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March 27, 2008 - Colonias, Uruguay

Written by GingerBlossom Published in
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Boy, did I have a weird flashback today. I took the 9 a.m. passenger boat across the water to go over to Colonia for the next few days, and I´m sitting in the boat, sort of scanning between watching the water, and watching the Argentinian travel movie on the T.V. and there I am on television! It was ancient footage from when I worked at the ski area in Las Leñas, Agentina, and it was a shot of the ski school with me front and center - wierd - I even still have the ski school jacket that I was wearing, I think, I kept it for years in the car as sort of a dog coat, something for an emergency, but you didn´t care if it got dirty or full of dog hair.

I also had a minor flashback when I was in Buenos Aires. I went to the Confiteria Richmond, as I had stolen an ashtray from there 25 years ago (yeah yeah, I know, it was wrong, but we left a big enough tip that it would have covered the cost of the silverware too). Anyway, absolutely NOTHING had changed in its absolute English leather club chaired splendor, except that smoking is no longer permitted, so there were no ashtrays.

I sent out an email to my trusty customs brokers at CBC to see what duties and paperwork are required for importing sheepskin. If tarifs are not too bad, I´m going for it, the Patagonian stuff really is artesanal. They hand trace around each pattern, its all hand cut with leather knives, its a nice product at a good price, shipping cost is excellent, as it just goes, more or less, straight north, so there is still a chance that I´ll send a shipment. In the meantime, I´ve come over to Colonia, Uruguay for the next 2 days. Think Saugatauk Michigan, or Cedarburg, Wisconsin, except surrounded by water, and its a Unesco World Heritage Site, set in Uruguayan pampas and river or ocean delta .

It´s so very calm and laid back, cobblestone streets, parrots in the trees, etc. Uruguay, about 25 years ago, had had a decades-long ban on importing foreign made cars, but they didn´t manufacture cars themselves, so it was like the roads were filled with carefully tended antiques, as you had to keep them going, because there were no replacements. Anyway, that´s since ended, but there are still lots and lots of old cars around, permanently parked in front of stores and restaurants, maybe with plants growing out of them.

Traffic tends to be more bicicyle, motorscooter, golf carts, and the odd horse drawn cart. It´s really clean and pretty, and smells of the water, fresh cut grass, and wood fires from all of the wood grilled meat places. Chris is going to say that I´m goldbricking, but I am also looking at sheepskin here. It´s a little cheaper than in Argentina, but I think that the Patagonian stuff is much better quality because of the much colder climate.

As I said before, I hit absolutely every street fair there is in Buenos Aires, and I´ve already hit the street fair here, but I´ll go back on Saturday when there´s more venders. This is just after one of the biggest weeks they have, Semana Santa, and some of the businesses and street venders are closed, as its starting to become off season. The weather is absolutly perfect, but with a just a tiny chill to the evening air, and the leaves are starting to turn and fall a little. As in Argentina, there is a lot of what I call Hippy jewelry, and enough mate gourds to supply the world. Mate drinking is even more serious business in Uruguay than it is in Argentina. Makes me want to dig out my mate gourd and bombilla when I get home and slurp some down.