How to Uruguay my way
Within two weeks of being in Buenos Aires, I really thought I started to get the hang of things in the city. I finally figured out how to exchange money, where to find good food, and how to work public transportation. It was then, that IFSA-Butler decided to whisk us away to Uruguay for a beach vacation. Our plan was to head to Colonia to see the town and visit Mario’s house. Then, we would head to Punta del Este where we would spend the remainder 3 days lying on the beach and forgetting that we had to start classes eventually. Uruguay can be a confusing little country, and people might under-appreciate the value of this small country. The trick is to turn this vacation into your own and make the most out of the country, even when it rains.
Colonia: In Colonia, we arrived at the bus terminal to small military base on our right side, and wild dogs chasing cars on the right side. In fact, I might have seen more Uruguayan dogs than actual people while I was in Colonia. It was pouring rain which was sad, but Mario’s house was amazing and cheered everybody up. He lived in this huge house with greenery everywhere, and outside the house was a pool and a lemon orchard. He even had his own restaurant next to the lemon orchard. All the kids in the program came to the consensus: Our weddings would take place at casa Mario.
Punta Del Este: Punta del Este, fun fact, has its name because on the map it is the furthest point east of the whole country. In Punta del Este, we stayed at a huge hotel that had 2 pools, a restaurant, and a gym. Needless to say, it was a very fancy hotel. The time that we went Uruguay, it was their off season so there were not any people around. Normally during the summer, there are tons of rich people vacationing on the beach because the Uruguayan beaches are so famous(especially Punta del Este). After we arrived at the hotel, I immediately wanted to go to the beach, so we did exactly that. The beach was different from my normal jersey shore getaway, as it was clean and the water was clearer. There was also sea foam everywhere which made a picturesque view.
On day 2, we went back to hangout on the beach. We took a detour and ended up walking along the whole beach line of Punta del Este which was technically two beaches. One beach was known for being calm, and the other was known for being rough with big waves for surfing. The calm beach was absolutely paradise. The sand was was so white and it the water felt so good to dip my feet in.
On the beach, we also found cool structures like a boardwalk and a statue of fingers. The statue of fingers was one of the weirdest things I have seen, mostly because it didn’t make sense. There wasn’t any historical significance, it was just giant fingers that stuck out of the sand and people took pictures with it(and of course I had to sit on the thumb!). We also loved walking under the boardwalk and taking pictures because we could see the city of Uruguay perfectly. Much to my surprise, Uruguay kind of looked like a big city with its tall buildings which were actually just beach apartments.
We got to enjoy the nights of Uruguay by eating at restaurants selected by IFSA( so when there is free food and free wine, who is complaining). We had huge meals and amazing deserts. The night life is also so much fun in Uruguay. The best place was called Moby Dick, where so many people form our program went that we filled the dance floor. It was so funny and amazing and one the best nights in Uruguay.
On day 3, we got to enjoy our final day on the beach. As a group, the IFSA program walked us to the beach that was in front of the seafood restaurant we ate at for lunch. It was a nice last day, and because it was got outside some of us were lucky enough to go for a swim in the clear blue water. The meal was of course amazing as well, which included my favorite food fried calamari.
With that, we ended our beach vacation and really orientation. We knew that after this, we will have to start class which means acknowledging that we are “studying” abroad and not just abroad. I made the Uruguay trip special because I did it my way, and I hope anyone else who goes there does the same!