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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Talk To The Hand

Visitors from Tennessee, this week, forced us to finally visit Punta del Este, after being here in Uruguay for 2 years. Imagine, being less than 2 hours away from one of the most desirable vacation spots in South America and not even visiting there once, in two years. I think this gives you some idea of just how lazy I am.

David and Debi from Memphis, Tennessee have come down to "scope out" Uruguay as a possible retirement destination. We met them and had dinner at Don Vito's (an expat hangout in Atlántida). They are spending 6 days looking to see if this is a country that would provide a safe and stable environment for their later years. They tell us that Memphis is not as secure a place to live as you might think and that "after dark" it is best to stay at home, rather than roam the streets of their city.

The next day we met and drove with them in their car up to Punta del Este. After putting this trip off for 2 years, I was amazed at how quickly we got there (embarrassingly so). And Punta is really beautiful. We came in the back way, through Maldonado (the nearby city) and immediately we could tell when we had entered Punta. It resembled any resort town in the US with luxury condos and lovely shops lining the roads.

We stopped at the famous "Hand In The Sand" monument. According to one site"

“The Hand”, as it has come to be popularly called, is a concrete and plastic work standing here since the summer of 1982, when the Chilean artist Mario Irrazábal was invited to take part in the 1st International Meeting of Modern Sculpture in the Open Air held in the City of Punta del Este.

 Naturally, they were working on the beach and heavy machinery has pushed the sand away from the base, and also there were chips missing from various parts of the sculpture. We will have to visit in "high season" and find out if it has been repaired.

As you can see, the water is a sparkling blue. Punta del Este is the first point where the River (Rio Plata) officially ends. From this point onward, the Atlantic Ocean begins. In actuality, even in front of our house, on nicer days, the water is nice and blue, even though we are classed as being on the "Rio".

You can see picturesque Isla de Lobos (Wolf Island) just off the coast. All in all, we had a fantastic trip and after seeing how easy it was to get there, we will be visiting Punta del Este more often.

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