March 31st, 2007

(no subject)

I like Uruguay. I got really happy as soon as I arrived. I think part of that is that I can afford to have my clothes washed here instead of doing it by hand ($2 per item was too much for me). São Luis is humid and I didn't have a place to hang my clothes in the sun. They really needed to be cleaned. Another part is that someone offered me a waffle for breakfast. I gave them the opportunity to offer me a waffle each day after that. But, maybe it's because they have Doctor Who on TV here. Or, possibly that wine is cheap, plentiful, and flavorful. Probably the most important part is that people talk to strangers, offer to help them, and are doing for reasons other than having a chance to sleep with or rob them.

I actually had someone tell me that they love America. That's not something I've heard very often in my travels.

It rained most of my time here, so I had to do tourism like an Oregonian. I started by being a responsible tourist; I went to get more pages in my passport because I'm going to run out of space before I run out of countries to visit. They didn't want to give me the pages because my passport is so old that it doesn't have biometric data. I really wanted to ask if not having biometric data in my passport was a bad thing, but I wanted the lady to give me the pages so instead I pointed out that I only had a couple of days in town.

Uruguay is famous for Tango dancing. I didn't realize that until someone here pointed it out to me and now I'm sharing it with you so I can save you the trip down to find it out. I decided to experience that first hand. I've never seen such an international thing. All the dancers here looked like the dancers in the US. The tango house was a gem, the food was good, the people were friendly, the floor was nice. I would go back if I were going to be anywhere near it.

I also tried out the shopping (a very important tourist activity). My clothes have not weathered the travels as well as my body (I have a couple of permanent scares I think) and it was coming time to replace them. I managed to find the nicest neighborhood in town and then went to the second-hand store. I'm not sure what it says about me if I buy used clothing in the third-world. None the less, besides no longer smelling, I also have clothing that doesn't have bleach spots now.

One quirk about Uruguay is that they sometimes use dollars to price things instead of the local peso. At first I thought that it might be just for tourists, but when I saw a double-bass priced that way, I decided that it probably wasn't for tourists.

So, am I going to stay in Uruguay for the rest of my life? I doubt it, they have a problem with cigarettes. I think the hip thing to do on a Friday night is hang out smoking outside of a club that one can't enter until 2 AM. They get some of it right, I think the correct thing to do with cigarettes is destroy them, but I think it could be done much more efficiently if they didn't do it one at a time, and certainly much more pleasantly if they didn't suck on them.