Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Leaving Uruguay

(note: I accidentally posted this on Vanessa's Blog before. I was wondering why my family wrote saying I hadn't had a single post in a long time. Also I get a kick out of both my sisters saying my blog sucks because I'm too serious. Sorry! I'll get more pictures and more light-hearted stuff up here soon.)

I'm in the airport headed back to Rio after a week in Montevideo for a conference of the South American Fulbrighters. A few observations from very limited time in Uruguay:

•Very European. Visually Montevideo is much like Buenos Aires - 10 story buildings, Italian and Spanish ancestry, etc.

•Interesting statistics - Uruguay has about 3.3 million people, and for each one of them there are 4 cows and 3 sheep.

•Mate is out of control. I'm typing this in a cafe in the Montevideo airport and just looking around about 20% of the people are actively drinking mate. I wish I had a picture. It's a small bowl with a metal pipe sticking up. The bowl is filled with the mate, and they carry around a thermos and put hot water in their bowl and suck it through the metal straw (getting the flavor of the mate without letting through the actual leaves)

•Very cheap. There was some discrepancy as to whether Buenos Aires or Montevideo was cheaper, but they are both bargains. And Montevideo Real Estate is just as well priced as that in BsAs. You can get a badass house on the beach for $250,000.

•My cab driver knew all about the NBA. I know that's just one person but he knew quite a bit. This rarely happens in Brazil.

•Again this is anecdotal, but I found people from Montevideo to be quite friendly.

•Never did get in touch with my old friend Fernando from when I was in Chile. Too bad. Now I don't think it's so weird that he was always sipping mate in Santiago.

•The park next to the airport is named after FDR. Is there any country in the world that would name anything after Bush?

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