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Old 01-29-2013, 01:38 PM   #54
porkandcorn OP
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Portland, Oregon
Oddometer: 291
gualeguaychú, argentina to punta del este, argentina

last night, while sitting at the hostel playa mansa, just west of punta del este, i accepted how frustrated i've become in the last few days with my spanish. i can communicate the basics easily. the frustration has come into play when meeting new people, and wanting to integrate myself into conversations. once we are the past the point in the conversation where i have explained who i am, where i am from, and what i am doing, the conversation becomes more organic, and i get lost. i met some amazingly nice people from uruguay, spain, and argentina at the hostel, but i was eventually reduced to the guy sitting at the table saying nothing and wishing i could follow the threads of conversation. they were nice, and occasionally asked me something, but then i'd loose the context again and get even more frustrated.


hostel playa mansa, punta del este, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i eventually had to get up and go for a walk, explaining that i was tired. i'm not good and 'not being good at things.' and it's true, i was tired. it's exhausting, difficult work to come into a new town everyday, get your bearings, figure out where to eat, where to stay, and what to do - knowing all the while that you should be planning at the very least for the next day, if not further out, by calling ahead to reserve hostels, checking maps for routes, asking questions of locals about where to go, etc. this may seem like 24/7 fun to those of you following along, but any of you who have done this kind of traveling know that it is work. i'm trying to take it easy on myself, as i'm usually my own worst critic. the dog understood me. i understood him.


hostel playa mansa, punta del este, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i'll be switching over to portuguese in a few days when i land in brazil, so that will be helpful. but i know i'll encounter the same frustration again in that language. it makes me wish that i had spent the last several years in intensive language courses, and that is a lesson that i will take back to the states with me - never stop learning languages ever again. i'm out of college, i have no excuses for not continuing to learn. maybe i should get back on my liquid confidence diet with a uruguay favorite:


cerveza patricia, classico del uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

this clock from my bungalow in gualeguaychú pretty much sums it up:


a high-class quartz clock, gualeguaychú, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

now that we've got that out of the way....

the drive from gualeguaychú, argentina to punta del este, uruguay was full of more rolling farmland, scorched by the strong summer sun. the riding gear, while safe, is hot as hell. just a pair of cotton cargo pants and a t-shirt would be hot as hell. the triumph engine is like an oven. i'm riding an oven on wheels across the sun-blasted plains of south america!

the border crossing was only 30 minutes ride from gualeguaychú. they allowed payment in argentine pesos or uruguay pesos. i had some argentines left over. very cheap, i think about $15 USD, roughly. super fast, super easy crossing in 30 minutes. i know they won't all be this way, so i reveled in it.


argentina - urugruay border, fray bentos, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr


fray bentos, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr


fray bentos, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

some boring flat landscape gave way to undulating hills and slightly cooler temperatures. eventually, i hit the coast. i wanted to land on the coast well to the east of punta, so that i could get a feel for the price of hostels as i approached the city center. i would stop and ask occasionally, to build a record. it is the high of high season here, and my private room at the hostel playa mansa pictured before was $100 USD!


punta del este, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

now i'm in punta proper, downtown in the "puerto", and the cost is the same. this is not the place for the budget moto adventurer - at least not in the summer. but i want to experience this place for a day, so i forked it over. hostel 828 is a well-run place, more like a large b&b than a hostel. it's right in the middle of the action, 5 minutes walk from the main beach. my bike is parked right on the patio and the rain cover is flopping around in a growing wind.


hostel 828, punta del este, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr


hostel 828, punta del este, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

a storm is rolling in right now, caused by all the heat. there is lighting and thunder, and a strong smell of ozone in the air. i haven't seen a good thunderstorm since i left iowa 7 years ago, so i'm signing off to go for a run on the beach in the rain. i need the exercise, and i think also to blow off a little steam myself, not so unlike a hot day that needs the rain.


los dedos (fingers), punta del este, uruguary by porkandcorn, on Flickr


punta del este, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr


portrait of a gringo, playa punta del este, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr
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