emergency bottle of Tequila, about a week ago.
Gustavo and Silvia (left) met us near Rocha (about a 2 1/2 hour drive from our house) and then showed us to a small house, where they had arranged for us to stay overnight. Then, he took us in his car and toured us up the coast, stopping at many of the wonderful beach towns. Most striking was the difference in the water. Up there, past Punta del Este, we actually were formally on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. While our beach is lovely, and the sand is nice and white and clean and the water is often very blue (though much of the time it is brownish)- we are not technically on the ocean. The mouth of the Rio Plata (the widest river in the world) reaches out for miles- so technically we live on the river. Most of the times, it seems like the ocean to me. But when you reach the real ocean, up in Rocha, there is a difference. The smell of the ocean is so lovely and the waves are large enough for surfing. So the trip up the coast was quite a pleasure.
When we arrived in Chuy (about 100 km further up from Rocha), we parked on the Brazilian side. One side of the main road is in Brazil and the other in Uruguay. Gustavo took us to one of his favorite restaurants (he works in Chuy several times a week), on the Brazilian side of the street. It had the feel of a cafeteria, with salad, pasta and dessert bar. But then we noticed about a dozen waiters walked (constantly) through the restaurant with beef, pork, chicken and sausages on skewers. They would stop by each table and offer you cuts.
The waiter on the left was offering melted gorgonzola smoked cheese. Another offered warm pineapple, rolled in cinnamon (Denise made me try this, and I am glad). This would go on for as long as you stayed, since this was an ALL YOU CAN EAT restaurant! It was fantastic. Unfortunately, I can't tell you the cost, since Gustavo (against all my protestations) insisted on paying.
Then, we went across the street to one of the duty free shops (on the UY side) and made a few purchases (bring your passport to take advantage of the deals). The prices were very good and lower on some things than even in the US. A 4 hour ride may seem like a lot, but if you were purchasing electronics or some other items, it might very well be worth it.
On the way back we stopped at some lovely gardens and a beautiful Spanish fort. When we finally got back to the little guest cottage, near Laguna Rocha, it was late. Denise and I took a little walk, then had a good night's sleep. It was very, very quiet. The next morning (we slept almost to noon) before we left for home, we took a tour around the water and learned a lot about Lagunas. One thing we learned it that blue crab live there. Well, that is a tale for another day. We drove straight back, through a blinding rainstorm and were happy to be home, but glad for our visit. We felt we had been shown immense hospitality and gained an appreciation of Rocha and it's surrounding area. We look forward to being able to spend more time there.