26 March 2009

Uruguay 2009, part 11: La Pedrera

The day we arrived in La Pedrera marked one week of our journey, and like many other times before and after, it felt incredible to me that so much could have happened in such a short time.

El TucánWe had already called Janneo, the owner of our hostel in La Pedrera, to reassure him and promise, swear that we wouldn't fail him. Even then he hadn't felt extremely sure, and when we came into his front yard, almost at noon, he greeted us with genuine joy and noticeable relief, and proceeded to make us comfortable in our room at once. It was good to finally have a place for ourselves, with a private bathroom where you didn't have to wait on a queue to take a shower or pray for hot water to come out, and without other people's luggage scattered on the floor.

The room itself was little (the bed took up most of it), but well-lit, painted white, with an immaculately clean bathroom (separated from the rest only by a translucent curtain). Its sliding window was also its entrance.

Breakfast wasn't provided, and there was no kitchen available either, which somehow stretched the definition of a hostel and made the price less acceptable; but after three days of living in a tight space, it was paradise. We went out, therefore, to look for lunch, and since we were in good spirits, we splashed out: we sat at the table of a nice little restaurant, beside the main street (filled with sun and sand) and had a good meal with a cold beer.

If La Paloma can be termed a city, La Pedrera is definitely what you'd call a little town. The only paved street is the main one, which leads straight to the sea, which anyway isn't far from anywhere, in one direction or another.

Calle principal


Marisa had a vague reminiscence of the place from a visit long ago. It had changed only a bit; many luxurious homes had sprouted near the coast, there were certain facilities on the previously empty beach, and the visitors weren't all adventurous youth but also elderly people and families, including a good proportion of Argentinians. On both sides of the main street, populated by trucks and full of beach-goers, there were bars, restaurants, bakeries and takeaway food stores, besides a couple of little supermarkets and a few artisans' spots.

After downing our food as best we could, we went down to the sea. Again we had to endure wind and clouds. My secret hope of witnessing a storm over the sea, however, wasn't fulfilled.

Bajada a la playa

We stayed for a long while, until it started getting uncomfortably cool. We returned to the hostel, had a hot shower to rid ourselves of the cold, the sand and the tiredness, and went out again to fetch dinner. We had empanadas. Marisa, evidently not in her highest moment regarding food, almost couldn't sleep. I didn't do that well either, since (as in Montevideo) mosquitoes attacked.

While we were in La Paloma he'd been unable to arrange a trip to Cabo Polonio, and here in La Pedrera we were all set to go the next day. Nice trip, I thought — me without sleep, and Marisa with her stomach turned into a knot... But finally our tiredness got the best of us both, and when we woke up, with the whole town still drowned in the silence and coolness of morning, we managed to get started with the help of coffee and tea, served in a baker's shop which was evidently used to early birds.

We only had one more beach day ahead...

To be continued...

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