We leave Colonia in a steady drizzle. The forecast for the next three days is rain but we must move on. Autumn is creeping up from the south, inching northward day by day like the cold black shadows of sunset. Our plan, now that cruel autumn is showing her real colours, is to follow the coastline of Uruguay east and north and enter Brazil at Chuy.
We approach the capital city of Montevideo at lunch time. The plan was to stay a day or two here, but the gusting winds, driving rain and 17 C temperatures discourage us and also make the city appear unwelcoming and unflattering. Muddy waves send overspray onto the costanera drive, the palms bend frightfully in the wind and even the hi-rises look like they are hunkering into the wind.
We stop for a quick fuel break in Montevideo, wolf down gas station coffee and sandwiches, both tasting like the plastic containers they came in, then we hit the road again. We decide to continue following the coast. The wind also decides to continue - to drive rain into our faces. Towards 4 PM as an early darkness approaches, we have had enough and take refuge in the quiet little town of Atlantída. In the summer this berg is wall to wall tourists. Today Joyce and I, Katie and Chicitita are the sole representives of the touristic world. Ben, the German ex-pat owner of the St Moritz Hotel, a goldsmith by trade in off-season, seems mildly surprised to have his jewelry work interrupted by dripping guests. He welcomes us openly and gets us in out of the rain immediately. We feel like old friends meeting after a long absence. We love how our day has ended so well.
After two days of drying out clothes over electric heaters in our cozy second story room with a view, we move on as the weather clears. Riding further east, the tranquil coastal city of Piriapolis calls our name but by now we have the wind up our nose and want to travel on.
Punto del Este is the point of land jutting out into the Atlantic that anybody who is anybody owns property here. The rich and famous from Brazil to Buenos Aires like to be seen here. We idle through town, look at the fancy condos, splashy homes, yachts in the harbour and ubertrendy cafes and are reminded of Monte Carlo, Cannes and California.
Further down the road is Punto del Diablo, until a few years ago, a sleepy little fishing village on a sand and rock point. Then some surfers discovered the place and a few cabañas sproated up to catch the tourism wave. We take a cute little cabaña for a couple of days and catch the waves too - the solar waves. This is our kind of Punto: low key, no frills, but clean and good value. We know this place won´t last long the way it is; soon it´ll be loved to death like all the others. We humans are funny that way.
In the meantime, we lay on the roof recliners and sun ourselves, later on wander inside and watch English speaking movies with Hugh Grant and any one of a number of leading ladies. It is Chick Flick Heaven for Joyce. And to tell you the truth, right now they are just what I want to watch too. We go through a lot of Coke and chips.
We walk on the beach to watch the surfers, or to just watch the surf. It is good therapy after a bunch of days riding the bikes. This is what travelling is all about, even for aimless extranjeros like ourselves.
As we sit watching the endlessly restless surf, we talk about our experience here in Uruguay. The people here have been very good to us. We have collected many fond memories in this tiny but very friendly country. On May 17th, we head towards the Brasil frontera but it is not without a tiny feeling of regret for leaving Uruguay so soon.Posted by Murray Castle at May 30, 2009 04:19 PM GMT
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