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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Summer Is Here!

December, in South America is the month everyone waits for, as it's the true start of the summer season!

The days are cloudless, bright and hot, hot, hot. "Hace mucho sol! "

Even without looking at the calendar, I knew it was officially summer because the little thatched covered entryway to the beach was reinstalled! I don't know who puts it up or takes it down each year?  I am fortunate to live in a proper "Balneario", which means a bathing resort. While that sounds glamorous it just means that, I live in one of the many little coastal towns that has access to the beach. On a map you will see little icons depicting a Large beach umbrella on it, showing that the town is considered a beach zone. Uruguayans love the beach!

In my balneario we are also fortunate enough to have (during the summer only) a manned life guard station. This picture was taken at 7:30 pm. on a Tuesday (it now gets dark after 10pm). The life guard was shy and turned her back. Last year, I saw 2 guards in action saving a girl who had gotten caught in an undertow. She was shaken but fine.

 Living in a balneario also means that right before the summer season, tractors are sent out and the sand is cleaned of debris. Sometimes the main road leading to the beach is leveled and pot holes filled. That might be the only road taken care of.  We also have a city parking lot called a "Bajada" right at the entrance to the beach. If I ever have a rocking party at my house I could direct people to park there and walk the 1 block (in visible range) to my house.

Right at the street corner across from my house, I can go scampering through the bushes, down a little beaten path to the beach. It's kind of a wild path with real little creatures living along it's edge. When I'm not too brave, I walk one block over to the Bajada and down the concrete steps leading down to the water. In the summer the way to the parking lot can be rather interesting. Here an enterprising woman is offering beach towels for sale, how clever to sell beach towels right where and when you need them, at the beach! I found some of the designs err.. rather interesting hum..

This parking lot also has a little snack stand there offering drinks and sandwiches. I believe it's called The 3 musketeers or Los 3 Mosqueteros.

 Of course no Uruguayan is ever without their Mate and thermos bottle to hold the hot water that they pour into their cups. As a courtesy many places offer free hot water for fill ups. Here's Mickey Mouse indicating this (even this years country fair held earlier had free fill up hot water stations).

Since it was getting late in the day (remember it was 7:30pm.) the winds were picking up so I thought I'd show you a surf photo with white caps. Also, I with Wally's help put together a wide panorama showing our neighborhood beach but looking at another Balneario, Atlantida. The larger town of Atlantida is about 5 Kilometers away from our bedroom community but you can walk, all the way there and never have to leave the beach. Many expats choose to live in Atlantida because it has a more polished city/town feel to it, more of it's streets are paved for instance. Living in Atlantida, you would know it's summer time there because of the many visiting vacationers and because the town turns on its traffic lights in Summer! No kidding, the traffic signal light between "Baipa" the bakery and "Disco" the Supermarket, is turned off in winter for lack of traffic but turned on, during the summer season.

 If you look closely at the picture above you can see a faint shadow of a hill on the right side of the picture. That seemingly island is actually part of the town of Piriapolis. It's several towns father away from Atlantida (about a 45 min drive). It is not an Island but part of the coastline. This picture shows how much of the Uruguayan coast is sheltered by cove/bay like indentations, which makes for mild swimming conditions until you get farther north. That is where the surfers go. Here they only play at surfing.
I hope you enjoyed the little insights into our Uruguayan summer.
Remember, if they build it, they will come and if they build it, "Summer is here"



Geraldo said...

Hi Denise!

This post has remind us the period we lived in Salvador (Bahia), a city located in the Northeastern part of Brazil. Actually our children have not seen it yet but we are sure this will bring them good memories and enjoyment!

We can easily understand your happiness and enthusiasm… living on the beachfront is just wonderful, relaxing… it is like being on vacation all year round.

Salvador was probably the best place we lived in… Spectacular beaches with white sand and turquoise water… more than 300 sunny days a year, dunes that rise to 50 meters above the sea, cliffs, reefs with form ocean pools… a constant offshore sea breeze that makes the weather perfect all year round!

Hey, come on! We will not envy you! We also live relatively close to the beach… well… it’s a beach by the North Sea… not so bad… it’s just a bit rocky and with some gray sand (but completely covered by a very thick and white layer of snow)… temperature? Well… temperature wise things have improved over the last days… now it is ranging from -5 to 0°C. We shall take advantage because they are forecasting that temperature will return to normal next week… I mean… colder!

Enjoy your summer and just have fun!


Wally said...

Sorry to all, on our readers list for my republishing this post twice but I forgot to add an "A" to the word Balneario. Naturally the misspelled word was one I used over and over and over again. It's really annoying to read a wrongly spelled word that many times, so I had to correct it!. Thank you Doug D. for catching the obvious. You are right in that details matter!

Wally said...

Denise here again! I forgot that I'm using Wally's computer so the correction comment that I just posted seemed to come from him. Wally would never leave an important "A" out ha ha. Thank you for your patience!

Denise, Out!