road, acre lots of old cars and trucks..one was even open as a sort of museum...if you wanted to make an old movie this is where you could come for cars!!...and lots of real old timers, immaculately restored, or maintained, perfect..and still being used...some of the old pickups had beautiful, handmade rails of hardwood..a real treat....and duco like they haven´t painted this thick and strong for 50 years..
Then it was the ferry across to BA...more like a plane...plane seats, plane boarding style, plane announcements, plane hosties, plane food, no windows opened, no smoking anywhere, and all the regular idiots that jump up and squash queue around the exit as soon as we slow down and way before they open the doors!!.........
Try for photos again...and tomorrow some thoughts on the bib BA....it is fantastic!

And with a combination of good weather, parties and the inevitable last-minute panic to get things finished/done before the xmas break I´m not expecting any of you to have time to read this anyway...but if I don´t get another chance..Happy Christmas........

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