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Artigas Travel Blog

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Our house in Artigas.

What an exciting day today, Melissa returned to Artigas after 21 years!  She was an exchange student here in 1987 with AFS International Exchanges and spent the year with t he wonderful Perez family, attending Liceo No 2 and generally being a regular Uruguayan for 11 months.  Mama and Papa Perez were waiting at the bus station, so hugs and tears all around.  Incredibly, Melissa´s best friend from school (Nely) was on the same bus as us from Salto to Artigas, so a wonderful surprise and a great opportunity to catch up.  Got a tour around the town on the way home - lots of one way streets now, and also two sets of traffic lights, so Artigas has certainly developed.

Papa Perez setting up the asado in the backyard.
  In the past, you just floored it through whichever street you wanted, and if you came to an intersection just tooted the horn to warn others you were coming through.  It appears road laws now apply!  The town itself has not changed hugely, but has certainly spread out more.  There are no high rise buildings, but many of the shops have changed from small local concerns to things like duty free shops (Artigas sits right on the border with Brasil).  Mama drove us over to Brasil - you simply cross the bridge - so Noel can  now say he´s been to Brasil.  Don´t have to worry about passports or border checks here, everyone just crosses at will (there is a checkpoint further into Brasil if you really wanted to go any further).
We spent a lovely evening catching up, Mama bought us a chivito for dinner - a sort of Uruguayn hamburger - which brought back lots of memories for Melissa, we used to get these quite regularly.
Night time in Plaza Artigas! Lots of sitting around, drinking mate - what a life!
  A highlight of the visit was Papa´s asado, or BBQ.  He showed Noel how to set up the fire and coals, and we enjoyed the most delicious piece of meat we´ve had in South America.  Asado is one of Papa´s specialities, along with the pollo con arroz (chicken with rice), which we also dine upon!  He´s become quite a chef.  These meals were also topped off with Mama´s delicious deserts, can´t say we were dieting while in Artigas!

Over the next three days, we spent a lot of time being with Mama and Papa, which was lovely.  Melissa´s Spanish is not what it was 21 years ago, but there´s still enough to get by, and Noel is picking up words as we go.  We walked down to the river, wandered around town, and one day went across to Quarai on the Brasilian side to  have a delicious lunch with Melissa´s family - lots of varieties of BBQ meat to try.

The river border between Uruguay and Brasil, showing the bridge from Artigas to Quarai.
  Also visited some of the old neighbours - incredible to see the little children who used to live in the neighbourhood are now adults with children of their own.  Had a lovely evening also with the Felix´s, the family of Melissa´s old flame! Also spent an evening with Melissa´s school friend, Nely, and her husband and gorgeous daughter.  So wonderful to catch up on everyone´s news and find out what´s been happening over the last two decades.  Really  hoping that we can get back here again before another 21 years elapses.

Left for Montevideo on Friday 23 May on the 12 noon bus, so that we could see the countryside as we went.  So much of it is very similar to Australia, lots of expanses of land with a few trees.

´The beach´at Artigas, on the river and looking across to brasil on the other side.
  Didn´t see many gauchos (a dying breed), but plenty of the rheas that we´d been led to believe were almost gone.  Came into Montevideo in the evening and was met my Melissa´s Uruguayan sister Cyr and her partner Johnny.  They took us to a restaurant in the arts district of the city, and had some wonderful meat and a bottle of Uruguayan wine, which was very good.  We are staying with Cyr and Johnny while in Montevideo, in their lovely apartment overlooking the bay on Rambla Republica de  Chile.

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Our house in Artigas.
Our house in Artigas.
Papa Perez setting up the asado in…
Papa Perez setting up the asado i…
Night time in Plaza Artigas!  Lots…
Night time in Plaza Artigas! Lot…
The river border between Uruguay a…
The river border between Uruguay …
´The beach´at Artigas, on the ri…
´The beach´at Artigas, on the r…
Papa and Noel enjoying ún poquito…
Papa and Noel enjoying ún poquit…
Papa and his famous harmonica, wit…
Papa and his famous harmonica, wi…
Part of the all you can eat buffet…
Part of the all you can eat buffe…
Melissa with Mama and Papa, just l…
Melissa with Mama and Papa, just …
Nely and Lucia.  Nely was Melissa…
Nely and Lucia. Nely was Melissa…
The Artigas tree outside the bus t…
The Artigas tree outside the bus …
Mama, the Felix´s and Papa seeing…
Mama, the Felix´s and Papa seein…
Artigas
photo by: sissanoel