The beautiful sunny days faded into more typical dreariness, and though it wasn’t cold-cold (do people say such things elsewhere?), a fire beckoned last night. We have a good supply of wood, and anything that decreases humidity is welcome almost any time, so it wasn’t difficult decision.
The weather forecast – pronóstico – called for two glorious sunny days. Inspired by the first, I proposed a country drive the second. A vague goal was to explore the abandoned ‘gringo palace’ in Pueblo Eden. Long story, but short for now, as we never got there.
In Uruguay, topography = interesting, and we headed into the hills toward Minas, gaining serious altitude, with little more in mind than enjoying the scenery.
However, as we whizzed past Parque Salus (about where the arrow ends above), we remembered there was supposed to be a good restaurant there. It had been ten years and three months (perhaps to the day) since we’d been there last, and we still felt a little foolish that we had completely missed the restaurant, since expounded by a certain person who shall remain nameless – though with whom I walk dogs, and whose nationality inspires the title, in case you’re curious.
We reversed course, and headed in, ending a few dusty, rutty kilometers up the road (as in 2009) at the Fuente del Puma, the magical source of the wonderful water that results in discarded plastic bottles throughout the country.
As before, no restaurant. Time to pull out the guidebooks.
The Lonely Planet guide to Uruguay (2008) offered no help, but Bradt Uruguay, hot off the press in 2010 when my sister brought it, revealed that the restaurant was located after a promenade of palm trees – which we recognized: the entrance to the Patricia brewery, back on the highway! We retraced our steps to find … nothing.
Lo and behold, after a few minutes a couple of guard-type people appeared. I asked about the restaurant and hotel.
A long time?
At least ten years.
Approaching Minas, and thinking it time for lunch, we stopped at a busy but probably nothing-special restaurant.
None of the cars in the parking lot was from Montevideo or Punta del Este. There were families with kids. We were the only non-natives. Not entirely promising. Yet, far from being the typical boring fare, the meal was fabulous.
My photo, an afterthought, doesn’t do it justice. Suffice to say, if a convenient restaurant of this quality existed anywhere near Atlántida, we would be regulars. In fact, we would actually look forward to going out to eat.
From Minas, we headed south, over twisty, hilly, and mostly empty Ruta 12, a fun contrast to the flat, straight, boring roads that plague the rest of the country. Alas, the gas gauge lit up, and not knowing our remaining range, we headed straight to the nearest gasolinera in San Carlos before backtracking home, where we saw the first clouds of the day, painting a gorgeous sunset.
So, no shun-piking in Pueblo Edén – where the abandoned gringo palace awaits a future adventure….
I saw this at Tienda Inglesa, and was absolutely appalled.
No, not that the ham was upside down. That only made it worse. Can you see it?
OK, let me give you a clue:
Ah yeah, you’ve got a point: that’s not much of a clue. That’s me in Tangiers, Morocco, in 1983. On the right. I have absolutely no memory of the photo being taken BTW (by someone named Lisa Ebright).
Having extricated myself from teaching at a vastly under-studented international school in Malta, I spent a few years working as a school yearbook rep out of West Germany, consuming multiple Eurail Passes with a job that took me to 14 countries.
Not bad, but: in the twilight of my 20s, in an “is this all there is?” moment, I signed up for a School of Visual Arts (New York) summer course in North Africa, whose teachers were Milton Glaser, Marshall Arisman, Ed Benguiat, and Eileen Hedy Schultz (not to be confused with Eileen Caddy, founder of Findhorn, whom I met a year or two later in Germany). All very cool people – well, for the first and most famous, perhaps that’s too strong an adjective – a couple of whom I later visited in New York.
Powerful stuff which, alas, did not exactly lead me down the path to a career in typography, illustration, graphic design, or stock photography, though all kept singing sweetly in the background over the next few years.
So, back to the ham, oddly less offensive now right side-up. But still egregious – what the hell is this? Do you let your ten year-old do package design?