Tuesday (Martes) 30th March, 2010
Day 382

Montevideo, Uruguay
Montevideo, Uruguay
Miles: 139,119
S 34.89373°
W 56.16461°

We had intended to be on our way today, but during the night I was suffering from a stomach upset of some kind, so we decided to stay at the Days Inn another day.

Late morning we took a bus down to the old town and walked along the river on the wide paved walk-way they call the Rambler, and then onto the (probably only) shopping mall in Montevideo.

Old town has been turned into a tourist area with restaurants at every turn, the most interesting of these is an old market building which now houses perhaps a dozen restaurants, almost all cooking whole sheep over open fires. The fires certainly make air conditioning necessary. The buildings in old town are all pretty run down, but their architecture shows that this was once a very prosperous area with ornate doors, and stone work.

Along the way we visited the small Museo Del Carnaval with small but interesting display of costumes. It was interesting to discover that the name derives from the phrase "without meat" (the spanish for meat is carne) and that carnaval celebrations are a release from a period of fasting.

The river front is really something, a broad walkway and roadway goes for miles along the Rio De La Plata and really gives locals and visitors a place to walk, socialize, drink mate, fish and take in the sun. All of which was being done today.

The shopping center could have been almost any city in the world, all the usual brands, and prices about the same as US or Australia.

Overall the impression of Montevideo is of a city that was once prosperous but has fallen on somewhat hard times. There are many many ornate buildings but they need repair, there is a consistent layer of rubbish around the streets, the people don't seem particularly well dressed, there are many homeless people visible about town and many people selling trinkets or performing for pennies. We found the place a bit depressing after Buenos Aires, also a little less safe. In Montevideo we felt noticed, where as this was not the case in Buenos Aires.