Flip Flop Flying

Punta del Este

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I had a bit of a cob on yesterday. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, maybe it was being in two underwhelming towns in a row. Punta del Este, despite having a few nice things about it, sucks. It’s boring in that most tedious of ways: a boring rich person’s place. But maybe it’s not the sleep or the boringness of this place. Maybe it’s just because I wouldn’t have come here had the fucking Rough Guide not insinuated that certain things were nearby. They should really try to knock the ‘rough’ on the head, and try a bit more of the ‘guide.’ Of course, I only notice the bad things, but this bad thing means a few hours back-tracking on buses, not to mention the extra money. There’s somewhere that I specifically want to go, and had they mentioned it in the bit about the Brazil/Uruguay border town Chuy, I would’ve got off the bus there and made my way the short distance to see what I wanted to see. But, no, they mentioned it in the Punta del Este bit, so now I’ve gotta go back virtually as far as the border. It’s Laguna Negra, where, apparently, there’s a shed load of flamingos just bumming around and being all pink and pretty. I could, of course, have checked it out first on the Internet, but, why blame myself when I can blame a brick of a book that pretends to be informative. (Anyone who’s been to South America: is it worth me ditching this book and getting a Lonely Planet book instead?)

So, anyway, unless you’ve got a yacht, there’s not a huge amount to do here. There’s some pretty house at the end of the peninsula, away from all the shops and stuff; a nice light house, a nice church, and a nice-looking weather centre, too.

But the main part of the town is just restaurants and shops for rich people. And, basing this view on one whole day in Uruguay, all rich men look exactly the same. Groomed grey hair, pink Lacoste shirt, khaki shorts, deck shoes. But I suppose that’s what rich men look like in most places where they have a fancy marina.

There is a couple of oddities on one side of the peninsula, though. First, there’s a massive sculpture of a hand sticking out of the sand; then there’s this shrine to the Virgen de la Candelaria at the sight where conquistadors arrived here in the 16th century. Lots of people have written stuff near the shrine in cement or on tiles. They like the virgin. They think she’s foxy.

I mooched around ’til sunset, a very nice sunset as sunsets go, then, after some faffing around watching football on telly in the hotel bar, went to get some food.

At least in the restaurant I had a good time. But it was mainly ’cause I got to end the day with some chuckles. And fine chuckles, too. Fine schoolboy chuckles. The kind that you try to suppress so you don’t bring too much attention to yourself. And the kind that you feel a bit guilty about. It was the translations on a restaurant’s menu. Man, oh man, they were funny. I assume they used some online translation thingy ’cause of the consistency in the errors. I know that I shouldn’t be laughing; I should be learning Spanish so they don’t have to provide tools like me with English menus, but, y’know… sorry. I took photos of the whole menu so that I didn’t have to try and remember them all, but I was doing it quickly before the slightly pissy waiter returned, so they’re a bit out-of-focus. Still, you’ll get the idea, and hopefully find yourself chuckling too.

For some reason, it was “several cakes” that made me snort out some beer. Maybe ’cause it’s just so simple and funny. I think one day, though, I’m gonna have to do an animated story about the Pasture Prince of Napoli. He sounds great. After all that chuckling, I went for the male goat to the bread, which was served with potatoes of France to the fryer. It wasn’t great, but then, nor was the rest of the town.

Oh, but I did see this shop earlier in the day. That made me chuckle, too.

A spot of breakfast while I put this shite online, then I’m off. Not sure where. I’ll see which buses are at the station. As I type, the restaurant is virtually empty. Just one other woman eating breakfast. But now an elderly couple have come in and of all the seats they could’ve chosen, they chose to sit right next to me, and the lady has big red sunglasses that look like she’s in Battle of the Planets or something. And she’s wearing so much perfume it’s making me choke. It seems dreadfully unfair that I can’t retaliate with the aroma of fags.

Written by Craig

March 30th, 2008 at 8:14 am

Posted in Uncategorized

12 Responses to 'Punta del Este'

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  1. I love “Prostrate in syrup” the most.

    Sabela

    30 Mar 08 at 2:16 pm

  2. What the hell kind of food is “Blow to the Embers”?

    Could I have my Blow to the Embers medium rare, please?

    Sounds like a postrock album title.

    Awesome.

    Derick

    Anonymous

    30 Mar 08 at 3:47 pm

  3. c:
    yes, punta del este sucks. you are right.
    i went there a couple of times during the 90s and i can only remember a couple of decent places:
    1) best hamburgers in town: Ricks (i searched on google and it seems its still open Avda. Gorlero 614)
    2) best churros in town (don´t know the english translation… it´s a sweet pastry): Churros manolo ( calle 29 and Gorlero).
    hope it helps…
    leave the place soon!
    cheers,
    max

    Anonymous

    30 Mar 08 at 8:35 pm

  4. I am wondering if in fact it should have been ‘prostate in syrup’, and if so, what would the syrup have likely been? Its own?
    I must also confess a curiosity about what quite ‘TITS’ were selling in their emporium?
    Brotola!

    Anonymous

    30 Mar 08 at 9:41 pm

  5. Prostrate in syrup is what set me off too. I imagined them serving a massive paddling pool of syrup and inviting you to lie in it. For afters.

    Mark

    31 Mar 08 at 12:33 am

  6. It’s a nice thought.
    Perhaps they feed you sponge cake while you bathe in syrup, and you get a nice big beaker of custard to go with it.

    Craig

    31 Mar 08 at 12:39 am

  7. Lonely Planet and Rough Guide both miss alot…they usually seem to miss different things. The best would be the all-inclusive South American Handbook, but it’s so big.

    Custard w/sweet or it cremates is my favorite.

    ~Barbara~

    31 Mar 08 at 11:40 pm

  8. …that big hand is pretty cool…

    ~Barbara~

    31 Mar 08 at 11:42 pm

  9. I would also recommend the Footprint South American Handbook. We ended up ditching the Lonely Planet altogether in favour of the Footprint guide.

    Anonymous

    1 Apr 08 at 6:05 am

  10. Best I ever saw was in Peru–”Crispy River Crap.” And that was Not just a typo–it was not carp, it was shrimp. Who knows — but eating Crispy River Crap was just not on my agenda. I am just not that sexually adventurous.

    Anonymous

    4 Apr 08 at 6:01 am

  11. I would have appreciated some comment about the scenery (does not need translation), but what can I expect from a typical ethnocentric, snobbish, ignorant (yes, some Spanish would have helped), condescending, uneducated anglocentric guy who I’m sure thought he was going to encounter wild savages in Punta del Este! You don’t deserve the opportunity to travel.

    Anonymous

    22 Feb 09 at 7:11 pm

  12. I’m not sure what your problem is, and why you feel that you can make assumptions about what I thought I’d encounter. I had absolutely no thoughts of encountering “wild savages,” and I’d suggest it’s you that is the snob to suggest that just because I’m British that that’s what I’d expect from anywhere in South America. What YOU would appreciate from MY blog is really no concern of mine; all I wanted to convey in all of the blog pieces written during my travels was what I saw and what I felt during my time in each place I visited. This blog isn’t a guide book, it’s a journal of my experiences. If that’s not what you want or expect, then may I suggest you go to one of the many travel guide book’s web sites.
    As it is, I stick by what I said: as pretty as some of the building were, as nice as the beach and the rocks and the sunset was, I can’t imagine ever wanting to return to Punta del Este. It’s not the type of place I enjoy, but I’m certainly glad I went there.
    And, really, if you want to comfort yourself by imagining I’m some sort of ignorant gringo, be my guest. If that’s the feeling you got from reading ALL or MOST of my writing about my time in Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina, then I obviously didn’t convey my love for those countries well enough. As it is, though, I think I made it fairly clear that I adored my time in South America.

    Craig

    22 Feb 09 at 7:25 pm

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