Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, is cross the river ria de la Plata from Buenos Aires. I took a rapid boat (the trip lasts an hour) from BA to Colonia and then a bus to Montevideo yesterday. This service is run by "Buquebus" and is very well-organized. I got a great promotional deal, too: two boat trips, bus to Montevideo, and night in a hotel in Montevideo with breakfast --all for $70! Took a 3-hour city tour yesterday to get an overview of the city. The downtown and historic part aren't exceptional, but there are lots of parks and beaches along the ria de Plata. My overall impression of the city is that it's not as rich as BA , the streets are a bit dirty, and the people not expensively dressed. It looks comfortable and middle-class, even though there are some very wealthy looking neighborhoods.
I left the tour at the river and walked for an hour along the shore before taking a public bus back to town. That was nice. This is a HUGE estuary. The river is so wide there (220 kms) that it felt like being along the ocean, and the sand is white and fine. In fact, two hours north of here is Punta del Este on the Atlantic Ocean. Apparently, this is THE beach resort of Uruguay, and it's where alot of rich Argentinians have beautiful homes. It was too bad I didn't have enough time to visit there, too.

Montevideo has about 1.5 million inhabitants, which means half of the population of Uruguay (3 million people) live in the capital! Appar ently, Uruguqy is the second smallest country in South America.I've found that the people, the Spanish accent, the food, etc. all seem very similar to what exists in Argentina. However, I'm sure there are differences, and I'd like to learn more about the history and culture of this country. It's certainly very "white" like Argentina, though!

By the way, Moon and his Unification Church have a huge house that was pointed out by the gui de. I looked on Wikipedia and discovered that he set up shop here when the military were still in power and very anti-Communist. Apparently, he also owns a hotel, a racetrack, etc. Interesting tidbit, isn't it?


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