Near the end of our trip in South America we had the choice to make of whether to stay in Buenos Aires in order to catch Manu Chao in concert or to spend our last few days in Uruguay. Although I love the music of Manu Chao there was no competition really. Another country? Hell Yeah.
Much to the chagrin of Uruguayans, their tiny country is often seen as a suburb of Buenos Aires. You can see why. It is just a short boat journey over to Colonia - a pleasant old city with a few historical buildings. No great shakes really. We spent one night there and then got a coach to the capital, Montevideo: another South American city with security problems.
The hostel had plenty of weird decoration. The locals were crowded around the TV watching a world cup qualifier. This was the last chance for Uruguay to get to the finals. They won. The streets outside were full of cars honking their horns and people shouting. The world didn’t know at this time that Luis Suárez was about to burst on to the world stage with an impressive world cup which would see the Uruguayan team coming fourth.
The next day we hopped on a bus for Punta Del Diablo. It was billed as the best beach in Uruguay and something of a hippy spot.
We had intended to camp to save money, but when we arrived it was raining and the sky overcast. It was still early, pre-holiday season. We found a place on the beach run by a woman in her 30s. We got a small discount. The dorm was empty so it felt like getting our own room.
On the first night we wandered down to the town at the edge of the beach. We shared a bottle of wine with a fellow Brit tourist. On the way back to our guest house we get called over to another bar. A couple of dodgy geezers sell us a small amount of weed. That was much appreciated.
We spent the next couple of days walking along the coast stoned. We saw dolphins in one bay. At the famous eponymous point where waves broke over rocks I stood at the edge posing for a picture. Just after the picture was snapped a bigger wave came and nearly dragged me off to sea. I escaped with wet trousers and a few cuts.
The next day we got up early and made it back to BA.
Years later Luis Suárez would nearly win the league for Liverpool and ganja would be legalized in Uruguay. A more significant country than I had imagined at the time.