Travel Journal

From Foz do Iguacu to Montevideo

(Saturday 13 June 2009) by Brennan-adventures
Hello again, it’s me pestering you all.
Some of you have told me you don’t know how to find the photos.
When you are on the first page of the Brennans adventures, look to the left hand side near the top of the page. You will see a list, one of the options is GALLERY...... This is where you will see the photos, hope you enjoy!!

Well on Monday we were still in Foz do Iguacu, Mike went off to the dam, I managed to stay at the Hotel. He did have an exciting time however and got to plant a tree with his name on a plaque… quite the dignitary now!! He looks proud as punch on the photo, and likes the idea of him being remembered in Brasil. If we return in 10 years it may even be producing fruit!! *_*

Tuesday morning saw us having our laundry returned… I thought I was getting the full wash/ iron service… clearly not. It smelled lovely but looked like it had been ironed with a brick, not a chance of wearing them like that!!
We were off to Argentina again, this time to the airport just over the border. We decided to leave the car at the hotel for the few days we were away and get a taxi there. Mike asked them to phone the same driver that had taken us to the falls and who had waited 3 hours for us.
Marcos arrived and off we headed; arriving at the airport he told us to phone him for the return pickup. When we asked how much we owed him, he said pay when you return…. 6 days time. We however were not comfortable with this… what if something happened and we missed him?? He would be down the cost of a fare, so we paid him for the journey. I still cannot get my head around this trust in other people.

Once inside the airport we found the flight to Buenos Aires had been cancelled… HELP.... we had a connection to Montevideo (Uruguay).
There was another carrier flying to Buenos Aires one hour later than our supposed flight and they just transferred us over, no stress or hassle. ... We think if one carriers plane was not full instead of 2 planes flying they transfered one set of passengers over to save money.
We are spending 2 nights in Montevideo then heading back to Buenos Aires for 4 days. Marilene and Vicente will join us in B.A. Vicente had to be coerced kicking and screaming to come… The Brazilians have a really negative idea about Argentina and football does not help the situation. However once they have visited they realise the Argentineans are not out to get them, nor is the country richer than Brasil. Most come back with a love of the place… lets hope Vicente Lopes feels the same. His ancestry is Spanish and there is a street in B.A. with the same name as him !!
We are going to be staying in a flat for hire there so that will be a new experience for us; it is a normal thing to do in South America if there are more than 3 people sharing. The price can be too expensive just for two people and maybe more cost effective to stay in a hotel.
We are going to surprise two friends coming to visit us in Brasil, they start their South American journey in B.A. and have no idea yet we will pop in to their hotel and see them…. I am getting really excited about surprising them.

Well we arrived in Uruguay ok. There was one person at the customs post at the airport. Everyone was just walking through an empty booth area; I walked up to the agent sitting at the customs and she waved me through. I told her we were English; and still we were waved through without a stamp in the passport…. Hope we have no problem leaving!!
We decided to try and get some money out of the ATM machine, however not sure how many Uruguayan pesos there was to #1.00 sterling, we were unsure how many zeros to put after the number. Mike chose 500 …. We got 1 note !! We knew then there were quite a few pesos to the #. We later found out there were 36 pesos to the #.
The taxi ride was horrendous I think the driver was practising to be a F1 driver; I had my eyes closed at the scary bits!!

We passed lots of large lovely houses, really English in style, They looked very like the ones up near Kew in London….. I was amazed.

Next morning we went off for a walk along the seafront, it was a little cold but sunny. Montevideo looked quite an affluent place, clean and tidy. The old part if the city had building very European in style, some however were a little dilapidated. I think they are starting to redevelop the area, and everywhere was very clean, including the people!! The prices were very reasonable once you did the conversion. The food here is mostly Italian, lots of pizzas and pasta and they do not like fruit juice so much, mostly Coke and Fanta. However I can get Twinings English Breakfast Tea….first real tasting tea for months!! Also the Uruguayans like cakes, biscuits and croissants, so no problem finding things to eat!!

We also found a park with lots of huge plastic Bears; each country in the world had been asked to decorate a bear for peace. On the photos you see some of them.
The primary school children here wear a strange uniform… Boys and Girls have the same kind of white tunic/coat over their normal clothes with a large blue bow at the neck…. Very strange!!
I would definitely come back to see more of Uruguay… although there are not many touristy things to do. The people here are very friendly and kind, the only problem is the cold!!!

Ok now a quiz any idea what Uruguay is famous for?? You guys in U.K. should know, used to be the only kind of corned beef you could buy!!........ Fray Bentos corned beef is made here and there is a Uruguayan stamp to prove it on the photos.

Thursday, we had a little time before we were on the move again. We went for a mooch around the graveyard….Yes we are strange, but the graves and tombs abroad are fascinating. We saw one that looked just like the Tardis… A childrens T.V. program in the U.K. where “The Doctor” whizzes around in time and space, fighting the aliens and saving the planets. His time machine (Tardis) is an old police box, that looks small on the outside but is huge inside. Look at the photos and the Brits among you tell me if you agree??!!
We also saw some really strange parrots nests, built under the branches; the birds certainly made a terrible noise!! Later in the day we got a taxi to the bus station, this was a large, busy and noisy place. There were lots of bus companies competing for business and some of the buses went as far as Sao Paulo!!!! We recon it must take over 24hours to get there.

Our company was called Buquebus.
The journey started with a 2 hours bus trip around the coast to a place called Colonia where we were getting a ferry across the river plate. This way the crossing takes 1 hour…. Quite enough time for a land-lover like me. 8-O

The journey round took us through other parts of the city, and I think I may revise my first impressions. Out of the city centre there is a lot of rubbish lying around and the buildings are very small and poor looking. The people also looked pretty poor to me. There are a lot of fields, about the size of English fields, growing grapes, apples and salad Vegetables. We also saw cows, goats and some pigs. The strange thing was they were in groups of no more than 10 in a field……looked very odd. The roads that we travelled was through very flat countryside, a lot like the north of France.
All of the factories we past were powered by burning wood, so huge wood piles are stacked alongside each factory. Where we travelled there were not too many forests, so where this wood comes from I do not know.
Our suitcases were put into the coach, then when we disembarked for the Ferry the bags were put onto special carts to be taken onto the boat. I was very impressed, but checked ours was actually loaded!!
We then had to pass through customs.
The conversation went something like this…..

Where is your paperwork???
……. “We have none, and did not get a stamp in our passport”.

Why not??
….. “The customs officer at the airport told us to pass through”

You got some paperwork in Argentina??
“ Yes this” (He smiled and took it).

Here is your stamp in the passport for Uruguay. (Pointing to a stamp on a page of my passport)
“ Where, how did that get there? It was not stamped in Uruguay”

No it is done in Argentina, just like we do now. I stamp you out of Uruguay and he (pointing to the man sitting next to him) stamps you into Argentina.

…….Well did we feel stupid, and thinking back to Argentina there had been two girls in the customs booth, we assumed just having a chat!! Well now we know the system it all make sense.
I am sitting on the ferry with my seasick bands on and hating this rocking action…:-x. We can see stuff-all as its pitch dark so I might as well be flying!! ……. Roll on dry land.


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