Wally doesn't like to drive in Montevideo because of all the wild drivers who straddle lanes and buses that barely squeeze by you. He especially doesn't like going there at night! So I jumped at the opportunity to go with some others who were willing to do the driving.
You know me, always out for a bargain, I was thrilled to be invited to go to a "FREE" concert being held at the sports club , Club Bigua in the barrio of Villa Biarritz one of many Montevideo neighborhoods.
We didn't know if the concert would be held outside under the stars on the grassy grounds surrounding the place (it was a beautiful night) or inside. It didn't dawn on us that the singer would be accompanied this evening by the Symphony Orchestra of Montevideo, so yes, it was held indoors this night.
On entering, I noticed the unique 2 story basketball court with its bank of windows above where you can watch the people exercise and work out on the row of running machines. This sports club also had several Tennis courts (a very popular sport here) full of participants. This was a very active place.
The concert started at around 7 o'clock and lasted some 1 1/2 hours. It played to a packed audience (every seat was taken). The orchestra conducted by Maestro ÁLVARO HAGOPIAN played a piece in the style of the "Big band" era.
Then the main attraction came out, a singer named LAURA CANOURA. She was hard to get a photo of because several bright lights shone on her and my camera washed her face out.
There were several children in the audience and amazingly the audience hushed them as they made noise. I was impressed that this crowd really wanted to hear this singer sing.
I will try and edit a portion of Laura singing. If not please excuse the first few seconds of blurry pictures and babies crying, it seems to clear up quickly. I liked these song choices but others in my group had heard her on previous occasions singing livelier songs from her stage play in which she stared as "Pia". I don't know about that play, so one day I'll find out what that plays' story was about.
After the concert we located an Asian restaurant. It was down some dark street and it had no windows to the street. You had to be buzzed in. I felt like I was trying to get into a "speakeasy" one of those places to sneak a drink of booze in during the prohibition era in the "Roaring Twenties"(1920s') when booze was banned in the USA. This restaurant was primarily used for delivering Chinese food to people in the local neighborhood who called them up by phone. Foreign food is a novelty here so it was good to have a change of pace food wise.
Finally, before we drove back home, we stopped by 2 interesting sites.
I got to see "The Greetingman" The Greeting man is a giant statue in light blue of someone "bowing in greeting" It is a gift to Uruguay from a Korean artist called Yoo Young-ho. It was installed last year in October, 2012.
It is lit up at night and highly visible.
It cost 200 thousand dollars (US). It weights 3 tons. It is 6 meters tall (19.69 feet).
Bowing is the Asian form and Korean way of greeting one another.
"Greeting is the first step in any relationship!"(Yoo Young-ho) That was the point of this sculpture.
The statue is blue so as not to reflect any racial skin color or prejudices and it is naked for the same reason. A dress style could prejudice one by identifying it with a social class.
It was given to Uruguay because Uruguay is supposedly the direct opposite globably to South Korea on the map.
According to El Pais newspaper the artist raised the bulk of the money for the Uruguay statue by selling 800 smaller stautes at $200 each
|2 tourists "bowing down" to read the plaque!|
Forgive me, but I thought this YouTube video that I posted below was funny. I never knew about the Greeting man before lastnight. As a side note, in thinking back to my visit there, the statue forces you "to bow in front of it" since the information regarding it is written on level ground in black granite and placed before the statue. Everyone coming up to the statue bends their head down, in order to read, what the plaque says.
The second site we saw was the refurbished Hotel Sofitel Montevideo Casino in the Carrasco neighborhood (another high end neighborhood). It is a beautiful french style classic looking building which has been declared a National Heritage site. It was gorgeously lit up to highlight its facade. The hotel part has 93 rooms and the casino is in the center of the building under a domed roof.
Since we only drove around it in the parking lot and didn't go in, I will have to look inside it another day. I don't gamble but I do enjoy peeking into places, especially beautiful architectural gems. So one day I'll try and snap some inside pictures of that Casino/hotel.
All in all, I enjoyed my "night out" and about in Montevideo very much.
(photo credit goes to Loren Henry for the "Greetingman", casino and restaurant)