The ride from Punta del Este was a non-event. Yet arriving around sunset to this peninsula where the Rio del Plata river and the Atlantic Ocean meet was a joy. Just ten miles from the coast of this hip and tony resort town I pulled over to watch the sunrise reflect upon the high-rise laden corridor which includes the massive Conrad Casino and Resort.
I spent 2 nights here, but like most of my journey since leaving Buenos Aires, I find myself in somewhat ghosts of towns that during the high season bolster with activity and tourists. Many of the restaurants were closed and several hotels had battened down the hatches for the winter lull.
I enjoyed a fantastic dinner at Lo de Tare with a nice bottle of Hungarian Tanat. My waiter, Tomas who also is a motorcyclists, gave me a complimentary glass of fortified desert wine like a port but fortified from Grappa instead of brandy. It smelled like chocolate. It was so seductive and delcious, I think I could have finished the entire bottle. It was called Alcyone and made in Hungary. Wanted to get a bottle for my friend Tim, but he said they make very little. A challenge, but this time no time to search. And I haven’t seen it since. Guess I’ll just have to go back.
After dinner Tomas suggested I walk up the street a bit to Moby Dick, a local watering hole. Though at 10pm he said it wouldn’t be happening until much later. He was right. I walked in and the place was empty save a woman from Chile. My observation that the Chilean people speak the hardest to understand and most bastardized version of Spanish I’d heard to date didn’t go over well. But with nothing to do (except work on this blog) conversation between the bartendress, my new Chilean friend and I was spirited and like these travels roamed topics from around the world. By midnight light crowds filled the bar area. That’s when I met Francois from France. He was with a group of 4 others. We drank, danced and discussed world problems. By the end of the night at this bar (2am) he was feeling quite well and wrapped his arms around me and said, “I’m not gay, but I love you, Allan!”
Soon I was sandwiched into the back seat of a subcompact car and whisked to another bar that was just opening. This place was packed with people that looked like they were in high-school, but before I new it the sun was rising and I was getting to bed at 6am. So is life in Punta del Este. I can’t imagine this town during the high season. Be careful.
Observations: The high rises. The tony shops. Tiffany. Gucci. And more. The beautiful harbor. The big hand in the sand. The long bike paths. The custom homes.
So now you know why I had to stay the second night in Punta del Este. This night I played it very low key, opting for think crust pizza and just one beer.