What’s not to like? Montevideo boasts 22 km of waterfront, 5,000 acres of park, 420,000 trees – half on the streets, all available to 1.3 million people, a really beautiful city, great vibe. Coastline reminded me both of Beirut and Bombay. Elegant new and old granite and marble buildings.
Buenos Aires influence visible, everywhere! I am not a house person (I like condos), but what I see here is so different, unique and lively, just fell in lust. Then went to Punta del Este, the equivalent of the “riviera” for the locals and a summer destination for the rich Brazilians and Argentinians. Waterfront lined with luxury condos. Exclusive area called Beverly Hills, lined by Gourmet Boulevard filled with French restaurants. Homes here not numbered, they have names. Punta also home to the famous “hand” sculpture. All in all, a wow day. And oh! I have developed a new practice. The complimentary gifts I get (this time wine from the tourist agency and champagne from the hotel), I regift to the staff. Cheers to that! The little things that give us joy….
A lovely city. River looks like an ocean. Beautiful. Would also like to share some good news. My upcoming book is now at the printers and if all goes as planned, we will start pre order sales this coming Thursday via the Glad Day Bookshop. Stay tuned for details. Heartfelt thanks to everyone who has worked hard to bring this project to fruition. ❤️
Mert Eduardo, he manages several bars in Asunción, including the rooftop one we are at. Perfect toast to an amazing day here in Paraguay. First things first. The bill shown speaks to the fact that this is the only country in South America that has Guarani, an indigenous people, language on its currency. Two national languages along with Spanish. People, language, currency, in one name. Mandated along with Spanish. Asunción is a modern city, clean, perhaps cleaner than Toronto streets, at least in part. Spent bulk of day in the countryside. Visited the basalt hill (formation usually underground), then an old 18th century Franciscan church, simple elegant beautiful, then a village called Paraguari , where 200 African slaves were brought way back when, their memory remains. Silence. Then the Pirayu train station, a 1920 railway station with no trains anymore, and after that the Caacupe basilica, where 250,000 people gather on Dec 8th to observe the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Lastly, San Bernardino at the Lake Ypacarai, a German town, once a honeymoon spot. Last last thing. Got charged 150 USD to enter Paraguay. Asked. Found out Paraguans need to pay 200 USD to enter Canada, along with courier fees, and if visa gets declined, money gone. Ouch! Anyway, on a lighter note, really glad I came here, corrected so many misconceptions I had of Paraguay. I would come back, if nothing else, just for the people.
Saturday evening and from my 12th floor window I can see the urban skyline, the red brick houses on the mountain to the left and the rugged cliffs on the mountains to the right. The winter sky is clear, the sun is brilliant and above the hum of the cars I can hears the dogs bark.
Occurs to me that the topography of La Paz is a perfect setting for an imaginary 1548 toy town. At night, glittering lights on the mountains just sparkle, no rhyme, no ask, just an invitation to play. The winding roads up and down the mountains are ideal for an electric train station setting. The public metro system is made of cable cars, imagine going to work with a panoramic view:). Yes, wheelchair accessible. Then there’s the airport, perched right on top of La Paz, “birds” flying. My boutique hotel is two floors placed between offices floors in an office building. Playing “house”. Then there are the snow capped mountains, a bedtime fairy tale.
Friday evening, just turned dark, in this very sleepish town Uyuni. Someone singing a folk song and the streets are quiet. Another whirlwind day, again up at 5.00 am. Watched the sun rise over the largest salt water lake in the world, 10,500 sq km, 3650 meters above sea level. Visited the train “cemetery” a site with the trains which carried the minerals in 1920. Lunch in a “museum” with picnic tables, Bernardo had cooked the meal himself. Visited an island of giant cactus, panorama view of the salt lake. Visited a cavern with rock formations 20,000 years old. So many magnificent pieces of nature come together in this area. Uyuni has been on my bucket list for a few years now, never imagined it would be so so spectacular. Flying back to La Paz tonight.
La Paz. Took my breath away. Not altitude. Okay with that. But the sheer raw physical beauty. Ayn Rand. City founded in 1548. Now a cosmopolitan 3 million plus.
Journey over here was okay. Despite American Airlines. Only thing was the mosquito spray leaked onto my poor toothbrush. Would have been thrilled to walk around with an open gaping mouth but no mosquitoes here. So.
12,000 feet higher than yesterday, 36 degrees cooler.
The moon valley park was other worldly. Stalagmites. The pigeons in Plaza Murillo were unstoppable. The city is filled with surprises, may it be culture or art or just the people, who are very friendly.