Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 35, Uruguay

After that absolutely spectacular show of the Southern Lights we left Antarctica behind us and flew to Montevideo.

This is the the largest city, the capital and chief port of Uruguay and the only city in the country with a population over 1,000,000.
Some say that Montevideo provides the highest quality of life in Latin America.

We drove past the Harbour and ...what is that tall building?

It is the Torre de las Telecomunicaciones (Telecommunications Tower) or Torre Antel (Antel Tower), a 158 meter tall building with 35 floors. This is the headquarters of Uruguay's government-owned telecommunications company, ANTEL, and is the tallest building in the country.

So where are we headed to? Any guesses?? The Rambla? La Feria Tristán Narvaja Flea Market? Pocitos?

No, we are going to hop out of the taxi and take a walk to Montevideo's Port Market or Mercado del Puerto, where we will meet our friend Daniel

Every day at noon the Mercado del Puerto (port market) works with numerous restaurants which serve primarily the traditional Uruguayan beef (recognized worldwide for its quality) in a gourmet and arts proposal, with tango performers, tipic drums or guitar players that run restaurants charging "will price".

As we enter the aroma of grilled meat wafts through the air....oh dear, we can hear Ramzi and Feroz's tummies growling....What's to eat, what's to eat??

Food in Uruguay is all about meat. White-clad cooks run back and forth poking, flipping, and plating enormous piles of sizzling chicken and steaks, links of spicy sausage (húngaras), blood sausage (morcilla) and chorizo, as well as kidneys (riñones), sweetbreads (mollejas) and other organ meats, and still more steaks. We were told to try the parillada.

Sit-down restaurants are also available within this market building, each staffed with an enthusiastic host attempting to entice us in with sweet talk, menus and offers of free food and drinks.
Free?? Nopi and Marti want to know about the wines...
We are informed about the local specialties
clericó - white wine mixed with fruit juice, or
medio y medio - a mix of sparkling wine and white wine, or
sangria, red wine with sugar and chopped fruit.

We decided to sit down to a meal before shopping .....
What's on the menu besides the meat dishes asked Amit and Sita?
Well, they had a Chivito( without the meat) - This is the local sandwich, usually made with meat and vegetables, served al plato (in the dish) . It is tastier, cheaper and much bigger than a hamburger.

Desserts - Wow, desserts are huge and plentiful here . There is dulce de leche on almost everything and stores that sell nothing but caramels. On our way here we noticed that many places sell nothing but dessert!

What's to drink?
El Mate - This traditional drink is ubiquitous!! Mate is derived from the herb yerba that was originally used by the indigenous Guarani living near the Rio de la Plata. Most of the city-dwellers in Montevideo prefer to drink their mate without sugar, called a Mate amargo. Gourds and horns are constantly being refilled with the brew from sun-up to sun-down.

Salus - A mineral water bottled in Uruguay.

Tutti Frutti - A mix of delicious freshly squeezed fruit juice with ice.

We now feel fortified for a good rummage .......

and go in search of woolen sweaters, capes, scarves, shawls, blankets, rugs and tapestries as well as a variety of other hand-produced goods including leather goods and wood items. We are not disappointed as Daniel taught us to bargain with the vendors.

No comments: