Posts Tagged piriapolis

The Farm

Posted on November 19, 2012 by 2 Comments

After another night camping in Piriapolis and a few laps around the track, we headed out to the farm.

We met Felix, Carolina and Marcos at the races and they invited us to come out to their land near Gregorio Asnarez.

Felix showed us around his impressive tree and soon-to-be lavender farm, Carolina cooked exceptional meals for us (she’s opening a restaurant, and she’s an amazing chef) and Marcos and Bode entertained each other.

There were a couple of failed attempts at hunting and fishing, but no one seemed to care. We helped out a little with planting the vegetable garden. Felix’s dad stopped by and left us a bottle of champagne made by his neighbor, an Austrian princess. Life is really good.

And, THE party of the year is coming soon. In fact, the only party of the year (and this is the first year). It’s all the town can talk about, and it’s right next to Felix’s property. They tested the sound system all week, all night. Check, Check. Tres, dos, uno!

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Filed Under: Uruguay

Hank’s House

Posted on November 15, 2012 by 3 Comments

We met Hank at the races and he invited us up to his place. He’s got 40 or so acres up on the hill above town and told us we could camp with an amazing view. Done.

Hank’s from Annapolis, MD, but left U.S. for good back in ’69.  Yep – Nixon was president the last time this American lived in the U.S. Still no plans of returning.

He’s an interesting guy and shared lots of stories with us while Bode chased fireflies outside. He sailed around the world on a 37 ft sloop. Twice. He lived in Fiji for a decade, but left after a coup and came here. No matter where he went in Uruguay, he always ended up back in Piriapolis, so he bought some land 12 years ago (at an astonishing price) and built a house himself.  It’s an awesome place – and the view doesn’t hurt either.

Thanks, Hank.

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Filed Under: Uruguay

Off to the Races

Posted on November 14, 2012 by 2 Comments

Last week, we figured out something big was about to happen in Piriapolis. Either that, or the summer crowds were going to be more than we could imagine. Workers spent all week putting huge concrete pilings and digging holes for guardrails along the roads of this small town. It took us an embarrassingly long time to figure it out… a car race! A bit of promotional advertising just might do this event some good in the future.

With no better plans and that looming bus to-do list, we stuck around. Friday night a storm blew in. Rain kept us in the bus most of the day, and by nightfall, the temperatures had dropped about 30 degrees (Fahrenheit, MC!).  Saturday, we bundled up and headed out for the races.

The course was a closed loop winding around town, with grandstands and plenty of places to hang around and watch. Every 45 minutes or so, they’d open the course and you could run across the street. Sometimes you had minutes, sometimes a lot longer before a car would drive by honking and flying a red flag. After that, the races were on again.

There were 5 car categories; super turismo, turismo libre, formula vee, formula 4 and superescabajos (super bugs!). We checked out the course from a few vantage points. Although there were either guard rails or concrete pilings outlining the racetrack (and yellow police tape about 3 feet behind that) we still seemed dangerously close and it was LOUD! In fact, even with earplugs, the noise bothered Bode enough that on Day 1 he was ready to go after a few races.

We decided with no bias whatsoever, that the superescabajo class was the most competitive. Those guys were really racing hard and trading paint. The Formula Vee guys seemed too worried about scratching up their expensive toys to really mix it up.

Day 2 we decided to watch part of the races from the only restaurant we’d found along the course. Earplugs, soda and a good book and Bode was willing to allow us to watch a few more races. This was an incredible location, right on a tight turn. We had one car under-steer and ram the barrier right in front of us. That will get your attention. Twice, cars missed the turn entirely and went straight into the sand piled up on the street. After the bug missed, his wheel came rolling along down the street about 20 seconds later. Perfect comedic timing.

 

 

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Filed Under: Uruguay

Roof Dogs

Posted on November 13, 2012 by 2 Comments

Somewhere back in Mexico, I recall having the brilliant idea of starting a new website: www.RoofDogs.com  It would become an instant web sensation and earn us wheelbarrows full of advertising dollars as the roof dog photo craze caught on.  Well, I never got around to that one, so a photo here will have to suffice.

An endorsement: el calentador de agua.  I think our last one fried itself back Honduras and I had never seen one since (I wasn’t looking too hard.)  I was walking down the street in Montevideo and a hardware store had 4 different kinds. I went with the $2 version that’s actually 500W!  I’ve already melted it and burned myself, but it’s damn easy to heat water in the morning if we have electricity. If you can make coffee while simultaneously risking/avoiding electrocution, then you must be living right.

Endorsement #2: Gigantic concrete sinks.

Endorsement #3: The wifi-range extender. I picked one up in the U.S. before we returned, and it’s been like a miracle. I don’t know why I never had one of these before – an absolute necessity if you live in a van and scour internet from the ether. This one claims to have a range of 1 km, and I might actually believe it.

#4 – hammocks.

#5 – Sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean in South America.  It’s like we’re getting away with something.

#6 – pancakes.

 

In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Filed Under: Uruguay

Kicking Back in Piriapolis

Posted on November 9, 2012 by 5 Comments

We’re kicking back in Piriapolis a little while longer. It’s a quiet seaside town with at least 3 clean and cheap campsites. We’re on our second. We’re knocking off projects from the to-do list as it keeps growing daily. Somehow, we even blew our speakers yesterday.

The town is small, but they have everything we need and you can walk everywhere. Usually crossing the street without even looking – it’s quiet. Until this weekend, at least. It’s still springtime, but it’s been unseasonable warm (36 C) and the beach-goers are starting to show up. And, this weekend is a big race through town. A mini Grand Prix of sorts, but still the biggest in Uruguay.  Should be interesting.

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Montevideo 2

Posted on November 7, 2012 by 3 Comments

Of course, we had to knock off a few of the Montevideo tourist hot spots while we were there. Bode and I were planning to hit some of the free museums, but the pouring rain led us directly into the closest one, The Gaucho Museum. The space itself was spectacular, my highlight of the visit. The museum part was a small collection of items tracing the cowboy history from the indigenous through the Spanish and Portuguese influences, but we did learn some things. Original guachos wore silver spurs with no boots – no shoes at all. Oh, and of course Bode loved the guns. There was even a collection of silver mate cups. Our favorite was shaped like a bird.

Next up was the mercado at the port. We’d heard there wa good food here, but imagined it would be the normal stalls with raw meat hanging from hooks. Wrong. It was the nicest place we’d seen in Montevideo, for sure. Fancy restaurants, parrillas piled with meat, even guys shining shoes while you dine. We sat down at an outdoor spot with white tablecloths and ordered up like we were important folk. It felt like we were back at the ferry building in SF (yeah, Giants!)

Then, we left the capital and headed back to Piriapolis for the week. We still have a huge to-do list, but we need some space and a more relaxing town.

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Filed Under: Uruguay