It is now beginning to be a bit frustrating, waiting on the Grande Amburgo to arrive. The car has been cleaned, and trying to make the food last until the ship comes is proving a little tiresome. I went back into Piriapolis on the 22nd April for hopefully one last shop. It was nice to just get out of the camp site for a while, and I went into town past the old church I had photographed previously. When I had mentioned this church to Heinz (the camp site owner) previously, he had explained to me that it is actually “being built”, not an old ruin ! But when I say “being built”, it is actually not being currently worked on – An interesting tale…….
I understand that threesome years ago there was a Senor Piria (maybe he still “is” ?), who was the original founder of Piriapolis. His daughter was to get married, and there was no local church suitable for such an important occasion – So he decided he would build one ! Just for his daughter’s wedding ! Trouble is, it never got finished – and whether his daughter ever got married in the shell, I do not know – And today it remains a half finished church with an unknown future !
After doing my shop in town, I decided to go back to the Zoo at the foot of Cerro Pan de Azucar that we had climbed last week, have my lunch in the nice park there, and then wander round the zoo and see some of the enclosures that I had missed last time. A broad-snouted caiman was lying right beside the fence sunbathing, and one of the lovely horned owls that I had seen last time was all excited about something and had his feathers fluffed up so he looked twice his normal size. I found some Mountain Cats this time, and while the one that looked like a mini Jaguar was dozing quietly in his cage (Geoffroy’s Cat ?) , a jet black one that looked remarkably like a house cat was spitting and hissing at me constantly – Certainly wouldn’t have wanted him out of his cage because if there hadn’t been a fence, he would have attacked me !! Much fiercer than the big Jaguars !!
Then there was a nice sleepy ring tailed possum, but a HORRIBLE white eared possum that was more like Taz the Tassie Devil – Hissing and screeching at me if I got too close – Totally different tyrpes of possums ! After them were a number of birds, including flamingos and a very distinctive Urraca, or Plush crested Jay, with brilliant blue eyebrows and a white tummy. After passing the Nandu deer and rhea, I spied the reptile building which I had missed last time. Big tarantulas, a few sleepy snakes, and a crazy little Grison or weasel type animal that ran around so quickly he was almost impossible to photograph !
After driving back to the camp site I found new French arrivals Patrice and his wife in their very large and new MAN truck. What a monster, but it contains everything including washing machine and everything else. Very nice but a bit too big for me !
Over the next few days we did a lot of socialising, and became quite a close “group” – For many of us it was the first time we had stopped for so long in once place. One or the other of us would light the bbq to cook meat or sausages, and we ended up having small dinners together, often in the shelter near the bbq as the temperatures started to drop in the evening, making sitting outside too uncomfortable.
Finally we heard that the Grand Amburgo was getting close, and we were given a final embarkation date of 2nd May – As against the original 27th April. Then my computer broke down !! And I just couldn’t envisage having to spend 4 weeks on the ship with no computer to occupy me ! Luckily the camp site was having some problems with their wifi and had some computer people over, and they took my computer with them to see if they could fix it. They brought it back just the da before we were due to leave, and they had got it charging again, so big relief ! Not cheap though – Uruguay is not a cheap country compared to most other S American countries.
I then had to run into Piriapolis to get some money to pay the camp site since the computer people had eatenn into my planned reserves. It was May 1st and everything was closed – Even the Peaje toll station on the highway, which was nice ! However I then had to negotiate quite a nasty rear-end accident on the way in to town. When I got there, luckily the two ATMs were operating, although one of them went through the whole withdrawal process but then didn’t give me any money, so I will need to keep my eye on the bank statement back home to make sure they don’t charge me !! For our last night in the camp site, we planned a putt putt golf tournament on the little course, and then we had booked in for a dinner in Heinz & Sylvia’s little restaurant. After an hour or so of “golf”, we sat down to a delicious bbq done by Heinz, and including a little grappa later (supplied by Michael and Simone !). An excellent last night in Uruguay, in the camp site, and indeed in S America.