Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Punta del Este

I realize that I haven't posted in awhile about the final destination for our Semana Santa trip. Its been a busy few weeks! So here's a brief snapshot of our three days in Punta.
First, I'll preface by saying that Punta is the place where a lot of our students go for the summer, and its the "it" place to be seen by Argentines, Paraguayans, and Brazilians. So we thought we have to go there once and at least see what everyone has been talking about. Quite honestly, it was an okay beach with a lot of people! It was our least favorite part of the trip. We did play some paddle ball on the beach, laid out in the sun, ate some good steak, and went for a nice bike ride.
Here is a view of Punta- notice all the high rise buildings along the white sand beach?
Here is a view of the rocky side of the peninsula.

Finally, us in front of the "hand." There was a famous artist who built this structure on the beach here and its a famous landmark in Uruguay. Our hotel was about two blocks from here, which was incredibly nice to be so close to the beach.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monte de Ombues and La Paloma, Uruguay

After Cabo, we went to a went to a national park with a population of the national plant/tree the ombues. Biologists don't know exactly how to classify the plant, because its huge like a tree, but doesn't grow like a tree, it grows like a bush. Anyway, they were pretty cool and along the way there we saw some amazing waterfowl.
After the park, we went to La Paloma which is known for its surfing. Jess and I had tried surfing two years ago in Costa Rica, and he wanted to try it again. He needs more practice!
La Paloma was a very chill beach town, but one thing that was cool was that they had a whale skeleton in the center of town. Here, Flat Tristan (my cousin's flat person who took the trip with us) had his picture taken with the skeleton.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Cabo Polonia, Uruguay

In almost all Latin American countries, the week before Easter is Holy Week, which means time off from school. This year, Jess and I headed to Uruguay and the beach! I don't know about Jess, but I have definitely been missing the beach after the easy access we had last year, so it was an easy decision for me to head to Uruguay with some friends, Chris and Trish.

The first place we went to in Uruguay is called Cabo Polonia. This place was both Jess' and my favorite place we went to. Cabo is interesting in a few different ways. One, there really isn't a road to get there. Anyone going there has to take the 20+ minute tractor ride on sand to get there.
Once there, we had to find our "hotel". Cabo isn't a huge beach destination and where we were staying was actually a lady's house who rents out two rooms. The coolest part for me about Cabo was the house that we stayed in.
Cabo doesn't get electricity from the country's powergrid- any electricity that houses have are from solar panels on the roofs of houses. Our posada (rented house) had some, so there was some electricity for a few lights and a radio. There also isn't water piped in, we used rain water collected in blue barrels on the roof to wash dishes and shower.
The entire community was created in a kind of haphazard construction in an environmentally friendly way.
We were also only a two minute walk to the beach, which was almost completely deserted and absolutely beautiful!
The entire atmosphere of the place was just incredible, with ecologically minded people who have created this self-sustainable area. We also walked over to the lighthouse which was very pictoresque and reminded us of classic lighthouses.
During the summer months, the rocks along the coast of Cabo are filled with sea lions and seals. Since it is now fall, the rocks weren't filled, but we did get to see a few sunning themselves.