Monday, January 23, 2012

South American Adventure - Montevideo

  1. Booking
  3. Miami
  4. MIA-SCL
  5. SCL-IPC
  6. Easter Island
  7. IPC-SCL
  8. Santiago
  9. SCL-MVD
  10. Montevideo
Montevideo has an architecturally stunning new airport.  There is only one taxi company operating there, Taxi Aeropuerto de Carrasco, and they charge about a 67% premium over local taxis going from town to the airport.  Taxi Aeropuerto advertises a new fleet of Mercedes and takes credit cards, so it I thought the service offered a premium experience.  Not exactly, the cab was dirty on the inside and I saw the steel belting on the tires.  I didn’t have a choice and they had my money, so off I went.
Montevideo, Uruguay
I arrived safely, if a touch car sick, at the Four Points by Sheraton Montevideo about 25 minutes later.  The hotel has an impressive lobby and friendly staff.  I was staying on points and received full Platinum status benefits, unlike the awful Intercontinental Santiago.  I was upgraded to a suite and had a welcome gift of Uruguayan wine, meats, and cheese.  The room was a tad dated, but nothing was worse than equivalently dated US Four Points.  After a quick email check, I planned out my day of sightseeing with the help of the front desk.  I had a map, a plan, and a goal of finding Chavita Marcos (as seen on No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain).
Walking and Biking Path, Montevideo, Uruguay
Montevideo, Uruguay
Montevideo has a walking path that runs along the entirety of their coast line.  Along the path there are numerous parks and beaches (the ocean water was brown, so I didn't think about taking a dip).  It looks like the most popular place in town and most everything is just a few blocks from the shore.  I enjoyed my walk along gaining an insight into life as a local and was the only tourist I could spot.  After about 90 minutes of walking, I didn’t look at the map scale before I set off; I made it to Chavita Marcos.  The Chavita is Uruguay’s burger; it has beef, ham, cheese, and veggies.  It is incredibly filling and delicious, worth the walk, but next time I’ll take a cab. 
Chavita Marcos Sandwich Montevideo
McCafe Cake, Yes, It Was Amazing
The next block over was a mall and I went to find a shirt for my niece.  Once inside, I felt more like an anthropologist than a shopper.  I was endlessly fascinated with the mall layout, store designs, three McCafe’s, and watching locals shop.  I also found a cute tee shirt for my niece and had a slice of cake from McCafe.
Montevideo, Uruguay
Montevideo, Uruguay
Montevideo, Uruguay
I slept in the next morning, all I needed to do was buy and send some post cards before heading to the airport.  Despite my last four flights with LAN, I still had a Lufthansa sense of time and wanted to be punctual to check in for my flight.  The front desk called a cab for me even though they said I was leaving a little early.  The local cabs are cash only, but do accept US dollars (about 20 of theirs to 1 USD).  I confirmed the rate before leaving by showing the cabbie US$33 and saying areopuerto.  He eagerly nodded, covered the meter, and off we went.  We drove along the coast and I had a great time looking at the scenery on the way to airport.  

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