It's a sad day for the town of Marindia.
I fear the voice of Marindia will be silenced! The restaurant Hosteria Marindia has shut down!
It was the site for many a town meeting to discuss various Issues having to do with our town. The restaurant maintained a list of people (Wally and I were on that list) they would then inform those people of problems or triumphs involving our community.Their facebook site is called Balneario Marindia
Despite being foreigners, Wally and I were surprisingly welcomed into the community. We were informed of park cleanup efforts and told of new streetlights installed on the main avenue (Avenida del mar). Always included,we were face booked often, our names tagged invisibly onto park banners and as birds in other photos. We knew when the wild flowers (flores silvestres) were in bloom along the town's streets. And we were invited to be involved with anything and everything pro-Marindia.
Zulay is a beautiful, warmhearted woman. She speaks English and was a much needed friendly face and ear in my first year living here. In Uruguay, she taught me my first Spanish word, Temprano, it means early.
For almost 6 straight months, I ate everyday in her restaurant. Our house was under repairs and our kitchen was nonexistent. Normally the restaurant would have been open only in the summer season. She is from Montevideo. I always wonder where the workers go to in winter, when they leave the Uruguayan towns half empty and closed up, but I digress. That first year (of my arrival), she and her family had decided to try and stay open all year. They even offered daily specials! on Thursdays they had a fried fish plate. The eatery was only, up the street and a block over from my house. It was an enjoyable walk.
The daily excursion gave me a chance to get out of the dusty work zone called my house and enjoy a solitary moment to myself. Wally stayed back at the house. Temprano was important because I still had to get used to Uruguayan business hours and the use of 24 hour military time. Restaurants all close down for Siesta with the rest of the country. I guess no one eats 'cause they are all asleep. I was always arriving either too late, Tarde (I knew that word before) or I was too early, Temprano (the word Zulay taught me)
The restaurants hours were 9 a 15, Y 17 a 20. You do the math!
For awhile the establishment even had a small Mom & Pop store, called in South America, Almacén or Grocery store, in English. It was only opened in the mornings if memory serves. As I mentioned, I was always arriving just off schedule but they sometimes squeezed me in.
I enjoyed my break from Wally, being reminded that I was capable enough to face a new country by myself, having to meet people and speak to them in this new foreign tongue I was learning called Spanish. I would order a glass of house wine, Vino tinto (red wine) and sit at an old wooden picnic table the restaurant had placed outside under the trees. I am sorry that I never took a picture of that. I often thought about bringing my camera. The experience of the sunlight filtering through the tree's leaves, me drinking wine on the lawn while waiting for my order to be cooked and bundled for the short walk home, will always be with me. Trying to explain to the family what I wanted when Zulay wasn't there was also a good lesson for me. Zulay's mother didn't speak a word of English but she could always figure out what I was trying to say, needed or wanted and what my concerns were. She would then explain to the menfolk in Spanish what I was trying to say in Spanish! It must be a gift bestowed on Mothers to be able to understand the helpless. Like babies who haven't master language yet.
The Hosteria Marindia was also where the towns folk would go for the yearly La noche de la Nostalgia (Night of Nostalgia) Bash! We went to the all night, music, dance, drink and food party and I believe the whole neighborhood was there too. Reservations required!
The Hosteria was able to do all of that, not just because it had a large recreational room besides the quaint dining room (though, that helped the town meet in and large gatherings to be held) but because Zulay really cared about being involved with making the town of Marindia the best place it could be. She was the best part of a neighborhood business, leading the forefront in keeping us connected, a community of people. Alas, the building's owners had some troubles. Next, Zulay had some personal family troubles occur and now the original land lords have put the property up for sale. In life, there is often trouble but for a while Zulay, her family and the restaurant Hosteria Marindia were part of the solution.
We will miss your voice, truly!