Beaches Of Uruguay

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Beaches Of Uruguay

“Hello sun, once again you come and visit us unannounced. Once again in your long walk since the beginning of life…….” Carlos Paez Vilaro, Uruguayan artist

Two months out  of the year (mid December to February) the  beaches of Punta Del  Este, Jose Ignacio and Barra are where the South American rich and famous go to party. This is where the beautiful young people come to show off their beach bodies, get a tan, eat and drink well, and then hit an all-night club or casino.

The rest of the year the beaches are quiet and most of the boutiques and restaurants are closed. If the weather is good, like it was for us, this was not a problem.

I grew up on the beach in Brooklyn. I spent my summers from eighteen to twenty five years old on the islands of Greece. I  live in Venice, California.  I was ready for the wide empty beaches and quiet roads of Uruguay in October.

Driving from Montevideo, we stop in Piriapolis which is Uruguay’s oldest resort town.

Located on the sparkling banks of the Rio de la Plata, it has smooth waters making it the perfect setting for those who desire long swims in the sea

With many seafront restaurants and shops, it’s also an ideal spot for a family vacation. A hike up the hill offers beautiful views of the coastline and town and Punta Del Este can be seen in the distance on a clear day.

I loved this town.

Our next  stop is Casapueblo. it is a hotel, museum, and art gallery.

It was built by Uruguayan artist, sculptor, architect, writer, and composer Carlos Paez Vilaro.

One of Mr. Páez Vilaró’s most difficult times came in the winter of 1972, when a plane carrying his son Carlitos and other members of his Uruguayan rugby team crashed high in the Chilean Andes. Authorities eventually abandoned the search, but Mr. Páez Vilaró never gave his son up for dead. Finally, after 72 days, the painter’s son was found among the 16 survivors whose ordeal was retold in the book and movie ‘‘Alive.’’

He built the house  by hand out of wood, white cement and stucco.  The building is an enormous, bright, white labyrinth formed along the side of a cliff.

It has no straight lines, as the artist wanted it to have a natural, human feel, and to resemble the mud nests of Uruguay’s hornero birds.

Inside Casapueblo, Paez Vilaro’s art work and sculpture are displayed. 

Punta del Este is Uruguay’s biggest tourist destination. It’s over-developed in parts with hundreds of tower block apartments and holiday homes, and it certainly caters towards the wealthy local summer holiday crowd. It is also incredibly popular with Argentinians and Brazilians. I see Trump is building a hotel here.

Outside of this area, though, the coastal communities remain just that, communities.

Famous beaches  include La Playa De Los Dedos (The Finger Beach), famous for a giant hand emerging from the sand that’s not nearly as creepy as it sounds. The hand was supposedly put there for swimmers to pay attention to the undertow but it’s more of a photo op now. 

We have  lunch  at Imarangatu Beach Club.

The fish was super fresh and perfectly cooked. For those of you who have traveled with me, you know when I’m hungry I forget to take photos. The ambience is great and it’s located on a beautiful beach.

The BF went in the kitchen to learn how they cooked the fish. Even with a language barrier, they couldn’t have been more helpful!!!

La Barra (Bikini Beach) is known for attracting models, and is lined with seaside mansions  and many all night clubs .

Jose Ignacio  with its relaxed  beautiful beaches has become even more trendy in high season.

Between La Barra and Jose Ignacio is Mantiales another relaxed beach town.

We stayed at the wonderful Faisano Hotel in Punta De Este. It’s not on the coast but it is an incredibly beautiful setting with lovely rooms and a great spa.

 it so relaxing, The staff is  impressively helpful and you feel well taken care of. It is great to come back there after exploring the beaches.

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

Bad Luck In South America

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 Bad Luck in South America

“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.” Cormac McCarthy

I am a believer in good luck charms when you travel. I never get on a plane without one. There’s a fine line between a bit of harmless (and possibly helpful) superstitious behavior for luck, and developing an obsessive and crippling dependence on some elaborate routine.

I woke up five hours into my flight to Montevideo, Uruguay and realized my necklace was hanging open on my neck without the charm. I couldn’t find it anywhere. It felt like a  punch in my gut. Flying had always gone remarkably smoothly and I always fly with a symbol that luck was on my side.

A few days later in Punta Del Este, Uruguay, I broke my travel mirror which means seven years of bad luck to those of us who believe in such things. I sat down to tie my shoes and fell off the stool causing my finger to hit a table and bend backwards. Year one was not starting well.The next day it hurt and was swelling up. I could move it and it was not that bruised so  we taped my two fingers together and I got on a plane. it was noticeably  swollen when I got off. ”Do you want to go to the hospital?,” asked the receptionist at the hotel in Sao Paulo when she saw it.  Ice and tape seemed to be helping.

Now, I know that the concept of luck is all in your head, but this situation left me wondering where my luck had gone. It was no surprise that i left a bottle of my favorite moisturizer in Punta Del Este. I was expecting things  like this now.

In Salvador, Bahia I dropped my coke on the floor and it spilled out. “That’s bad luck” said  Julia our guide. I explained that I already had it.”Well,” she said, “It’s your third bad thing so now it is done.”

 I was not so sure. I needed some good luck – a new talisman. A talisman is a something that brings good luck.

On Sunday Oct 13 while I was in Salvador, María Rita de Souza Brito Lopes Pontes, known as “Irma Dulce” born in Salvador, ,Bahia, and considered to be Brazil’s answer to Mother Teresa  became the first woman born in Brazil to be declared a saint.  Everyone is Salvador was celebrating. It was the perfect day to change my luck.

The Church of Bonfim is possibly the most famous place of worship in all of Brazil. The simple white edifice has long been the juncture of Catholicism and the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé traditions.

Outside the church and all over Salvador, people sell multicolored ribbons with ‘Lembrança do Senhor do Bonfim da Bahia’ written on them, which are often seen tied to railings in front of churches dancing in the breeze.

Each color represents a different Candomblé god, and they are thought to bring luck. Our guide Julia negotiated  the price. The first man selling ribbons was charging double.

I made some important wishes and tied a few to the church.

For a bit of money, I receive a blessing from a Candoble priest. I definitely felt lighter.

The rest of the ribbons I kept with me and tied them to my purse. We would be flying on a very small plane in a few days.

In the Pantanal I broke a bottle of makeup all over the floor and fought with loud, arrogant, racist Trump supporters which definitely affected our time there.

I did not hang enough ribbons for the small stuff.

I bought some figas in Sao Paulo.  – a large one for my house and few smaller ones for gifts. Figas are Brazilian good luck charms. They are amulets- protection from evil. As you can see, i believe in all countries  and all religious  symbols of luck.

Good luck charms feed the human need to look beyond ourselves for solutions to our difficulties, while still encouraging us to do our best. When things are tough, it feels good to hold a charm in your hand and hope for things to get better.

 Even with all the mishaps and torn ligament, this was one of my best trips. It still doesn’t change my feeling about good luck charms. i will always carry that lucky coin or wear  my lucky socks on a plane because you can never have too much good luck.

Fly safe,

JAZ