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Our Montevideo Trip

A few weeks ago we took a short trip to the capital of Uruguay to get residency paperwork started and for our last baby moon. (36 weeks preggo!) We have always loved to take weekend vaca’s to the coast and other various places in California. Staying up late watching movies, sleeping in, walking around for hours and answering to no one, eating whatever/whenever we felt like it, doing whatever we wanted. I really really appreciated every single moment of this trip knowing that it would be the last of this kind as a carefree couple. Haha, of course being 9 months pregnant had its limitations and didn’t quite replicate past, carefree experiences! Like trying to sleep on the 5 hour bus ride would have been a breeze and no big deal before, now I was big and awkward could never find a comfy position in which to fall asleep in. Not eating on schedule made me super nauseous and no matter how little water I drank, the baby’s head on my bladder gave a constant illusion of needing to pee. The painful sciatic nerve in my leg made me walk like a cripple after a few hours of walking and was almost unbearable.

But nonetheless, after getting the important stuff done we enjoyed lots of exploring the following day! Being the biggest city and having most of Uruguay’s population residing there, Montevideo is FILLED with hundreds of neighborhoods. It seemed like everything was designed in triangles with mostly one-way streets. There are beautifully, old structured homes as well as tons of towering apartment complexes and skyscrapers. Many of the homes resemble the old architecture of San Francisco while there is a growing number of modern developments going up as well. All the streets are lined with old eucalyptus trees, lending a charming neighborhood air.

Our hotel was located at the heart of Ciudad Vieja, or Old Town. It’s perfectly central to all the government offices, flea markets, cafe’s, boutiques, bookstores, and about 10-15 blocks away from the ocean. Around the corner stands Teatro Solis, the country’s premier performing arts center that hosts opera, theatre and ballet. (have you ever seen the recent movie of Phantom of the Opera? It’s the mini lookalike version of the french opera house) Walking through the flea market we discovered an old 3 story bookstore that had a cafe on the top. Riding the old fashioned pulley-stystem cage elevator to the top was something else! We felt so human again sitting up there drinking the first delicious sips of normal espresso (rare find in Uruguay!) and looking out over the buildings- a scene worthy of competition with Italy or Paris.

One of my main goals for this trip was to find baby clothes that didn’t cost a minimum of $30/pajama. No such luck:( We went to 2 of the biggest malls and found nothing but a few imported baby pajamas that cost no less than $50, what do their kids wear here anyways?! Thankfully we bumped into the fabric district and bought a bunch of nice fleeces and such to sew my own. For all you seamstress out there, I was pleasantly surprised to find that most fabric and notion prices were comparable to wholesale rates in downtown L.A.

After scouring the malls, we made our way back to Tres Cruces (the bus terminal) to start our way home. Tres Cruces is a mall in and of itself as well, no chance of getting bored while you wait for your bus to arrive! The buses here are really the best way to travel far distances. When fuel costs about $9/gallon, a roundtrip bus ticket for 5+ travel hours is $40. Buses include air-conditioning, reclining seats, wi-fi, TV and cute little dulce de leche filled cookies to nibble on. The buses are also a big source of product transportation between cities as there is no UPS or FEDEX. While it was refreshing to feel modern again and be in the big city, it was satisfying to come home to our little flat in our little town. Being surrounded by green farmland and not quite so much noise and hustle, I am deeply satisfied to be living here in Paysandu with the knowing that Montevideo is out there to experience every now and then.