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Day 363 Puente Del Este, Uruguay: Nuclear fallout.

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With my homework done and a new fresh day, I headed off for my next stop, the Uruguayan premier beach resort of Puente Del Este.

After a little bit of free internet time via the wireless system in the food court at the bus terminal (a damn good idea for the people that incorporated it), I was on the bus for a short three hour ride to the town that the Buenos Aires people have deemed their own even though it is in Uruguay. A kind of a sore spot for Uruguayans, but the usual provado from BAers.

Back in the day, Uruguay was actually known as the Switzerland of South America because of its rich cattle industry. This brought out the European designed capital and resort towns. Now with inflation having desimated that image, Uruguay just struggles along kind of in the background of Argentina and Brazil, and totally off the radar for most Americans.

When we hit the coast line and the city was visible, it reminded me of Miami and Cartagena. It was stacks of high rise buildings stretched out along a peninsula. On the mainland before the peninsula there was endless stretches of white sand beaches. It was actually fairly remarkable to see a place like this after almost a year of leaving Cartagena.

The bus terminal was smack dab in the middle of the Peninsula, so I was right in the center of the resort area. There were two hostels that I got flyers from the Tourist Information booth. The lady told me these were the two cheapest places in town, without me even asking. I think I am at the point and look where I am an easy read. Both were discounted down from $10US to $8US.

The whole place was maybe four blocks across from ocean to ocean, and the Peninsula went on for about twenty. I made the short two block walk to the first hostel which looked really nice from the outside. Not wanting to miss out on anything I went down a few more blocks to the other one. The second one was the Hostelling International referral so I decided although it didn’t look as nice as the first one, it would probably have more people in it.

One of the odd things that I noticed as I went in search of the two hostels was that their was nobody on the streets. Now, their definitely was a main street because there were desingner stores running its whole length. About every other store was a real estate office. In total, the six blocks I walked, there was maybe twenty people, and those were all people that were working. There were no tourists or regular people anywhere. It was actually kind of spooky.

After I checked in, I asked the owners where all the people were, and they said it was a real slow time for them but in summer they were busy. They said that there were two german guys around. I figured I would see them in one of the dorms.

I hadn’t eaten all day so I headed down to the grocery store. I was happy to find that it was one of the major chain stores. When I went inside, it was totally empty sans the five people working there. It was actually spooky, just like what the world would be after a nuclear fall out. Just a bunch of empty buildings. I calculated that there was probably enough rooms available for maybe thirty thousand people. I figure at the time there might have been a few hundred people, and most of those were working in the hotels.

That evening/night I went for a walk because I figured that maybe it was like Argentina and people just don’t go out until late. Man, wrong again. Just a handful of expensive looking restaurants with white table cloths, red napkins, candles burning on every table, with two or three bored out of their skulls waiters/waitresses. Spooky.

They had a pretty large marina with a lot of high dollar yachts and sail boats, so in all it was definitely a nice resort place. It had probably the best layout of any resort city that I had seen. I imagine during the summer time the place is rocking. I definitely wouldn’t mind spending a week their when the sun and temperature is up. They say that the uniform for Punta is a stringy bathing suit (for men and women), designer sunglasses (fakes will get you laughed at,) and money.

One nice thing was that they still had a working fishing dock where fishing boats came in to drop off their catch. They were long line fisherman so I watched as a few came in while other worked on baiting up their lines. On the rocks, fisherman were stretched out on their lawn chairs getting ready for some night action. I really liked that part and really wanted to join them. I could see myself hanging out there for a while.

Now although the place was very chill and relaxed, it was just plain too spooky like a ghost town. I wanted out so I checked out buses for the next day. They only had one bus out the next morning that went to Brazil, so I targeted that for my escape.

Back at the hostel it was a second load of pasta and sandwiches which topped off the old stomach. I enquired about the two german guys since I didn’t see anybody in the other dorms. The lady explained that she didn’t mean that they were staying there, but that there were two german tourists on the peninsula. Whoa, that was weird. I guess through the grapevine they were passing on the info about one asian guy adding to the total to make it three tourists on location. Spooky.

Some photos of my favorite beach town.

Harbor shots.
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The boardwalk.
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The obligatory sunset shot. This place had everything.
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Beaches on both sides of the peninsula went on forever.
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Gigantic fingers coming out of the sand. Really.
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Look at the cool squigglies on this keyboard.
ρρρρρΡΡΡΡρρρρΡΏΏΏηηη~~~~



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