Montevideo, Colonia, and Buenos Aires!

Published: July 7th 2014
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I walked to the beach, Playa Pocitos, and around the Pocitos area until I found a bar, La Pasiva, to watch the Argentina v Switzerland game. I cheered for Switzerland. I ate lunch there during the game and had a Uruguayan attempt at pizza. It was strip slices like Pokey Sticks or the dessert pizza at Ci Ci's, and just had tomato sauce on it. Clearly not the greatest thing on the planet. I went back to the hostel to chill and stopped to restock on deodorant along the way. After a while I went back to the bar, this time wearing the American Flag as a cape, to watch the USA v Belgium game. When I walked in I saw two girls at a table. One of them was wearing a UNC hoodie. It turns out they both go to UNC. Olivia is from Hickory and Melissa is from Raleigh. They're both majoring in Spanish linguistics and Olivia is double majoring with chemistry. They are studying abroad for the semester in Montevideo with a bunch of other students from Alaska, Wisconsin, France, Norway, Mexico, and Chile. During the game I found out Mary, from Alaska, was going to be in Buenos Aires on the 4th. The game was pretty good and we were definitely the loudest group in the bar. We even sang the National Anthem at one point whilst waving my flag. I got Melissa's and Mary's contact info so I could see what they were up to during my stay. I went back to the hostel and made some dinner. Pasta with hot dog slices and cheap tomato sauce. Mmmmmmm. Some people at the hostel had a cookout and invited me. I met 2 guys in their 30s. One was an electrical engineer with an MBA that worked for EA Games in San Fran and lived in the Mission. The other was an IT worker from NYC. They had come to Montevideo from Buenos Aires on the way to Brazil. I told the. All about Brazil and gave then some tips. I met 2 Brazilians from Rio. The woman went to school to be a physicist, but went back to school and became a pediatrician. The guy, her boyfriend, is a physicist. Hung out until 3am talking about politics, the US and Brazilian governments, travel in Brazil, and the best places to travel in the US. When I went to my room I no longer ha it to myself as 2 guys from Stanford had moved in with me.

I walked the 4 miles to the west, and oldest, part of the city called Ciudad Vieja. On the way I walked partially along the beach and saw the US and German Embassy's. I met a nice man who was a DJ. We talked about his upcoming trip to visit his friend in Tennessee. He left me to go buy a joint (weed is legal in Uruguay). The old city had a lot of brick/cobblestone roads with shops of all sorts. I went in one to get a postcard and saw La Plaza Independencia. It was huge with a statue/memorial to some Uruguayan general or president. Since it was getting cold and the sun was gonna set in an hour I started walking back to the hostel. I walked along the beach and around the central peninsula of the city. There was a lot of great beach scenery and a cool golf course. I even snuck on and hit a few errant balls with a stick. I walked past a cool holocaust memorial along the beach and saw a quote from Elie Weisel's "Night" (read by most of NC in 8th grade) inscribed on a marble stone. The memorial was meant to look like ruins, which was pretty cool. A cute girl was walking next to me at one point and just as I was about to strike up a conversation my drawstring bag ripped and my water bottles, map, journal, and jacket scattered on the ground. Instant play killer. So I had to fin the nearest shopping center to get a replacement bag since I needed that drawstring bag for travel. I walked to the nearest mall with all my shit in my arms and found a school supplies store. Since its winter break for kids here I got to cash in on some sweet back to school deals. I bought a High Sierra backpack that's normally $60-$100, for UYU$640, which is about $29! When I got back to Pocitos I stopped and ate lupper at Lo de Pepe. I got back to the hostel and paid a guy to mail my postcard the following morning since I wouldn't have time. I met a couple that had just graduated from UC Berkley and were trying to find jobs in Montevideo. The guy was a native or Fresno, CA but the girl was from Spain. She went to Berkley for an exchange program, met him, and decided to stay at Berkley. Awwwwww. I made a late dinner of pasta, hot dog pieces, and fake tomato sauce and met 2 guys from Curitiba, Brazil who were also traveling for the World Cup. I hung with them and the hostel staff all night. One of them is finishing up her final year at med school. By the time we had retired I had convinced them that partying at colleges in the US is sometimes exactly like in the movies and music videos. Btw, it really is and if you're saying "I've just been there, no it isn't," then you're either at a lame school, suck at party surfing, or just don't have a good social life.

I got up early and got some dirt from the hostel's backyard. Took a cab to the bus station and a 2.5 hour bus ride to Colonia del Sacramento. I slept most of it. When I got to Colonia I took a map from the tourist info center and walked to the harbor where my ferry to Buenos Aires would leave from. Once I found where it was I walked into town and explored the historical part of the city. It was similar to historic Fort Sumter or Colonial Williamsburg. I gave myself 7 hours to see it, but only needed 3-4. The rest of the time I chilled in the harbor and ate lunch. Getting through Uruguay/Argentina customs was easy. The ferry was a lot bigger than any I had ever been on. The inside had a lot of comfortable seating and a huge atrium that was similar to the ballroom/atrium area on the Titanic (for those who've seen the movie I'm referring to wear Jack meets Rise at the steps). On the ferry I met a woman from Spain who had lived in DC for 3 years and NYC for 2 years. Once in Buenos Aires I walked about 1.5 miles to my hostel. I went past the National Bank and the presidents office, which were lit up blue and pink respectively. The presidents office had a huge Argentine flag in front of it that seemed to wave with no wind. Once I checked in I walked around looking for a cambio to exchange my Uruguayan pesos for Argentine pesos. All of the cambios were closed so I walked around looking for a food joint that took credit or debit. I found a pizzaria on a corner on Avenida Estados Unidos (avenida=avenue and Estados Unidos=United States). I had a large checkin, motzerella, and boiled egg pizza and a coke. I realized that although South American Coke was way different from US Coke, I coul tell the slight differences between Brazilian, Uruguayan, and Argentine Coke. I must be a Coke connoisseur! Back at the hostel I met 2 of my roommates. They're from South Korea and were also traveling for the World Cup. Their next stop was Ushuaia, Argentina, the most southern city in the entire world. Only 740 miles from Antarctica!


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