well, today was the day that i drank a small bottle of coca cola. i had it with an olympico. it´s a delicious sandwich with egg salad, mortadella (yes, i actually ate meat!), tomatos, other vegetables, white bread, no crust. since i´ve been here, i haven´t seen any type of restaurant that doesn´t serve uruguayan food. and i´ve walked a lot! i haven´t seen a thai, chinese, indian, japanese, french or any other ethnic restaurant. there aren´t that many of them around. there´s probably a few in the nicer neighborhoods. uruguayans aren´t known for being adventurous when it comes to food. they love all kinds of meat, pizza, fries, anything fried, milanesa, chivito (some type of sandwich with meat in the middle), sandwiche caliente, faina, empañadas, pasta and anything spanish or italian because most of the people here are of spanish and italian descent. more than half are spanish. whenever people go out to eat, they go to a cerveceria, bar or pizzeria. they all mean the same thing and they all serve the same type of food. it´s like the pubs in england. kids can go with their parents and it´s open all day and night. all the waiters in these cerveceria´s are men (usually over 40) and in white uniforms. some cerverceria´s are brightly lit with tv´s on the ceiling. others are dark with 20´s lighting fixtures, marble tables, high ceilings, and you can smoke anywhere. i´ve been eating in the cerverceria´s everyday. i like to stop to take a break from all the walking and it´s the only restaurant available anywhere. usually at lunch i always get pizza, so i´m getting really sick of it. i haven´t had a bad pizza yet. they´re all thin and i don´t think they come with any toppings. i´ve only had it with cheese and i´ve only seen other people eating them with only cheese. but i haven´t asked if they could add anything else.
a few things i found today:
when you get your phone or electricity bill you have 3 days to pay for it and if you don´t pay for it within that time period, you get charged interest!
i walked by a store that had guns and riffles on display. and i found out through my aunt that granfather owned one too (for protection). i don´t know if you need a license.
nirvana is very popular here and i´ve already seen 5 people wearing nirvana t-shirts.
yesterday i went on a guided tour of el palacio legislativo (the parliament building). it´s only 2 blocks away from my aunt´s place, where i´m staying. it took 20 years to build and it was finished in 1928. all the materials used to build it were imported from italy. they let me take pictures inside and i can´t wait to show them. some amazing stained glass and 50 different coloured marble. marble is very popular here and it´s not as expensive to buy.
$25 uruguayan pesos= $1 usd
a movie at the cinemateque is $70 pesos. we went to see 25 watts and my aunt hated it. she thought the language was very vulgar. they´re just trying to immitate the argentinians because uruguayans don´t speak that way. they´ve all seen whiskey which is by the same directors and loved it but the sound on this one was too muffled and my parents couldn´t understand very much of it. i really love the soundtrack and i stayed until the end to find out who the bands were. one of them was los exitos and today i was at a record store and found a 60´s uruguayan comp with los exitos so i bought it. the owner told me that old uruguayan records from the 60´s are so hard to find. he had a record by los mockers that sold for $200 usd. he asked me where i was from and i told him and when i told him that i was born here but left at 5 yrs, he said: "don´t ever come back to live here". it´s a hard life here.
tomorrow morning we´re taking a catamaran to buenos aires. it takes an hour. then there´s a 2 hour bus ride. i just heard that buenos aires is even more dangerous than montevideo. so far, the only place i´ve been on my own is crossing the street to the internet cafe. when it starts getting dark, you hardly see anyone walking down the street. in la cuidad vieja they had a police man in a bullet proof jacket and a dog. i was in my old neighborhood today "la teja" for the first time on this trip and they had a security guard and a dog in front of the pharmacy. la teja is getting worse. it´s so poor and that awful store where my dad´s house used to be is a cheese video store with an internet cafe. he designed that store and it´s full of cheese painted signs. we went there because beside that house was the house that i was raised in and that my dad still owns. my uncle and his daughter are dentists and they have a practice in a room in our house that´s blocked from another part of the house that we lived in. he checked my teeth and told me i had a small cavity that he´s going to take care of before i go.
after 5 days in buenos aires, we´re coming back here for one night. then going away for 2 weeks to piriapolis. it´s a small town 2 hours east of montevideo. the beaches there are so clean and clear. it´s so gorgeous. we rented a house by the beach and i can´t wait. i´ve been there before. it´s not too much of a touristy resort. punta de leste is cheesy and commercial! for wealthy argitinians and celebrities who want to be photographed in the clubs and talked about in the society pages of the papers. they have shows on tv about it. we´re going to spend a day there. at first i was upset that we´re going to spend so long in a small town but now the noise here is getting on my nerves. it´s not just the noise from the traffic, you also hear ads all day from speakers on the street and sometimes on top of cars.
did you know that buenos aires is one hour behind montevideo? i didn´t until recently. or maybe i forgot. it´s weird because they´re very close together. closer than toronto and montreal. i don´t really understand how time zones work. i´m 6 hours ahead of pacific time here. so it´s 6 hours ahead of whatever it says at the bottom of this blog.
an 8 year old kid tried to steal my hat today. then i bumped into another one and he accused me of hitting him! they´re so bad. their parents send them out to go stealing. it´s very disturbing!
other things i´ve noticed on this trip:
- i saw an 8 year old girl buy beer in a grocery store.
- you dan drink while walking down the street.
- the beer comes in 960 ml bottles and i saw someone holding that huge bottle while walking downtown.
- most cars are small and use diesel gas. it´s a drag because it makes it noisier and smellier. it´s not good for your complexion either. everytime i clean my face with a cleanser and cotton ball, the cotton turns black!
- when you see someone on a horse and carriedge, it´s because they´re poor and they´re collecting garbage. they go through the bins and sort the garbage and keep some of it. i don´t know for what reason or what they get for it.
i went on a tour of this incredible theatre built in 1856. it was closed recently for 6 years because of a fire. they´re reopened last year and it´s gorgeous. i took some photos inside. they let us go backstage where the dressing rooms are. my uncle´s brother when out with an actress who worked in that theatre. she died 10 years ago of anorexia. 7 years ago when i was here, my aunt gave me a lot of her make up that i stil have but it´s probably to old to wear.
i don´t know if i´ll write tomorrow so i spent an extra 3 pesos today and stayed a whole hour. i´m not sure how busy or crazy it´s going to be in buenos aires. i hope i don´t get mugged or kidnapped!