Monday, November 11, 2013

Lunes en Montevideo

Monumento a Maua en Plazuela Irinio Evangelista
Lunes/Monday in a whole lot of major cities in the world is dead dead dead.  Especially in Latin America.  And Montevideo is no exception!  A lot of museums and restaurants are closed, so it's a good day to rest up for the vacationing to happen the rest of the week.

The major priority of the day was to eat at a parrilla in the Mercado Del Puerto

The gates of Carnivore Heaven
Yes, the Mercardo Del Puerto has something of a reputation of a tourist trap.  So, yes, bait that trap with a tender juicy steak and I'm caught.  It's near the port, so it gets plenty of day tourists from the cruise ships.  For that reason -- and the fact that the port area and Ciudad Vieja are a no-go zone after dark -- the Mercado is only open for lunch.  So a beefy lunch it shall be.

My chosen parrilla

The toughest thing about eating at the Mercado Del Puerto is that they cannot all be of equal quality.  So I chose one at random.  Sat down at the counter.  I chose wisely because the waiter/order-taker spoke perfect English, seeing as he lives part of the year in the State of New Jersey.  I ordered a half order of the "pulpa" and a chorizo sausage.  The pulpa was good.  It was a "rump steak," basically well cooked pot roast meat.  The chorizo was incredible.  It was like a pork kielbasa with just the right amount of heat and spice.  And it was grilled, which every true carnivore knows is the best way to eat kielbasa.

Walking through Ciudad Vieja
I decided to walk through the Ciudad Vieja again, which was a little livelier than it has been on Saturday, where only the flea market areas had pedestrian traffic.  I wasn't quite as obsessed with the idea that I was about to be hit over the head with a lead pipe, so I appreciated the architecture a little more.

The view up Sarandi to the Catedral Metropolitana
I got back to the Plaza Independencia and tried to get a decent shot of the signature building of Montevideo, the art deco masterpiece that is the Palacio Salvo.  There was a little more sun today, relatively speaking, which is sort of like comparing the nutritional value of potato chips to Wheat Thins.  Yes one has more, but neither really has much.  Yes, today had a little more sun, but still, neither day had much.
Palacio Salvo viewed from Plaza Independencia
So I will need a sunny day in Montevideo to get my definitive picture of Palacio Salvo.  Or I can score one from the internet.

In walking to Plaza Independencia, I did stumble on Montevideo's famous "Espacio Libre de Sexual Diversidad," or "Free Space for Sexual Diversiy."  I thought there was supposed to be some sort of  monument to sexual "diversity" somewhere in the city, but it's not a monument.  It's not even a plaza or parque.  Just a graffitti covered mini-plaza with some murals about sexual freedom.  But it is the first such space in Latin America dedicated specifically to sexual minorities.  Not including Carnaval in Rio.

Espacio Libre de Sexual Diversity
I then decided to continue my stumbling on the edge of Montevideo's Centro by walking down the hill to the Rambla in the downtown area.

The view of the Rio De La Plata down Cuidadela
So I walked down Cuidadela to the Rio De La Plata, with this vaguely socialist-looking monument with a naked guy looking out to the sea.

El Monumento a Maua
The statue looks "vaguely socialist" because the whole muscular guy with a gear thing:  very much in the Socialist Realism school of monument-building (although true "Socialist Realism" would have him standing rigid holding the gear).

See the Palacio Salvo lurking in the background at the left (izquierda)
This will conclude the Montevideo portion of our vacationing.  Tomorrow, it's off to the beaches on Uruguay's Atlantic Coast.

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