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Category: Uruguay (2005, world trip)
IMGP0922

Clamped!

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No explanation needed...

Having had a beautiful day yesterday, the rain was back in force today. It was also noticeably colder, the first time I've started the day wearing my fleece.

Our bathroom was a bit dingy, but the decór didn't have a patch on the plumbing! After 2 seconds the water stopped running, the pipes made really nasty banging noises and then with a cough and a splutter the water came through full force. This happened with both the hot and cold taps on the sink and the shower. The routine was repeated when Stef hit the bathroom a bit later.

The hotel's curiosities continued when we headed for breakfast. At the end of a dark corridor was a single light leading the way into a large room. On the left was a pool, spa and jacuzzi. On the right tables, chairs and a mini stage were all laid out and ready for a big entertainment night. With nothing to separate off the pool I'm sure there's some drunken mishaps with people going for unintended late night swims. The rain was pounding hard on the corrugated iron roof - it sounded like someone was pouring bags of gravel onto it.

Not heeding the receptionists warnings that it was very dangerous to drive in the rain we set off along the Balneario to Montevideo. Dual carriageway most of the way, it spread into 3 lanes as we reached the capital. Before long we were driving through the leafy lanes of the suburbs, heading down to the Rambla so that we were driving along the river shore all the way.

We checked into our hotel (the London Palace can you believe it!), unpacked and sent out laundry - about 30 minutes in total. We then went to put Chico into the hotel car park only to find that we'd been clamped!. All the hotels have space in front of them for arriving guests to park. It was full when we arrived and neither of us thought to move the car quickly. There were no obvious signs that you needed to pay and the guy from the hotel who helped us with our bags didn't give us any warning either. The next hour was spent finding where to pay the fine (first office sent us somewhere else because it was a hire car) and then waiting to be unclamped. It cost us the equivalent of £11 so not bad by UK standards.

We'd planned to spend today arranging what we wanted to do in Paraguay and booking flights, leaving the sight seeing of Montevideo until tomorrow. We found a cafe at the Plaza Independencia and shared thoughts on what to do next. We've got a broad outline of a plan - the challenge will be seeing how easy it is to do.

Flights booked we ambled up and down the Ave 18 de Julio, the main shopping street. It was strange to be thrown in amongst people going about their normal daily business again. The cafe we stopped at had a steady flow of suited and booted business men and women and there was a general bustle of activity around the city.

Neither of us warmed to Montevideo initially as we had done with other places but it grew on us more as the afternoon passed. At the Plaza Cagancha we stopped to watch waht I think was some sort of demonstration about homelessness. About 10 - 15 young people wrapped in blankets walked randomly around and invisibly cordoned off square and then all laid down on the pavement for a minute or so pretending to be asleep. They got up and repeated it all over again. There was nothing to explain what was happening so it could equally have been a piece of live performance art.

We had a second night of football - this time Argentina against Brazil. The interest in the game was less personal for the locals this time so the groans at missed goals weren't so loud. I have absolutely no idea what the final score was. (Arg 3, Bra 1)