Monday, February 3, 2014

S America/Antarctica - 12/24/2013 - Montevideo, Uruguay - Punta del Este

Uruguay was always a mysterious country to me.  It didn't seem to be famous for anything and it had a very strange name.....sort of like Uranus.  As it turns out it is one of the nicest and friendliest of the South American countries.  It is also one of the cleanest and crime free of the ones we visited.  As a matter of fact, the people of Uruguay have the highest standard of living of any country in Latin America.

Montevideo has a population of 1.3 million which is nearly a third of the entire country's 3.4 million people.  Almost all of the major cities in the country are located on the coast.  According to our tour guide, the interior is almost empty.  She invited (almost begged) us to buy property and come to live in Uruguay.  Uruguay has a large agricultural industry, some mineral resources, and is an active shipping port for containers.

The origin of the name, Montevideo, is debated by the scholars, but it definitely has nothing to do with our kind of video.  It is roughly pronounced  - Monte-va-DAY-o.  Uruguay gained its independence in 1822 and had to fight off not only Spain, but also Portugal, Argentina, and Brazil.

The photos were mostly taken from the bus and are intended to give you a flavor of what we saw on the drive from Montevideo to Punta del Este, a Southern Atlantic resort town to the north of Montevideo.

A newly built hotel and casino.

Once out in the country, the pace of life changes and there are street vendors of all kinds.

Want to buy an airplane?

We saw a number of fireworks stands just as you would see here in the US around July 4th.  Here fireworks are enjoyed on Christmas and it just happens to be Christmas Eve as we tour.

Almost like home.

Wine production has become a big industry in Uruguay.

We could be in Iowa.....corn fields.

Iowa doesn't have this kind of view.

Punta del Este is definitely upscale in most places.

We toured the museum of modern art in Punta del Este.

Back to the bus.

We had lunch at the Conrad Hotel....very nice.

Upscale graffiti?

The dark things in the sand are thousands of empty mussel shells.

Fun sculpture on the beach.

An artists home, gallery, and hotel.

I rarely post a photo of myself except to be able to say that I do when Sigrid complains that there are never any photos of me.  This photo was taken on the Lido Deck beside the pool as we relaxed before sail-off from Montevideo and dinner.

We will be at sea on Christmas Day and the day after as we head for the Falkland Islands and our next port, Stanley.

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