Sunday, February 28, 2010

Punta del Este

The small town of Punta del Este is about 10,ooo people, maybe twice that during January and Feburary but by the time I arrived the high season was over and things were begining to return to normal for the locals. I had been worried about the crowds of people after seeing some photos online (clearly taken during peak season) but was pleasently suprised when I landed. I picked a guesthouse that was 2.5 kilometers from town, just to be sure the party music wouldn´t keep me up late. I stayed at La Lomita del Chingolo and couldn´t have picked a better spot. The owners are a couple around my age with a 2 year old boy, he was a spitting image of cupid, and a chocolate lab named Hush. I checked into my room, splurging for a private room and bath for the week, and picked one out in the garden attachment away from the main house. Perfect, clean and quiet.. I highly recommend this spot if you ever travel to Punta del Este. I headed to the chill area off the kitchen and right away met a couple from Australia and a girl from Canada. I have to admit I was relieved, my brain was fried from trying to interpret and speak spanish for most the past couple of months. I spent the day wondering on foot, the main part of town is about 20 minutes away and there are beaches up and down both sides of the peninsula.

The following day the Aussie couple (Sarah and Bowen), the Canadian girl, (Kelsy) and an Engligh girl (Ally) and I rented bikes and decided to hit the beaches. The first location was way too windy, nothing like sand in the eye and a little free exfoliation. We decided to head up and around the top of the peninsula where there is an inlet protected by sand dunes. After a good hour of sun the clouds rolled in so we decided to make a break for it and go get lunch. By the end of the day I knew I wanted to stay for the entire week so I cancelled the rest of my reservations and extended my stay. Warm sunny beaches and cool temperatures at night for jeans and sweatshirts is my idea of heaven. It reminded me of summer in Seattle (when the sun comes out).

The third day, Kelsey and I stopped to buy some sushi and then biked to the beach where we had a little picnic in the sand. The sun was hiding behind some serious clouds so we hoped back on the bikes and went down to the piers where they fishermen hang out, it is know to be a good spot to see sea lions. Along the water´s edge we found several taking a nap, they were amazing and massive. At first there were only 2 but after walking around to look for more we came back to find 2 additional guys lounging. After taking some good photos we decided to go have a sit in. We went down to a beach close by and sat until the sun came out; it wasn´t so bad considering in 20 minutes the clouds parted to blue sky and tons of sun. It was a beautiful day. After a day of sunning ourselves we headed back to prep for the BBQ. One thing I´ve learned is that when someone here invites you to a BBQ, you must go. Our host, Rodrigo, served up lamb, chirizo, several cuts of beef and chicken with roasted onions. Everyone had a bottle of wine and we didn´t start eating until 11pm so by 1am I was tipsy and stuffed to my limit. I think I had enough protein for a week in one sitting.

The following day more Americans showed up until we had a monopoly on the place. I spend the last couple of days just relaxing on the beach and riding my pink beach cruiser around town. When it came time to leave I was really sad. I can´t wait to come back here in the future and next time I will make it to some other destinations in Uruguay.

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