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I caught a local bus a couple of streets away from my hotel, on a quiet holiday morn with few people and little vehicular traffic. Once off the bus I walked some blocks to the Central cemetery and found unusual aspects to others I have seen in previous cemeteries. First – through the grand entrance.
In the centres of three large areas were fairly ‘normal’ tombstones and grave-sites, even if (see first photo) Byzantium was being recreated to some extent by the mosaics, or (see second photo) Zeus was sat on the grave replacing the Christian God.
Around the edges were high walls full of the once living.
The building in the middle of one of the three large courts had colourful stained-glass windows and the light glowed through.
Then I set out and walked through the poor suburb of Barrio Sur and discovered lots of
- wall art
- a thriving local market where vegetables were for sale,
- and, and, and– wait for it – a vegana café. What joy! What love flowed! What excitement! What happiness my stomach said. Still-warm, roasted root vegetables with a French lentil warm mix, baked onions and lots lots more. Plus, a great deal of happy chatter with others who don’t eat carne, pollo or queso. As I type, I relive the wonderful memory. May there be other such joys on these travels.
Onward, back in the direction of the ‘cuidad vieja’ where I ‘live’, until I reached the Teatro Solis.
The building was open but not the actual auditorium – I would have needed to wait until 4pm for an English-speaking guided tour and it was only 2pm. Had a look around at photographic displays upstairs and an exhibition of awful contemporary art in the basement.
Sat in the café with a pot of Irish Breakfast tea – ahhh the simple pleasures – and read, to the extent I could, a local newspaper.
Read a story about big decorations at the Mexican Embassy and news of big Day of the Dead celebrations at 5pm. So, I set off to find the Mexican Embassy. Found it but all locked up; the streets were empty almost (I love public holidays – the people stay out in the suburbs as do most of their cars).
Plodded onward and could enjoy the architecture – could even stand in the middle of the road to take photos without fear of being mown down by speeding buses.
Walked on passing shops selling marijuana – legal for Uruguayans but illegal for tourists/non-residents.
And I focused a bit on Mate and Mate drinkers, but I didn’t ask to share any more.
When I reached the port area I decided to determine where my ship might come in. No-one knew. A gorgeous French couple, straight off their plane from Paris, asked the same question. Alas. Via the nearby supermarket where I picked up a prepacked salad and a tin of sardines and more water, I arrived back at the hotel late afternoon. My room hadn’t yet been cleaned so I went downstairs and ordered a glass of Uruguayan Tannat/Merlot wine and chatted amiably with the receptionist who was most interesting on all sorts of Uruguayan matters – he was a much-travelled mature age student currently studying for an Economics degree with the expectation of getting a plum job in the public service. Not the least interesting tidbit was that he mentioned perhaps another half dozen guests in this hotel would be travelling to Antarctica on the same ship – including an elderly couple from Australia. I picked them easily when they returned from an early dinner and we chatted for ages. Enough of that.
Back in my room I enjoyed the final supper. Checked from the hotel rooftop and could see Le Lyrial moored at the wharf. My ship has come in! Then I slept after a happy day.