Thursday, November 14, 2013

Arrival in La Paloma

Beach front real estate in La Paloma
La Paloma is not Punta Del Este.  This is not a luxury, jet setter, beautiful people resort.  It's a true beach town that reminds me of how the Outer Banks used to be, only less so.

Side streets of La Paloma
I was expecting it to be a little more developed, but it's not.  And that's all right.  It's walkable.

Faro de Cabo de Santa Maria

It's got a functionally-placed lighthouse, the Faro de Cabo de Santa Maria.  Perhaps I'll climb it.  Mañana.

Whale skeleton right in the middle of the main drag
It's got a whale skeleton in the median on the main road into town, Avenida Solari

The Atlantic Ocean, and the rocks of La Paloma's beach
It has a beach, rocky in parts, sandy in parts.

The sandier part of the beach
It's got selfies being taken on the sandy beach, in an artsy-shadowy style.

Avenida Solari
And, it appears to have an ice cream buffet.  I mean, the sign says, "Helado Buffet."  And streets signs don't lie.

Unfortunately, this is the off season, and like beach towns in the USA used to be, things close in the off season.  And sadly unfortunately tragically, the ice cream buffet is one of those things.  Cerrado por la season.  In all seriousness, if this town really had an ice cream, and not just an ice cream parlor called "Buffet Ice Cream," this place would be like the Hotel California for me.  I could check out anytime I want, but I could never leave.

Speaking of checking out, I checked into my hotel.

The UY Proa Sur Hotel
The UY Proa Sur Hotel, right near the lighthouse and a short stroll to the beach.

Mi cuarto
My room is quite small.  Just a bed and floor space to put your feet down when you get out of the bed.  But it's clean and the bed is comfortable.

I had dinner at the Hotel Bahia Resto, which is the gourmet room in town.  It's also open all year long, which is muy importante.

I'm eating fish.  In Uruguay.  Praise be!
I ordered a filet of fish in a (mostly orange) citrus sauce, over grilled vegetables.  Can you believe I needed a break from steak?  I am at the sea, so here is the one place in Uruguay where fish made sense.

I'm going to digress and talk about the Uruguayan diet.  It's like the Pennsylvania diet from the 1970s.  Steak and potatoes and rolls and pastries.  The only real difference is Uruguayans are really into small croissants.  But let's just call them Pillsbury crescent rolls and you have good eatin' right out of Pennsylvania 1974.  The meats are excellent in Uruguay.  But the produce?  This isn't what Uruguay is about.  There are some fruits on the breakfast, but the quality is nothing special.  (With the exception of the orange juice being consistently orange-y tasting.  Much better than the bland mass-produced stuff we drink back home.)

So the bed of fresh vegetables upon which my fish filet laid?  Mostly carrots.  The few strips of green were probably zucchini.  As I said, this country is meat and potatoes country.

Flan de coco
For dessert, and I had to have dessert seeing that the ice cream buffet was cerrado, I had the coconut flan.  I was expecting coconut in the flan, but it actually was a three-layer flan.  Caramel syrup on top.  Custard next.  And the bottom layer, the crust, was a coconut macaroon.  Good, but the macaroon needed to be sweeter.  The strawberries on the side?  Like I said, the quality of the fruit here is consistent with U.S. mass market produce.

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