Thursday, November 26, 2009

Patrick first days in BA

I can't believe it's already day four of Patrick's BA stay. After our relaxing weekend we returned to Casa Cochobamba and Josh and I returned to work. As usual I've been attempting to balance being a tourist and a teacher and as usual sleep is last on the list. Now it's already Thanksgiving and I'm at work all day away from home and family but its ok because Patty is here and I've got my BA family!!! More on that later. Until then here are some photos from Patrick's first few days in BA.
We of course hit up the Recoleta Cemetery

And then we of course hit up Bomba del Tiempo where we saw the most amazing guest performance by a random guy with a ukulele.

And of course we got burned in the Eco Reserve and brought meat and cheese and bread for a picada.

And then Patty had his first Choripan at his first asado.

And he was happy.

Montevidean Meanderings

Finally, a vacation from BA! I know I wasn't in the States too long ago, but it had been sometime since I did some old fashioned sightseeing or unabashedly walked around a place with my camera out and my English at a tourist volume for an extended period of time. Patrick's visit was perfectly timed with my visa expiration, so we decided a trip to Montevideo would be just the thing. Having read a good article about the city in the New York Times we decided we could make a long weekend of it and whisked Patrick off to the ferry hours after arriving.
We arrived in the afternoon, checked into our hostel and headed to the beach. Unlike Buenos Aires, Montevideo really makes use or their coastal status. They have built a beautiful boardwalk and there is even sand you can hang out on. People run and bike the long length of the boardwalk or just share maté with friends. We brought our trusty maté and thermos with us and headed out to join the locals.

Patrick gets an education in maté and its love at first sip

Fani is with us where ever we go (the building is called Edificio Fanny)

On the beach and happy

Sand between our toes, maté in our hands

The next day it was raining on a off, so we decided to do all of our sightseeing. We were staying in the Pocitos neighborhood so we took the bus towards the old city and found this big plaza.

This building was supposedly inspired by Dante's Inferno

Patrick is happy he's not testing anyone for HIV even if it is drizzling

We wandered up a pedestrian street and noticed that most things were closed. We then happened upon this book shop and after poking through enough books we were offered coffee and then eventually ended up buying books by Uruguayan authors.

Uruguayan hospitality

I had read about a museum that I wanted to visit so we headed over and were distracted by these antique cars. The one below had an old bicycle in the back too!

Next we headed to the museum which was dedicated to a Jewish artist from Eastern Europe that grew up and lived in Montevideo. We decided to start upstairs when what do you know? We found some tables that were perfect for a game of Gin Rummy and some maté.

The museum was quite good, even though this guy was a little too inspired by some other artists if you asked me. A lot of his work was so obviously Chagall influenced I wasn't sure what to make of it. After we saw all there was to see we headed out to see the old city. This is what would be the San Telmo like area of the city, but as you will see its nothing like San Telmo.

A parking lot no one wants to use because its Saturday

Stairs to nowhere land

Traveling with ladder

Busted up wooden door, Patrick, Josh, and old car

We stopped for lunch at the big market which was not at all what I expected. It was chock full of parillas and as loud as an auction. We had no idea how to choose a place so settled on one with three seats together at the bar and ordered three Chevitos, the local favorite. Our waiter was also the dish washer and also prepared some of the food and assisted at the cash register. He was not amused by our touristy desires and gave Josh the look of death when asked if Josh's sunnyside up egg could get a little more time on the grill. He then refused.

Patrick and his first plate of meat

We continued to walk around after lunch. We were full, very full, and walked slowly through the rest of the old city. As we walked it was more and more abandoned. Many building were filled with squatters and they weren't trying to hide it. I tried to imagine San Telmo being like this and I couldn't.

An occupant of this building informed us that it was meant to be a bank but now is home to many residents of Montevideo including himself.

For dinner the night before we had gone to El Horno de Juan (Juan's Oven) for the best pizza I've had in South America. The second night we decided to stay at the hostel and enjoyed Guiso and meat with some other travelers.

The next day promised sun so we rented bikes in the morning and headed out to see the rest of the city before we hit the beach to catch some rays that Patrick's skin desperately needed.

Filling up our tires with air

We walked our bikes through a flea market that was clearly not meant for tourists like all the markets in Buenos Aires. It was full of locals and items the locals might want.

Patrick stops to look at some books he can't read

Need to fix your wagon? Not an unreasonable question. This city had more people riding around on horse pulled contraptions than Cairo. They use these wagons to collect paper, cardboard, glass and plastic. The poor people in BA have to pull and push these heavy carts around the city, but in Montevideo you've got another option!

Vendors drinking maté non-stop.

Bombilla heaven at the stand where Patrick finally found his Che Guevara adorned Maté

On the boardwalk:

We stopped for lunch at a restaurant we had found the day before called Parilla del Lobo. It was just as awesome as we'd hoped. We tested all their option and ordered two types of meat, a pasta and a fish. After lunch I realized my bike had a flat tire, but I swear it must have happened before lunch...and not as a result of my stuffing my face with amazing Uruguayan fare.

We finally got some beach time but our peace was interrupted by political rallies

Grilling back at the hostel, but with wood instead of coal

And here ends our lovely weekend in Montevideo. We grilled veggies for dinner having eaten way too much meat and then headed out VERY early the next morning to begin our BA adventures.