Buquebus to Montevideo

I decided to go to Montevideo, Uruguay, for a day.  It’s a bit more travel, and a chance to see if I could do something like this really on my own.

There is a ferry that runs between Buenos Aires and a few locations in Uruguay, the Buquebus (bookie boos).  The cheap way to go is to take the ferry to Colonia, then a bus to Montevideo.  I chose this method for the way there, it was a way to glimpse a couple of cities in Uruguay, though only really stop in one.  I took a rather late ferry, at 7:30pm, which should arrive sometime around 11:30pm.

The taxi took me to the terminal in Buenos Aires, and I was surprised at how light and modern it is.  There are big windows everywhere, and arches of metal around the room.  I paid the extra 30 pesos for 1st class (about $10) and was guided to a big room full of couches.  A waiter brought a tray of peanuts and chips, but the drinks were not free.  Smart.

Getting on to the ferry, I was a bit disappointed to see that there were only a handful of people in first class.  This hadn’t occurred to me, I had wanted to maybe talk with some other tourists.  That’s ok, the ferry ride is only an hour.  I didn’t get sick at all, and enjoyed the gentle rocking motion of the ship.  The water is brown, and looks like very watery chocolate.  There are sailboats and other ferries to watch as we go along.

We switched to buses in Colonia.  These were Greyhound-style, and fairly nice.  The seats tilted back pretty far, and I enjoyed laying there watching the sun set.  After a while the stars started coming out, though they seemed a bit dim.  We went around a turn and I saw why, a very large, very orange, very upside-down full moon.  I was still able to pick out one of the dippers and Orion, all upside-down.  I noticed a shooting star, as well.

When we arrived in Montevideo, I wandered around the bus terminal for a bit looking for an ATM.  I finally found one, and was at a bit of a loss as to how much to pull out.  The exchange rate is 23 pesos to 1 USD, but the idea of pulling out 2,300 pesos was a bit unsettling.  I usually just pick an amount midway up the list, but here I had to punch in a number.  I tried 500, and got a 500 peso note.  Experience in Buenos Aires has taught me that taxi drivers hate breaking big bills, so I pulled out an additional 200 pesos, which I got in 100 peso notes, much better.

There was a line outside to get a taxi, I probably waited in it for 20 minutes.  I finally got the taxi and showed him the address that my travel agent had given me.  He seemed confused, but drove on.  He brought me to a corner that he said was the street I had, two streets.  I said that I needed a hotel, and pointed out the phone number, which included a country and city code, I didn’t know which part to call.  I tried to get him to call for me, but he wouldn’t.  Instead, he called in to his base.  After driving around the area for a bit, his base finally told him where to go.  This did not appear to be a very nice part of town, but he never tried to make me get out.  He was finally able to take me to my hotel, which had people at the front desk that I could see through the windows.  He tried to argue with me when I tried to give him 200 pesos for the 125 peso trip, but I told him that was all I had.  Grumbling, he dug out some change for me.  I gave him a tip because I had been so much trouble, and because he had really gone to a lot of effort to put me in the right place.  That was the most nerve-wracking taxi trip of my life, I was quite worried that I would be dumped in this warehouse looking part of a city I knew nothing about.  All in all, it cost me about $5.  Hmm, maybe I need to get some more money.

I go into the hotel, and it looks like a nice hotel in any country.  The people at the front desk speak English and are very nice.  They give me a map and a guide, my key, and the code to access the free WiFi.

I get to my room and try to switch on the light, nothing happens.  I notice a little panel in the wall with a picture of sliding the key into it.  I do so, and the lights turn on.  Hmm, interesting feature.  I turn on some more lights and the tv, and pull out the key.  Everything shuts off.  I like this, I’ll bet they save a lot in electricity with this idea.

I take off my sandles to feel the cleanest floor so far in South America.  It’s so clean that my feet squeak when I walk.  I tried to get the floor in the apartment that clean, but the dirt was ground into the wood.  Ah, well, this is a nice room.  I have fluffy pillows, a comfortable bed, a big bathroom, and a view of the water.  When the tide goes down, there’s even a little beach.

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~ by Liz on January 12, 2009.

One Response to “Buquebus to Montevideo”

  1. Ferry travel simply makes sense as an ideal mode of travel..

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