Uruguay was one of my trips where I didn’t know what to expect until I stepped off the airplane. To be honest, my expectations of the country were pretty low. I figured there wouldn’t be much tourist infrastructure and I’d be one of the few people traveling here. I was a bit shocked when I saw how nice and developed the capital of Montevideo was. I found that there are several cities with standards similar to those of any western nation. Uruguay is even used by other South American countries as a nice weekend getaway! Much to Uruguay’s annoyance, many people from Argentina joke that Uruguay is an Argentine province because they visit it so often.
Since this was one of my early trips I don’t have many photos from Uruguay. As a matter of fact, these photos of Montevideo above may be my only two pictures from the capital other than the carnival! I had a different focus for the first few days here I was in the country anyway. Somehow had left my bank card in an ATM in Argentina, so when I arrived to Montevideo I was actually broke. Like seriously, no money at all. A taxi driver I met was so nice that he agreed to drive me around and meet me in a day or two so I could pay him. He took me to a bank and later even negotiated a hotel room for me and also got them to let me pay later. Finally I was able to get my bank to wire money to Western Union and pick it up using with my passport.
Having money again was a good feeling. All the nice people I met my first days here gave me a great impression about the country. With money in my pocket again, I could pay off my debts and begin exploring the Uruguay! Of course like most places in South America, there may be some clean modern areas but there are usually other areas that are pretty shabby. The carnival just happened to be going on while I was in Montevideo, so of course when night time came around I took another taxi to the festival in a sketchier part of town. The taxi driver dropped me off and told me, “tus ojos”, and pointed to my eyes, and then to my pockets and camera. I hadn’t been worried about crime in Uruguay, even when walking through this ghetto on the left. The carnival itself was pretty impressive, but I ended up with more photos from a carnival in another town posted further below.
Punta Del Este was my next stop after the capital and is probably the country’s most beautiful city. The city has some amazing beaches for the day with great casinos, clubs, and bars at night. Many clubs don’t even open until 3am, so if you’re a party animal then you’ll have a great time in this city. You’re probably familiar with the movie or book Alive, which is a true story about several Uruguayan soccer players who were trapped in the Andes mountains in the 1970’s after their plane crashed. The large house above belongs to one of the survivors, supposedly the one who was able to hike back to safety after 90 days resulting in the remaining survivors being rescued. Beyond this house I don’t think there is much sightseeing to do and it’s mostly about the beaches and casinos. On the right is the downtown area of Punta Del Este at night; I couldn’t believe how nice it was!
These next two pictures are of the beaches in Uruguay. The beaches were probably the highlight of my time in Punta Del Este. I’m not much of a fan of clubbing, but that night I became friends with some older rich Norwegians and got dragged along with them. I pretty much travel to tropical countries with shorts and flip flops and that’s really all I had for the night. These guys showed up with some some expensive suits and jewelry that I couldn’t imagine dragging with me to the other side of the world. After the night was over, each of them had a girl with them that was about 25 years younger than them or about my age. I hadn’t wanted to go clubbing to begin with, and definitely wouldn’t try to pick up someone, but somehow walking alone with them while they each had someone made me feel a bit awkward. As it turned out, the next day when I met up with the Norwegians they told me the girls had slept over but left halfway in the night along with half their belongings!
The Norwegians had rented an apartment when they were cleaned out by their girlfriends, who had even taken their keys. After waiting for them to get the locks replaced to the apartment, we all set out again to the smaller city of Moldado. The annual carnival is something that is most famous in Brazil but is actually done throughout most South American and Caribbean countries, even a smaller city like Moldado! Of course these are not on the same scale, but they are definitely fun and if you’re here during the right time of year you shouldn’t miss out. The surrounding photos are from Moldado’s carnival, which wasn’t as crazy as the one in Montevideo.The Moldado carnival was definitely more family like while the Montevideo one seemed to have more of a party atmosphere. My previous country before this trip was to Sudan, so I was pretty shocked to see how some of the women and girls dressed and danced, but I guess this is to be expected in any carnival in Latin-America!
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