Impressions of Montevideo

Montevideo Travel Blog

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JB Boonstra

While on the surface Montevideo appears very similar to Buenos Aires, it has quite a few interesting differences. There are both good differences and bad differences in my opinion. A good one is that Montevideo is a good bit smaller than BA. It`s not nearly as overwhelmingly huge as BA and you can see a decent portion of the city on foot, which Nicole and I did yesterday while trying to find an outside market. We went to the park where her tourist book said there was supposed to a large outdoor market. While we did find the park described, there was no market. Though a little disappointed, we still had a great day because we saw a good portion of the city since we walked close to 8 miles. And about 3 miles of that were along the coast which was amazing! One bad thing about Montevideo is that it lacks the neat, easily navigated, square street blocks that I`ve found in BA. Walking yesterday, it was often very difficult to know exactly where one was because of the frequent absence of street signs, the dead end streets, and the roads that simply changed names for no apparent reason. It was quite frustrating trying to find our way to the park and then back again. Another unfortunate difference is that Montevideo seems to be a bit dirtier than BA. Though I would not call BA especially clean, Montevideo is a bit worse. It`s not overwhelming by any means, but it is somewhat noticable.

  Everyone drinks matè here! Or at least they`re much more open with it. That`s another difference from BA. Here, every other person is carrying a thermos and a pata full of the bitter yerba, sipping the delicious tea through their bombillas. I find it interesting that even though Argentina is known for its matè, it seems they drink much more of it here. I like that. I wish I had brought my matè supplies with me! Another very important difference for me, personally, was the presence of Tabasco sauce on our table at the restuarant last night. One of my biggest complaints about Argentine food is its lack of spicyness. Things that they call "spicy" don`t even tingle my tongue. And while I`m not sure if hot sauce is normal here or if we just got lucky, regardless it was nice to have something really spicy for the first time in a while.

People here seem to stare more. Though I`m pretty used to being stared at by now and have accepted the fact that its not everyday Latin Americans see a 6`4" blue-eyed American, the stares are noticably longer and less hidden here. I don`t really mind it, but it does make me a bit self conscious. Speaking of staring, I have noticed there seems to be a greater number of pretty girls here. While in BA there is the occasional stunning beauty you see walking the streets, here there seems to be a lot of girls that I would describe as cute. Nicole says the same thing about the guys. Again, not a huge difference, but noticable nonetheless.

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photo by: aliciaaa