(I hope at least someone gets my TI/ Rihanna reference)
I never wrote about my day trip to Uruguay last Saturday, so here goes.
As I mentioned before, I have to renew my tourist visa every 90 days, and the way you go about doing that is by leaving the country and then coming back. The easiest and fastest way to do that here in Buenos Aires is by going to Colonia, Uruguay which is an easy 1-3 hour boat ride (depending on the speed of the boat) away, straight across the Rio de la Plata, the gorgeous dirty brown river on which my lovely city resides.
My friend Megan and I both arrived on the same day, and thus our visas were expiring at the same time, and we decided to take the trip together. We went via Buequebus, a very misleading company name, because it is a company that has the word "bus" in it, yet only seems to operate boats and planes. Ha!
Anyway, the boat left at 8:45 am on Saturday, so Megan and I met there about 7:45 am, a time that I personally believe is so early that it should not even exist, especially on Saturdays. Since last weekend I was sick with a cold, I'd stayed in on Friday night and gotten a decent night's sleep, but Megan had been out drinking all night and rolled in drunk and reaking of alcohol. Hahaha!!! With me sick and her drunk/tired/hungover, we were in for an interesting day.
However, when I saw her, I knew immediately that something was wrong. She pretty much burst into tears the second we saw each other. And that's when she told me-- her boyfriend back in California had been in a motorcycle accident. He's fine, but he broke a ton of bones, including his femur, and was in the hospital.
(Life is precious... this reminded me, and I hope it also reminds you, to always live life to the fullest.)
... anyway, Megan was obviously freaking out worrying about her boyfriend, but also there was a more complex issue, which was that she'd already been feeling really unhappy here in Buenos Aires and had already been having doubts about how long she'd last. She was more homesick that the rest of us, was having more doubts, and on top of that was hating her teaching job and feeling generally frustrated. This was sort of the icing on the cake. She decided to go home and cut her trip short.
Megan leaves tomorrow. I'm soooo sad. She's become one of my best friends here, and it's just a very real reminder that I'm living in a foreign country, and when you do such a thing, people come and go more than usual. It's a transient place to me. How long will any of us last? She's the first to go, but I'm sure I will go through this many more times before I depart. It's awful.
So yeah, there we are, 7:45am on a Saturday, waiting for a boat to Uruguay, and she's telling me that this is her last week here, that we're saying good bye.
We decided, no matter that I'm sick and she's hungover and hasn't slept and it a mess about leaving and her boyfriend situation, damnit!! we're going to have a fun day!!! And we did. Albeit mellow and relaxing, we ended up having an amazing day in Uruguay.
It started off nicely because we'd bought the cheap tickets on the 3 hour bus, but they transferred us for free onto the 1 hour fast boat, and we arrived by 10am. The whole day before us, we just started walking and exploring. The town is tiny and cute. It's certainly not the type of place I personally could spend a very long time, because there is not too much to see, but it's an ideal relaxing day trip. We walked down the main drag and then wound around to one part of the coast, where we found an artisan market and a cute beach. The day was gorgeous and sunny, and there were people sunbathing, and sailboats drifting out in the water.
The we decided to wind down to the "old town" part of the city, which is really considered to be the big attraction, for tourists anyway! Founded in 1680, the town still maintained a lovely colonial feel, and features very well-maintained old tile and stucco houses lining pretty, cobblestone streets. There are a variety of museums and even a lighthouse, but we decided to take it easy and do a more self-guided tour, so we just enjoyed the sites from outside.
Also, the pedestrian signs are hilarious in Colonia! We decided that the image looks more like someone doing "the robot" than walking. Ha!
Along the river, there are plenty of grassy areas and beach spots to relax, share some mate, read a book, or sunbathe. I imagine it gets very crowded in summer! It was busy while we were there, but we still found ample spots to relax. We ended up finding a great spot overlooking the water and the sailboats, where we spent about 2 glorious hours. Megan slept, and I read a book. It was fantastic.
We started getting hungry and decided to have some lunch. We ended up in one cafe in the Barrio Histórico (old town) to have a soda and a snack, and then wandered back into the center of town to the main drag, where we had yummy sandwiches and I had a coffee. I was exhausted, after all, and oh man, I love the café con leche here!
After lunch we explored yet another part of town along the water, which we agreed was the prettiest part of all. We found a street that winds along the river and where there are a couple of docks you can walk out onto, where make for some amazing views of the land, water, and boats. This picture in particular really reminded me of Westport actually (where my Mom lives in MA, for those who don't know):
I thought this whole area was just gorgeous, especially as the sun was setting.
Overall, Colonia turned out to be a picturesque place to visit and a lovely little escape from the craziness of Buenos Aires. I'd recommend it as a day trip to anyone coming to visit Buenos Aires.
And now, as its Megan's last night in town, I think some shenanigans are in order.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
(I hope at least someone gets my TI/ Rihanna reference)