The last few years the Uruguay government determined that a good method to stimulate tourism is to reduce taxes on the tourist economy. There is no IVA on hotel accomodations, and if you pay in restaurants with an international credit card, the IVA is subtracted from the bill. It’s an 18% tax rate, so it makes a lot of sense to use a credit card. Since we have a couple of cards that do not charge fees for international transactions and also give cash rebates for purchases traveling here is a bargain. I’m somewhat concerned that the Uruguayan people are subsidizing the tourist industry since they end up paying the entire tax burden. I guess it’s not that much different than states in the US giving large tax abatements to corporations.
Today we returned to Montevideo where we will be situated in a very modern and comfortable aparment in the Parque Rodo neigborhood. It is an excellent location, near markets, restaurants, cervezerias, and, of course, a park.
Since it is a four hour bus ride we decided to walk to the bus station in Punta del Diablo and then walk to our apartment in Montevideo. Altogether that is about three miles, which is not that much in the scheme of things, but seems like a major ordeal in the heat and humidity. I mention that in a cheap ploy to gather sympathy, but I know it is a vain gesture, since mostly people will say “you are so fortunate to have your experience, why do you complain about the weather?” Of course you are right. It was actually something a a cake walk. It was hot, of course, but it beats the hell out of being somewhere where it is 50 degrees colder than the inside of a refrigerator (thanks for the reference, Margo).
After settling in to the apartment we decided to walk to the coast and watch the sunset. Along the way we passed through the park, which is really quite nice.
And then to the Ramblas Franklin Roosevelt, which is a major thouroughfare on the coast of the Rio de Plata that is still the widest river in the world.
Off in the distance you still can’t see Argentina.
As the sun set we headed to a bookstore that our host told us about that serves a good dinner. Our guide book says it only serves coffee, tea and light food, but we thought we’d check it out anyway. When we got there we found the bookstore’s cafe had a night menu and decided to stay there. We both had rib eye steaks with a green salad. The steaks were excellent, grilled to perfection The service was very professional and attentive. I ordered a beer before dinner and it came in an ice bucket to keep it cold. I’ve never ever seen that. Paula capped off her meal with a dulce de leche flan, and I had a serving of Cuban rum, neat. It was really one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time.
I didn’t get any good photos of the bookstore/restaurant. I can show you the floor.
We were done for the day and headed back to the apartment, but along the way found we were not really done. We heard some rhythmic drumming and walked up the street to check it out. We ended up dancing in the street with some really friendly and excited locals who invited us (particularly Paula) to join in .
I took a video that I will try to post here, but I’ve had intermittent success. Let’s see how it does.
Well that was our day today. We have more to say about our stays in Buenos Aires and Punta de Diablo, but that will have to wait. Right now we are looking forward to a night in an air conditioned aparment that we are not sharing with mosquitos and flies.
Hey Paul and Ed, it is so fun to hear your different perspective and thoughts on your experiences! It all sounds wonderful, and I had to laugh at Ed for disliking the humidity and heat but being reminded that people are literally freezing here
wow! these interspersed fabulous “pop up happenings” make the trip! Bookstore/restaurant, stellar chow, street band for Paula, AC for deep bugless sleep. Life is great. Fun post!, And dance video came thru perfectly.
Loving travels with you both!
Thanks for your comments. We just boarded our overnight bus to Mendoza. The bus station was a zoo but the chaos made sense in the end. We’ll be posting tomorrow