15 April 2008
Jimmy is calling it “the Southern Loop”. Whatever you call it we are finally traveling in South America. When we arrived here last year we were looking to start a business, we bought an apartment that needed a lot of work. We have spent most of our time here doing functional things and often noticed that we’ve managed to miss the romance and wonder that some of our friends feel for this part of the world.
It often perplexes me when my friends talk about South America with dreamy eyes and voices softened by enchantment. I feel none of these things. I may not feel them when I return from this trip around the bottom of the world but I will have given it an honest chance and I will have a real idea of what this part of the world can be. I still won’t know it all and life in the city will likely continue to tire me. This trip has had a wonderful beginning though.
We began in Buenos Aires, of course, and then headed for Montevideo, Uruguay. We’ve been meaning to get over to Montevideo forever, having heard it is like BsAs but smaller, quieter, cleaner and kinder. All was verified and we spent a lovely day walking, taking photos and people watching in the park. Our next stop was Punta del Este Uruguay, the Ibiza of South America where the beautiful people go to see and be seen (though they are all elsewhere now as “The Season” is over). On our way over to the shore we met a couple from BsAs and found them again at the car rental. They offered to share a vehicle with us, we agreed on an agenda and off we went to explore the island with Pablo and Ignacio. We went first to Casapueblo the storied home of the famous Uruguayan artist Carlos Vilaro. Aside from having art in every corner, built into every wall and bursting from every room, the home, and now hotel, sits on a bluff overlooking the mouth of the Rio Plata and it is beautiful! I forgot, almost, how much I love the water, the waves, the rocks and the breezes from the nearby sea. For just a moment I could have been standing on the shore in La Jolla. I never wanted to leave, but leave we eventually did, and to find the Atlantic side of Punta del Este (Point of the East) where the Rio Plata meets the Atlantic Ocean. We drove around admiring the big beautiful beach mansions and stopping here and there to take a photo or touch the waves. We had an amazing lunch in a restaurant on the beach. Actually the restaurant was on the other side of the street, just the tables were on the beach, so that the waiters had to cross traffic with your food. It was a wonderful meal and nice to sit in the quiet of a popular beach town in Autumn and talk with interesting people and feel the warm sun as an unexpected but welcome dining companion.
Back on the ship Jimmy and I watched while we turned slowly from the shores of Punta del Este toward the open ocean on our way to Puerto Madryn, Argentina and then on through “the Southern Loop”. We’ll have a day at sea tomorrow, a good time for a long hard work out, some reading and a nap. More from Puerto Madryn, Ushuaia and beyond...