Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Arrival in Montevideo

I arrived in Montevideo, Uruguay this morning.  My flight was at 7:35, and leaving the house at 5:15 I arrived at the airport by 6:30.  The lines for security were a bit long, but luckily everything moved quickly.  I'm not used to seeing a lot of the people at the airport, as before this I've almost always traveled at off-peak times.

It turns out that Montevideo is an hour ahead of Santiago, making it 3 hours ahead of the East Coast in the States.  Upon arriving I consulted the directions I got from the hostel from the airport, and I went to the COT office (a bus line) and requested the ticket I needed.  The woman told me that she didn't know how much it would cost or if the buses would arrive within 3 minutes or 3 hours.  I asked her what she would suggest I do, and she pointed out to the airport parking lot saying with a thick Argentinean accent "Camina allà y gira a la izquierda."  (Walk that way then turn left.)  When I asked her about how long of a walk it would be, she told me about half an hour.

I left the office a bit puzzled and noticed buses with another company going by, and I asked one of the drivers if he went to where I needed to go.  It turns out he did, and it was a 45 minute ride by bus.  I'm really glad I didn't take the woman's advice trying to walk it.

After getting to the main bus station, I switched to another bus which brought me to the Ciudad Vieja or Old City.  The hostel I'm staying at is in the heart of the Old City, right in a pedestrian area.

I dropped my bags and went out to explore.  The weather is perfect today: about 80 and sunny.  I walked out to the coast and asked a local sitting along the pier to take my picture, and then we talked for about 15 minutes.  Then as I walked out towards the pier further I met a fellow traveler from Germany.

The new slim version of Diet Coke.  Notice how thin it is.

The pedestrian area of Boulevard Sarandi

On my way to the coast

Fisherman hard at work

I loved this view and sitting and talking with a local.

Looks like all my time at the gym has paid off.

I rented a bike with brakes that didn't really work for $1.50 for the afternoon.


The view was amazing, and after admiring the coast we went to the central market.  There they have lots of restaurants, with most of them specializing in meat.  They also have a drink called medio y medio (half and half) which is half wine and half champagne.  They offered free samples of it in front of many of the restaurants, hoping to lure in some customers.  After walking around I decided to splurge and get a steak since its their specialty.  It was interesting to see that they individually wrapped each piece of bread in plastic, and it actually makes sense to keep the bread fresh and to reuse any bread that customers don't eat without any fear of contamination or germs from it being handled by multiple people.

medio y medio, chilled and ready to be served

meat being grilled for everyone to drool over

They had this covered over and would show it to people to entice them.

Wrapped up bread and rolls.  A good idea in my book.

A picture of inside the market

Tomorrow I take the bus and ferry to Buenos Aires.  We'll see how it all plays out.

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