Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Puenta del Esta, Uruguay

I thought Greg was making a mistake, taking his rain jacket on his add-on trip when we were in Puenta del Esta.  We had enjoyed a 3 hour day trip on a coach – seen the Atlantic and the Rivera de la Plata on the side of the peninsula, driven to the Ralli Museum, gawked at the upscale neighbourhoods of the city, heard explanations about the poor neighbourhoods we had driven through and then gone over the iconic bridge of Puenta del Esta – its shape is like the curves of a woman’s body.  Imagine a group of 40 retiree’s being asked if they want to do the bridge again, this second time at high speed.  All had to agree which put a lot of pressure on the timid and those with pace makers. There was so much happiness among the old as the driver began to pick up speed. I suspected he would come to a full stop, but no – he hit the highway at full speed, the bus load of oldies screaming as though some could remember a time when they did this at the fair on holidays.

Greg walked around the island without us.  He was right to take his jacket.  The thunder clouds rolled in and poured rain.  The tender boat loaded up for the last trip back to the boat.  As Greg tells the story, the crew took in the last of the poles, the huge canisters of water and cool towels that they greet us with on the shore when we are returning to the boat. But as the fully loaded tender took off, a crew member slipped into the water, the boat moving up against him and crushing his leg against a tire.  The captain rushed to the back.  They took the crew member on top of the tender to look at the wound at which time he fainted.  So off the tender came all 160 passengers and the equipment and the tender went high speed to the hospital, the passengers waiting for the next boat.

That day, our tour guide had apologized for talking so much – she said that people only remember 10% of what they hear on tours.  That will be difficult to prove by Greg, Wyona and me.  We talked for a long while about the depth of the information we learned about Uruguay’s economy, politics, and government.  Did you know that there are 3.2 million people in Uruguay and 12 million cows.  Fewer sheep.  Only 3 per person.  Wyona and I were ready to buy leather, but it is exported for car seats and beautiful leather coats sold elsewhere.  “You are more likely to buy Uruguayan leather in another country than in ours,” she told us.

The Ralli Museum had many pieces by Salvador Dali.  Janet and Wyona spent a day in London looking at a Dali exhibit and Wyona could still  remember what to look for in a Dali painting.  I spent a day in Catalonia doing the same thing at the Dali Museum.  Now was a chance to see some of his travelling work.  Wyona took on my job –keeping the group (of two) moving.  I was in a linger longer space.  She knew that the bus was pulling out of the museum parking lot in 40 minutes and we had a lot of pieces to see.

A day to always remember.  Even though I have already forgotten to tell you about the Pablo Atchugarry work we saw.

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