Uruguay, not “just for ugly people” anymore!

18 Jul 2009 Posted by Ryan Flynn in Humor, Travel, Culture

5103_91748942545_638497545_2065800_1978029_n.jpg Hey, at least they’re not all about God.

I can’t say I’ve ever in my life imagined hearing someone say the words “spring break” and “Uruguay” in the same sentence, yet here we were, screaming “WOO HOO, SPRING BREAK URUGUAY!” from the wobbly ferry deck of our shuttle between Buenos Aires and Montevideo. When I told my new friends in Buenos Aires that I was going to Uruguay for a couple of days, they looked at me like I was about to drink a cup of dog poo. “What? Why?!” they asked, half laughing, half appalled, “as soon as you get there, you will wish you never left Argentina!” Consequently, it didn’t take very long for their passionate warnings to affect my once strong enthusiasm for our new adventure. “Maybe we should stay here,” I suggested to my unshaken friends, but they shook their heads. “Don’t listen to people from Buenos Aires, they hate EVERYTHING that is not Buenos Aires.”

5103_91761522545_638497545_2066013_6148383_n.jpg Young men can get lonely…

5103_91759802545_638497545_2066010_140061_n.jpg…Out at sea…

So back to the boat; I should probably mention, that, like the unreliable douche bags we are, we missed our first ferry over. This delay, of course, was the result of my perpetually blazed comrades spending the better half of the morning rolling up twenty-four hours worth of travel joints. But sadly, since, I was the only one not high, I was the only one whose panties were bunchin’ as we were running late to the boat.Then matters got more complicated; buying my ticket, I realized that Uruguay has tons of jobs that don’t exist here in the States, which, while may help with the unemployment rate, is a bitch on your travel schedule. First make a RESERVATION with one person to BUY the ticket from another person. Then you go to a third person to check the bags, and a fourth person to check in. On top of this, you have to go through security and two different types of passport control; one attendant stamps your passport and the second one gives you a tiny slip of paper. DON’T LOSE THAT PAPER, or you are not coming back. Of course, no one tells you this until you have lost it and are trying to get the hell out of Uruguay. They look at you like, “Well Buddy, You lost it! Hmm… well, I think my friend is looking to hire someone to take reservations for the ferry back? You’re gonna need work.”

Docking in Montevideo at night was a little scary; as soon as you step off the ferry, dozens of kids attack you at the port asking for money. It’s sad, but terrifying; they point at your eyes and yell “PAIS?” the correct answer is NOT America, as we all know. Upon arriving, we immediately spotted a hostel and ducked inside to check it out. Now mind you, I had never stayed in a hostel before, and therefore had no idea about what kind of expectations or standards to have, but this one had a guy scratching a bunch of scabs off his leg, so I just turned around and walked right out. I think, however, that my lady-hungry friends were ready to stay the night because the girl who worked there was gorgeous, (take that Buenos Aires, “where we send all our people to Uruguay.”) but I was already wandering off. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, one of my fogged up friends sobered up for a split second, just long enough remember that he’d already been to Montevideo, and stayed at the “cuttttttteeest hostel!” (not my words…) What? Cute?! So far, from what I could tell, nothing seemed all that cute about Uruguay, but whatever, we followed him anyway. And low and behold, call it stoner’s luck, we found the place about 2 miles away. The guy flew right into the hostel like a homing pigeon; I have no idea how he did it, Montevideo is huge! I was pretty damn glad he found it though; it was a hostel from a fairy tale, I couldn’t believe it.

5103_91759787545_638497545_2066007_5436873_n.jpg Can you believe this is the hostel? It was so cute inside too, and you could throw parties on the roof.

We then cruised around town, and I honestly fell in love with Montevideo. It is a big city, but not so big you can’t wrap your head around it. It actually had a college campus kind of feel to it, and it’s right on the ocean; the ocean even surrounds it on three sides at some points. Despite my cautions from the Argentinians, it’s actually a really beautiful city with lots of cute shops, art galleries, and the sweetest people; I was so glad we went. The only trouble I had was with figuring out the exchange rate. It was funny, not to mention a bit confusing, to see things like shampoo cost 350 pesos. In addition to cars on the road, there are still horse drawn carts, but with tires on the wheels. It definitely had less money than Buenos Aires, but for me that was perfect. I walked around so much that some of my toenails broke off. On a more pleasant note, the cutest thing about Uruguay is that couples would just sit around fountains and make out. You would be walking, see a fountain, and then notice literally 100 people making out. In the US, you take them back to your place. In Buenos Aires they have little sex hotels, but in Uruguay, it is hard to make money, so you just get it on anywhere you can. Speaking of which, not even half a day went by until my friends had two different groups of girls with us. One was all French girls and they took us to a German electronic avant-garde show at a cool architecture school, and I couldn’t help but think, “how f—ing random is this night?” Next thing I know, a flour fight broke out among the college kids. It was crazy. What was really crazy is they all looked just like every other hipster out there, but because they are from Uruguay, they seemed cuter. I just wanted to bag them all up and take them all home, maybe give them to my friends like they were snow globes.

5103_91765282545_638497545_2066079_1727406_n.jpgI went into Better Life, but the prices were too steep. Lucky for me there was a mediocre life waiting for me around the corner. That is something my wallet can handle.

On a larger scale, I was really inspired by the poor big city of Montevideo, and was excited to see more of Uruguay, so we took a bus to a historic town called Colonia. At first I adored this quaint little beach town, but as soon as I sat down to eat and I heard the people behind me were industry insiders from LA, my happy little back-country bubble went pop. These accidental neighbors represented all the things I wanted to forget about here, but in an even more general sense I found myself avoiding all other Americans abroad. It was bizarre. I’m not a mean guy, but when a guy from South Carolina wanted to tag along and tell me about the nuclear power plant he works on back in the states? I fucking ditched his ass. I am on vacation from YOU! Now let me enjoy my new poor friends and their quaint agrarian ways!

5103_91761572545_638497545_2066016_3751225_n.jpg The scenic Colonia, Uruguay. I think this is a prime spot to open up a Jamba Juice if anyone wants to go in on this franchise opportunity with me . . . maybe an Arby’s as well.

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