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PADDY'S BRAZIL URUGUAY ARGENTINA  TOUR
MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY

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Sunday March  13,  2011. Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay, a small country across from Buenos Aires on the River Plate. We started walking towards  town, and met an ubiquitous statue of the Uruguayan hero, Jose Gervasio Artigas, the liberator of Uruguay

                   

We passed the Municipal Palace, with a statue of David on its front. We also saw saw the remnants of what was once a wall surrounding the city. It has been kept as a reminder of things past.

 

                                                                               

We took  taxicab to the center of town. The driver showed us the old Presidential House as well as the new one, in a much more modern building.

 

              

    

Afterwards we went to the Battle & Ordo˝ez Park, where we visited an icon of the city, La Carreta,  depicting a wagon pulled by oxen. It is a bronze complex of statues created by Jose Belloni in 1934, and it shows how people moved about before the invention of the railroads.

 

                             

Our driver showed us a typical plant, whose fruits resemble the human ear. He and Kate modeled for us.

 

         

The Teatro Solis is the main theatre in Montevideo. It has concerts, ballet, operas, and plays. Classical music and ballet are world-class in Montevideo. We went by a primary school, Escuela # 100 Hector Figoli, with its walls adorned in pastel geometric shapes.

 

              

The Estadio Centenario is an important stadium where football is played, as well as other sports, with walls also painted in pastel colors. We also passed by a state-of-the-art children's hospital, where the most advanced techniques for treating illnesses are in place.

 

              

Street art is common here as well, as evidenced by some striking and colorful graffiti. We walked along the shore, by the boats anchored there, until we got to the Plaza de la Armada, or the Plaza d'Arms, where we could see a whimsical sculpture representing a man and a woman embracing while forming a circle with their bodies.

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Our driver took us on a tour of the most expensive area of town. As opposed to Punta del Este, security fences are in abundance here.

         

On the way back, he showed us where the really poor people live. It was a sorry contrast seeing the squalor surrounding the abodes of the indigents.

 

              

Back in the city we saw a statue of some illustrious man who appears to be taking a step forward. The locals say he has been waiting for a number of years to cross the busy intersection surrounding the monument. In a nearby park, El Prado, we saw a depiction of the Charrua Indians. Done in 1988, it depicts a group of Indians who were taken captives to Paris in 1883. They never returned home. The Charrua indians fought for over three centuries to defend their freedom against the military forces of two empires. They fought alongside some of the most important people of the revolutionary era.

 

                    

In the same park we saw a gigantic tree. It was the omb˙, also called "the sentinel of the Pampas". It reminded me of the Bao-Bao tree mentioned in The Little Prince. By now we were getting hungry, so we decided to stop at a nearby grill to taste the famous asado. Even tough the atmosphere was nice, I didn't think the meat was that great. I guess they export their best meat. We were treated to some funky music provided by an itinerant saxophone player.

 

                 

On the way to the port to re-board our ship, we went by a monument showing the anchor of the ill fated Graf Spee, one of the most famous German naval warships of WW II, that sunk numerous Allied boats during the battles. It was finally tracked down to the Rio de la Plata, in Dec 1939, where it was damaged, seeking refuge in the neutral Montevideo port, but was forced to leave by international naval laws. The captain scuttled the ship rather than expose her to overwhelming odds. We also saw some international welcome signs and some other remains of the war. Thus ended our visit to Uruguay. Tomorrow, Argentina, my native land.

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