Category Archives: beach

A Tour of Daisy’s House

After stopping in at two houses we thought was Daisy’s (remember we had nothing more than the man at the supermarket pointing in the general direction of Daisy’s house to guide us), we arrived.

We meet Daisy’s daughter, who was well into her fifties. I had been thinking Daisy was around our age.

My German friends secured a double bed in a private room — the only private room. I scored the last bed in the place upstairs in the attic. It took a little work to get to my sleeping spot.

Here’s a photo tour of our accommodations.

Note: pictures do this situation absolutely no justice.

This was the ladder I had to climb to get upstairs to my bed. When I made it to the top, I learned that I would be sharing an attic with two roommates.

stairs to my bed

Once I made it up the ladder I would be coming up through this hole. See the beer on the floor? That’s mine. And that red blanket? That’s the bed I would be sleeping in. Once the sun went down, there would be no electricity. Good thing I am not a sleepwalker, right?

the hole i climbed to my bed (with the red blanket) note the beer on the floor

Getting ready for sunset.

preparing for sunset

Here’s another view of, for a lack of better words, the hole. The boy of the German couple was really tall. So tall that he had to duck everywhere in Daisy’s house, except for the kitchen (which sadly, I have no photos of). His height proved helpful for me since he was able to lift my backpack up the hole so I didn’t need to maneuver up the ladder with my pack on my back.

literally the hole i came up from

To get to the bathroom you had to go outside to a separate room. Think port-a-potty with walls. I still don’t know why this toilet was on a pedestel.

There was no counter space by the sink and since water wasn’t drinkable, imagine trying to brush your teeth holding a water bottle and miscellaneous toiletries. At this point one of my eyes were in so much pain that I no longer had to worry about contact lenses and solutions so a few less things that I had to balance at the sink.

the toilet

This barrel had a huge dish inside to scoop water into the toilet in order to ‘manually’ flush it. Ladies, keep an eye out. No matter who came out of the bathroom, the seat was always up thanks to the manual flushing system.

the water to fill the toilet to 'flush' it

And this is Daisy’s house.

The three of us dropped our bags by our beds, or in my case, raised them, and together made our way back to the supermarket to figure out our dinner before the sun goes down!

Sights around Cabo Polonio

The bus dropped us off on the side of the road. Just a few of us got off at the stop.

Everyone that got off knew we needed to buy tickets and we all followed one another to where the trucks were gathered. We purchased our tickets for the 4×4 trip to Cabo Polonio.

The journey would take 30 minutes and the views on the empty beach were pretty cool.

(This is a photo as we arrived into town). We were the only truck on the beach at the time so I only got shots of the pristine beach from our particular 4×4 — but the views were stunning. It’s amazing that a place like this exists.

another shot of the 4x4 trucksthe 'road' to cabo polonia
When we arrived in Cabo Polonio, I learned that the directions to Daisy’s place were a bit like a scavenger hunt. We were to find the supermarket and ask for Daisy’s house. There, someone would be able to direct us.

Yes, someone would know. Was Daisy the mayor? Was the town this small?

Um. Yes, practically and yes.

We headed to the supermarket per my new friend’s notes. Here, a shot of the supermarket.

buy bus tickets on the left and shop in the supermarket on the right

Sure enough, as my new friends were promised, at the supermarket someone knew and we were directed to (or at least pointed in the direction of) Daisy’s house/apartment/shelter. This is the view from the supermarket. Cozy cottages dotted the landscape.

I’m so curious. This couple hadn’t been in Uruguay for more than a few weeks. How did they meet Daisy? Who is Daisy? Are they good friends? Am I crashing on an old friend’s reunion?

At this point, I’m so confused. From the pieces of conversation that I’m picking up – I begin to realize – this couple doesn’t know who Daisy is either! Here I am thinking they know her, and I know Daisy just as much as they do.

My curiosity was absolutely piqued and I couldn’t wait to find Daisy’s house and my accommodations (I hoped!) for the evening.

what the village looked like

What to Expect in Cabo Polonio

Hot water: unlikely

Running water: maybe

Electricity: no

Was I nervous? A little.

Was I excited for the unknown? Definitely.

on the truck to cabo polonia

En Route to Cabo Polonio

Esteban and I arrived at Paula’s house. Paula had known I was heading to Cabo Polonia and had given me a business card for her friend’s hostel, but there was no website. Or phone number. Or address, aside from ‘Cabo Polonia, Uruguay.’

Paula simply told me to ask around when I got to town. Unsure of what to expect, I took the business card and hoped for the best. I forgot to take a photo of Paula’s house but here’s a picture of the postcard she gave me as a souvenier.

I started to wonder what I was getting into. Online, there weren’t many places with reviews, or addresses even. And less information when I Googled Cabo Polonio, and I wasn’t really sure where I would be sleeping that night.

Clearly, I wouldn’t be able to figure it out until I arrived so I grabbed my bags, said my goodbyes and Paula and I headed out in the Scooby Doo van – there were no seatbelts and I’m not sure I would classify what I sat in as a seat. It was sort of a hollowed out van with a gas pedal and brakes.

I felt like we were in a parade. Paula knew the whole town and spent the whole drive to the bus stop waving to everyone and stopping to say hola! I couldn’t help but smile. This is not your mom’s trip to Uruguay!

Paula dropped me off at the bus stop – the hut on the side of a dirt road – where I would wait for the bus to Cabo Polonia.

Figuring the bus would be continuing on the side of the road where I had been dropped off, I headed over to a couple with backpacks. Wanting to check that I was, in fact, in the right spot, waiting for the right bus to Cabo Polonia, I asked in Spanish if they were heading to the east.

To my surprise, they replied, that they were, in English.

An Unexpected Offer, Vague Advice and a Surprise!

Over our noqui lunch, Romina and Mariela invited me to stay in each of their apartments when I arrived in Montevideo later that week.

Remember, this was the weekend and they were both headed back to their apartments in Montevideo for the week — it’s like they headed to the shore for the weekend.

I told them I had no problem staying in a hostel yet they each insisted I stay with them. I took both their numbers and emails and we agreed that I would send an email when I knew my plan and the day that I’d be heading back to Montevideo.

I was overwhelmed by their generosity and excited to see Montevideo through the eyes of locals.

Would you think twice about inviting this solo backpacker into your home? They didn’t even bat an eye and insisted I meet them.

We left lunch and walked towards a shop that sold bus tickets. En route, we ran into Esteban, from the hostel. He was heading towards the hostel to report for his shift. We told him that I would be heading back that way too and if he’d come with us for the bus tickets, I could head back with him, rather than on my own, since the girls were going right back to the beach.

He agreed and the four of us headed towards a shop that sold tickets in order to buy my onward ticket to Cabo Polonia.

Once I had my ticket, I said goodbye to Romina and Mariela knowing I would see them in a few days in Montevideo. Esteban and I headed back on a main road that I hadn’t seen prior.

It was paved!!! A paved road!!

He asked if I minded hitchhiking. I thought about it for half a second and said sure.

Sorry mom and dad. It was really hot, Esteban said it was a few kilometers and I needed to ensure I had enough time to grab my bags, find a place to stay (wishful thinking) and make my way back to the ‘bus’ stop.

Esteban tried waving down other cars but no luck – breathe easy, mom and dad – we walked the rest of the way.

Dia de Noquis

Less than a week after my arrival in South America, I would get to celebrate my first holiday in Uruguay — Dia de Noquis! (Day of the Gnocchi!)

dia de noquis

The story goes …

By the time the end of the month rolled around no one had much money left. Gnocchi was cheap to make since the only ingredients needed were flour, potato and eggs. Remember that the next time you order a $30USD plate in New York City. Tradition says to place money under your plate for good luck the following month.

And because Uruguayans love a good holiday, there you have it. Dia de noquis! Since I happened to be in La Pedrera on the 29th of January, I happily partook and enjoyed my noquis y vino for lunch with Romina and Mariela.

Just a Sunday in January…on the Beach

My right eye had been bothering me for a few days, but when I woke this morning it was itching more than it had been.

I put glasses on and shrugged it off. Romina, Mariela and I had a lovely breakfast at the hostel before heading to the beach for the day.

We went to the beach, and the girls had packed beach bags. Blankets, magazines and snacks, not unlike what I would pack for a beach. Though it was nice to share a blanket and not sit on my scarf again.

We hung out on the beach, relaxed, chatted and read magazines for a few hours and then, since it was 29 January, I was to celebrate my first holiday on my trip.


Going Home as the Sun Comes Up

Our night ended sometime around 4.30. It took us a while to get back to the hostel.

We walked home from the bars via the beach. The only way Romina knew how to get back was by following the ocean. It was windy and freezing and I was exhausted nad all I wanted was a warm bed!

I’d eventually get into bed at nearly 5am, but I don’t recall it being very warm.

We awoke a few hours later and had a lovely breakfast before heading to the beach for the day.

The question that had me puzzled and continues to puzzle me. How do Argentines and Uruguayans eat late and stay out late yet get up early and function?

The answer still eludes me.

Hopping Around Town, On the Only Street in Town

When Romina introduced Mariela and I to people around the bar, everyone I met was so friendly and eager to talk to me.

I found that many people wanted to practice their English with me, which was so great. Especially because up until now, I found that many people were hesitant to speak English with a native speaker. I guess alcohol loosens everyone up with their language skills, including me!

It was great fun listening to places in the States people wanted to visit, or ask about, or tell me where they had family living. New York is a popular place!

The other thing people kept asking me was, with a bit of disbelief, ‘Why are you here?’

Was it because they don’t think Americans travel? Was it because Americans don’t ge around to these parts?

The chef from the hostel met us out later and introduced us around to his friends.

After bar hopping on the main (only) street, I firmly believe after all of those introductions, I was the only person not from the continent out that night.

Heading to Town

I may have failed to mention it was cold out. We were close to the ocean and even in jeans and a fleece, I was chilly.

Romina and Mariela went back to the room to freshen up. I had limited attire, and I was freezing, so I stayed as is.

Now it was nearly 1am, and I was comfortable in my jeans, tank and fleece. And ladies, I even had my Keens on.

I was cold and I didn’t know what to expect and for some reason, I didn’t even think to at least put flip flops on.

We headed out. The three of us were in jeans and tanks. The difference, and why I felt so dorky, was that they had cardigans and nice sandals. I was in a fleece and hiking shoes.

We were in a small, casual beach town that screamed of flip flops, jeans and tanks.

What I quickly learned was that some girls didn’t care what the temperature was! All the bars we went to were outside or open-air and some of these girls were barely dressed!

We ordered pitchers of beer, and since the music was so loud, dancing is a universal language! Yes, even in my Keens.