Fixpoint

2019-12-14

Uruguay parte 4: el turismo es trabajo

Filed under: Historia, Politikos, Vita — Jacob Welsh @ 16:11

Concluding from Parte 3.

On Sunday my host generously treated me to a five or six hour walking tour of the city, starting at the Feria de Tristan Narvajo, a weekly flea market named after the street it centers on in the Cordon neighborhood, where we browsed a while, then headed west along Avenida 18 de Julio through Centro to Ciudad Vieja (old town) and the seaport, then back and northeast to El Obelisco and finally back southeast to Pocitos. His extensive time on the pavement and accumulated trove of information became all the more apparent. He figured we did about ten miles on foot on this part of the day alone and noted it was certainly more than whatever else passes for tours these days.

The previous night he had made his rounds near the site of previous post-election destruction and observed light tank, helicopter and searchlight presence, apparently effective at deterring a third weekly recurrence.

Once I had managed to rouse myself, grab a bite and walk to his place, we proceeded by cab to be sure to catch the Feria. As at the airport, the orange-and-white themed cab system is far more orderly than Panama's, with taxi stands (this one unoccupied presumably due to being Sunday, but we didn't have to wait long for one to stop by), metering, divider between front and back seats and a better kept (or at least more consistently so) fleet from what I saw. Cost is higher but still reasonable.

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Exiting Pocitos, looking northbound down the Boulevard General Artigas if I'm not mistaken.

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Things get a bit less polished in Cordon.

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Arriving at the entrance to the Feria.

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My illustrious guide.

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The Feria had all manner of things from varyingly finished woodwork...

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to outright junk...

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to antiques such as typewriters...

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guns...

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rotary phones, some sporting the Antel brand which has enjoyed its monopoly from the early days...

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treadles...

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kerosene lamps...

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mechanical calculators...

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and more guns...

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to clothing, plants, birds...

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to cameras new and old...

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to some nice amethyst, one of the few items of local origin...

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and more generic polished rocks.

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Not pictured were stands with fresh produce, empanadas and similar prepared bites, jewelry, books (mainly well-used and yellowing paperbacks from what I saw), and paraphernalia for Mate consumption.(i) Something to do with cannabis too, its being fully legalized now: some "art" but I don't recall whether any consumables.

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Exiting the Feria onto 18 de Julio where we find an Universidad de la Republica. The stand in front with red handwriting was promoting a hunger strike (better pictured).

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Some live percussion on the corner...

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Then a national library...

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where Cervantes, or perhaps his ingenious Don, reminds us that he who reads much and walks much, sees much and knows much.

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Many shops here were closed for Sunday, leaving a good view of the graffiti on the roll-down metal covers protecting the glass within.

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McD's will use old buildings if needed to get that corner real estate.

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The local Communists and friends, known as the Frente Amplio, fly an inverted Russian flag.

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Aaron takes note of a new message scrawled on the Ministry of Social Destruction by someone who doesn't want her rights pissed on. Er, stepped on.

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The Bronze Statue of Man on Horse series begins.

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The Intendencia de Montevideo, a government office and one of the taller buildings with Mirador public observatory from which we were going to "see the entire city (if not up close)"; sadly it was closed that day, for reasons the posted officers didn't know.

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A particularly elegant cupola, I thought, with neighboring buildings of entirely differing character.

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The lamppost builletin board is alive and well.

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I would have liked to see if the arcade machines were as old as the signage evokes.

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Park with some epic struggle depicted, fountain not operational...

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But side fountains were.

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A look toward the Palacio Legislativo, suggesting this is from Plaza Fabini.

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Four blocks further and we reach the sizable Plaza Independencia, marking the transition from Centro to Ciudad Vieja.

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Presidential office gets a nice building. Whatever's to the right, not so much.

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Nor do the offices look much more pleasant inside.

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Radisson.

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The biggest statue is for national hero Artigas, who died in exile. I'm told that ashes are kept below and might even be his.

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Old city gate.

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There's this rainbow-filled park-of-sorts tucked around a corner.

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Pictures and sign read "Trans Law Now", "Fight for Diversity", "Constructing the future with love".

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Back to park-like parks; some National Party colors.

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First glimpse of the port down a street in Ciudad Vieja.

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It's a mix of the very old and the new.

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Instituto Nacional de Colonizacion: I'm told there's an active homesteading program for unused land in the interior.

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Caribaldi, chief of naval forces of the Republic, 1842-1848.

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Across the water to the Antel tower, tallest building in the country at 158m if the Internet is to be believed.

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Port facilities.

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Holding pen for containers, and a cruise ship.

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View across the water to what might be a refinery, past some wreckage I hadn't noticed at the time.

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Radar, presumably for maritime traffic control.

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Fortress atop a distant hill.

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There was this nice semi-indoor plaza, the one exception to the uniform restaurant cost thing.

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The town has its run-down parts.

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It's a peninsula, with water visible in both directions.

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I hadn't recalled seeing an evergreen yet.

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As-yet unidentified man on horse. And sheep.

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Juniper if I'm not mistaken.

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Itau and BBVA branches.

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Some fine woodwork on the Palacio Santos, home of the ministry of foreign relations.

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En esta plaza, el dia 24 de abril de 1925 el fisico Albert Einstein mantuvo un dialogo con el filosofo uruguayo Carlos Vaz Ferreira.

Homenaje del Consejo de Educacion Tecnico Profesional (UTU) y el Gobierno Departamental de Montevideo 30 de junio de 2005, a los 100 años de la Teoria de la Relatividad

If the bench were traveling half the speed of light, would it still fit within the chains?

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Lavalleja.

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In Ciudad Vieja and on the way back we were approached two or three times by beggars: bold, persistent, sad stories at the ready, and ungrateful when I did once offer a coin against my better judgement.

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Back at Cordon, the Feria was packing up. Below, one of the air-cooled VWs that provide an inexpensive transport option as many were produced nearby (Brazil?) and imports otherwise face steep tariffs.

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Classic Plymouth soft-top, apparently in decent shape, a rare sight here.

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We made our way to this freestanding radio tower, marking an approximate center of the city and visible from many directions due to height.

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Mega-flag and mega-cross; Aaron tells me there were three when the Pope made his one and only visit.

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The promised obelisk: A los constituyentes de 1830. Bystanders included at the base for scale.

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Heading back to Pocitos; there's a hospital complex behind the row of trees. Perhaps you'll recall this boulevard from the cab ride.

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Petrobras, soon to be leaving the country.

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Pole painted in Commie colors; private school in the background.

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Church of Christ, Scientist. No sign of Scientologists though.

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This time we dined at a Club de la Papa Frita. Determined to get in some beach time, we went home to change and, at least in my case, rest up a bit from the day's mileage.

A waxing gibbous hangs above the Rambla just before dusk.

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Hitting the beach, with sunset peeking through the distant showers.

Health hazards are sometimes flagged for the water e.g. due to city runoff after a rain or cyanobacterial blooms, but no problems this time.

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We walked the surf for a ways then back. Among topics that came up were DDoS attacks; Aaron reflected on how they had varied depending on time and context, comparing things to a shallow beach where waves can travel far and steeper beach where they break.

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180+ saved shots yet only one of the cameraman; I oughta take more initiative about requesting these.

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A look at the hotel room prior to rolling out Monday morning.

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The balconies were a nice touch, at least on this side that faces street rather than concrete wall.

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Kitchenette stocked with plates, glasses and cutlery; works for leftovers if not quite for cooking.

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Bathroom with separate bidet, which might be the first time I'd seen this type IRL. (Panama does this hose on the wall thing, cheaper I suppose.)

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At center, the World Trade Center tower that once housed a datacenter, the failure of which set in motion the whole chain of events that led me to this spot.

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The cab driver tuned to a radio program on which there happened to be some extended chatter about Bitcoin y Blockchain en Uruguay. I didn't make out much but it sounded like someone promoting a conference.

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Chilling at the gate, this time with plenty of time to spare. The wait for check-in was reasonable; security was noticeably less obnoxious just for that seemingly small difference of leaving shoes and coats alone.

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Eat enough of those Uruguayan portions of mozzarella and you too could transition from underwear model to pear.

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Perhaps airplane photos are a cliche but I still enjoy them...

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Likely the Hipodromo de Moroñas, from a glance at the map.

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Unlike Panama, Uruguay supplied real butter with the airplane dinner. Aaron also tells me that unlike Europe, they produce consistently unadulterated olive oil.

Near Peru, some Andes poking through the clouds.

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Approaching Panama.

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The decent beaches here are a ways out from the city.

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Clockwise from bottom: the causeway islands of Amador; the old town Casco Viejo with bypass on the water, the coastal Avenida Balboa, Punta Paitilla.

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Mouth of the canal.

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Punta Paitilla and the manmade Punta Pacifica, with recently added islands.

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On arrival I had what seemed like at least a kilometer to walk from gate to immigration; the moving walkways along the way were out of service just as they'd been my last several trips. Despite walking briskly and getting in the short line for residents, by the time I got through the bags from my flight had already been unloaded from the belt and stood in a row. I suppose they think this is helpful, or necessary to make room; it does tend to confuse the newbies.

I faced another vague list of things requiring customs declaration, citing all sorts of old and recent laws and decrees, and decided I could argue that my stuff qualified for exemption if need be while declaring might draw additional scrutiny. It probably would have been about the same either way. As I'd mentioned, the servers attracted some curiosity on the X-ray belt, but no further trouble once it was clarified they were my own, not TVs, used, relevant to occupation, or whatever other checksums the agent was looking for.

Congratulations: we've made it to the end. I hope you've enjoyed the tour of the tour; I certainly enjoyed the thing itself and the recounting. Till next time, que les vaya bien!

  1. Hot infusion of Yerba Mate, the local caffeinated drink of choice and apparently something of a ritual involving special gourds and straws, though I didn't get to witness or try. [^]

3 Comments »

  1. I enjoyed this quite a lot and had a re-read too because on one hand it's almost painful to take it all in and on the other hand it does give quite the clear idea re that what isn't - even more so through my perhaps personal lens of what could have been but isn't. So thank you for all the photos! And for your comments too that are indeed so much more you than before that snappy phase :P Also, haircut looks way better indeed, worth a few more photos for sure.

    The above aside, that "Feria" is so much.... targul de vechituri (~junk market - or perhaps even better put as odds and sods) that it seems quite representative overall.

    Comment by Diana Coman — 2019-12-15 @ 14:14

  2. Cheers!

    Comment by Jacob Welsh — 2019-12-15 @ 20:25

  3. @Diana Coman - I suspect there's still room to plumb the depths of "what isn't", but... In my case all of this has become so incredibly normal.

    There's also a substantial portion of the feria occupied by fruit, veggie, cheese, and other food dealers, but... after the sea of junk it is hard to for the food sellers to impress. We also came into the feria from the back side. The more typical way to enter per local traffic flows is where we exited the feria.

    Comment by BingoBoingo — 2019-12-19 @ 14:46

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