May 09, 2010

Election night in Melo


Another Sunday election, this time in Melo, Uruguay, about 70 km from the Brazilian 'frontera'.  There were other elections as well, Maldonado was having one too.   They don't shut down the road through town here, but judging by the excitement, elections are an important sport, the level of excitement and activity outside my window is about the same as an Oilers playoff game in Edmonton, flags on vehicles, horn honking, everybody doing loops down the main drag on their unmuffled motos.  I think they are local elections (intendente, whatever that is).

This part of Uruguay is cow country, and Melo is a typical cow town.  Here cowboys are gauchos, they look the same, drive pick up trucks and drink Mate.
A young guy stops to admire El KTM in Maldonado tells me his girlfriend is from Calgary, bet she's a cowgirl too.   Uruguay is also 'big sky country' south.
Rolling hills, cows, high clouds, and dusty little towns, hard to believe that just a few hours away I was on the South American Riviera.

Uruguay is full of very cool very old cars and trucks in running condition, apparently due to a historical difficulty of getting cars into the country, they have become very adept at keeping these old bangers running.  The best ones come out at night when it is impossible to take good pictures of them.  

I looked at the map when I left Punta Del Este and figured that Melo would be a good place to stop before crossing into Brazil.  I was calculating that my many thousands of Pesos would get me a full tank of gas and hotel on the Uruguay side and I would not have to Cambio any into Reales.

I may have mentioned from time to time how difficult it is to find a hotel in a strange town in South America.  I was just warming up to the job in Melo, when I guy on a moto with a big flag stuck on, pulled up and asked me if I wanted a hotel.  That was a first!  He indicated that I should follow him and off we went.  It turned out he was the owner, and the hotel is pretty much the worst dive I have been in so far.  But it was cheap, 200 Pesos, or about 10 dollars, and either the roof does not leak or it is not raining, cause it is dry.  My room has five beds in it, but my host assures me that I will have em all to myself.  BaƱo down the hall.  Looks as if I will be cambio-ing mi dinero after all

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