Clare and Jim go South

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Perfect Piriapolis

October29

It’s all been a bit quiet on the Uruguayan front. Not in a bad way, though. Been in bit more of a normal routine of work and low key stuff rather than going out all the time. Which isn’t a problem at all, in fact it’s been quite nice to cook dinners and watch TV. Loving the fact we can still see things from home via the wonders of the internet. I’m hooked on Strictly and X Factor! The longer we stay in Montevideo, the more I notice things which sadden me… the rubbish on the streets, the noise, and the stark levels of poverty. It reminds me in many ways of Buenos Aires but on a smaller scale. Was really shocked the other day to watch an elderly woman rooting around in the bins, as is common over here. People walked by and seemed completely unphased by it… that in itself upsets me. Then she ate something she has just found in the bags.. I was completely gutted. We’re living in the old part of the town which is thriving in the day, but really quiet of an evening and seems to attract lots of homeless people and demonstrates the massive divide between those that have, and those that have not. It’s not that we feel unsafe here.. just that we need to be aware. There are constant road works taking place, and the local kids who seem quite poor play in the dirt like it’s a sand pit - they are very cute, and really friendly. Some of them though are already wily to the powers of their cuteness - as soon as we walk past and they notice we are from round these parts, they ask for money, trying to pull on our heart strings.

We leave Montevideo tomorrow evening for Florianapolis in Brazil - a mammoth 22 hour coach journey ahead of us. Gulp! I’ve read good things about the comfort levels of long distance buses here - but am trying not to expect tooooo much for fear of major disappointment!I think we’d rather be pleasantly surprised!  I’ve managed to get us seats right at the front so Jamie doesn’t have to endure the people in front reclining onto his lap, though it does mean we get a direct view of the driver and his no doubt frightening driving approach. It’s been a bit hairy so far over here in taxis and buses so I tend to just shut my eyes and hope… We’ve got lots of tv to watch on the way, and our ipod so fingers crossed the time flies by and we are distracted. And of course there is the ‘Portuguese for Dummies’ book to digest.

Buying the ticket was a complete nightmare - I almost set up camp in the bus station I was there so often. FOUR separate attempts it took me! All a bit of a panic when I found out on my first trip that the internet had lied and there were no direct buses leaving on a Thursday, just Saturday and Sunday. We have to leave tomorrow as our flat runs out then… So, instead we bought a ticket to Porto Alegre, Brazil, thinking it would be simple to get a ticket from there on to Floripa. Nuh uh. Silly us. Annoyingly, we forgot our passports that first time, so I had to return the next day with them. But of course, the next bit wasn’t straightforward at all! As we aren’t Brazilian, I couldn’t buy the tickets online. Doh!  So I rang the company in Brazil and spoke to about five different people until at last I got through to someone who spoke minimal Spanish - for I speak noooooo Portuguese which they do in Brazil. At which point I learnt that of course I can buy tickets over here in Montevideo - from the bus terminal - from the same company I bought the first bit of the journey for - aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!! At no point had the Uruguayan bus firm mentioned they sell tickets for this Brazilian firm…ooooooooh I could have swung for them! So off I toddled last Saturday only to be told that noooooooooo I couldn’t buy the second bit of the ticket on a weekend, that was far too complicated as the offices were shut. GROAN! So it was fourth time lucky when I got them this week. Hallelujah!

We had our first proper day off this week and went exploring further up the coast. When we first thought about coming here, Punta del Este was one of the places we dreamt of living in. Dream on! It was absolutely lovely, but far far too pricey for us. We attempted to eat lunch but had to do a runner as the sandwiches were £10, and salads £15. Piriapolis was our first stop and somewhere we’d definitely consider living once we’re done in Brazil… it was lovely. Fairly quiet but mountains behind the sea, and a lovely community feel to it. Montevideo definitely has its good bits, but it was so fab to be out of the city and in the fresh air. We think we might possibly be getting old with all this appreciation of scenery and outdoor life!

Playa San Fransisco in Piriapolis

Playa San Fransisco in Piriapolis

I was up there for HOURS...

I was up there for HOURS...

View of Piriapolis - yeeeehah!

View of Piriapolis - yeeeehah!

VERY happy to be there!

VERY happy to be there!

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