12.17.2008 - 12.24.2008 75 °F
Trying our best not to get into the finer workings of Buenos Aires before Gur arrives, we quickly skipped town and floated on over to Uruguay. My trivia-knowledge of this country stops with Montevideo – the answer to: What is the capital city of Uruguay? This information still somehow remains from Mr. Schrock’s 11th grade geography class. Now, with a week of educating myself firsthand in the land of the world famous Beatle-look-a-likes – Los Shakers (thanks Molly for that tid-bit) – I can pass on the following information:
1. Uruguay was part of Argentina for a long time.
2. That is why their flag looks a lot like Argentina’s (same color and sun symbol).
3. There are nine stripes on the flag to represent the nine original colonies (there are 19 total now) – do
you think they copied that idea from us?
4. The “freedom sun” represents their ousting of Spain way back when.
5. They use to be a wealthy country at some point, but not now.
So if any of these inside, detailed, fun-facts wins you the top spot at your local pub’s trivia tournament, you can buy me a beer upon my return.
Enough of the educational stuff… what we really found out is that it’s summer time, and with summer time, locals travel. Fine city-folk leave their lofts and condos and head to the beach towns. Proper vacation time has been handed out for the holiday season and school is out for the summer, so shamefully knowing how each of our families are sloshing through another winter season back home, we followed suite. Sorry, but while in Uru, do as the Guayans!
Colonia was the first of our two stops. I liked this place. It was a throw-back to the towns of the 1950’s. Old Studebakers and Fords still parked on tree-covered streets, while cast-iron lamp posts still light the hole-in-the-wall markets and hardware shops and their hand-painted windows (faded throughout time). Scooters buzz along and there are no stop lights to be found. There are also plenty of local eateries with outdoor seating and a historic lighthouse overlooking the town’s coastline. People post-up in lawn chairs outside of their residents and greet passers-by while sipping on their matte – a constant staple of life here in the Big U. A good overall feel at a great price with ideal weather and a multitude of beach options = Happy Days (minus the Fonz)!
The most delicious steak sandwich of all time - fly and all!
The debut of the new Brazilian bikini.
Montevideo was the second. I had heard/read good things about it, but left without finding them. The capital was barren, almost ghost-town-like in certain neighborhoods. Some businesses had closed shop and others were running on reduced hours. We spoke at length with the owner of a small book store in the historic area and he jokingly told us, “Montevideo doesn’t exist in January – come back in February.” But it was still December damnit!
There were rumors of an art scene, of youthful energy renewing an old city, and I wanted to find, feel and become inspired. I imagined taking over one of the old colonial buildings, creating the Bagavagabonds South American Headquarters. Gutting, renovating and the stylizing the space to accommodate friends and artists alike - a place to gather, create, produce and exhibit. Plenty of the neighborhoods were perfect for something like this. It got me pumped up. I needed to make something. And so I did: MON->T->EV->ideo
Maybe this is the start of a trend for me on this trip. I hope so. I want to practice and explore my skills. I want to have my thoughts and feelings come out through art, in this case collage. It’s inspired from the street, a random collection of found trash, a portrait of a city littered by American pop culture.
The creative spirit continued through our pictures and photo shoots -so many weathered and textured backdrops, colorful graffiti murals and aging architecture. Now all it needs is people!
For more pictures from the Big U, click below: