“I can always guess where someone comes from” boasts the doorman at my hotel. So what about me? “United States of course”. He is losing his touch if he cannot tell a French person from an American. Granted, I am also a US Citizen.
Habitually vibrant Montevideo is overcast today and seems a little sad and sorry in the drizzle that obscures its colonial buildings. The magnificent Plaza Independencia, ordinarily oozing old-fashion charm, appears lackluster. And it’s cold. So I retreat to a café at the corner of the famous square for a cup of hot cocoa.
Thus invigorated, I resume my stroll through the streets of the Uruguayan capital. At an impromptu open air market, old knickknacks are available for sale. I buy a set of old car tags, discarded because they are black and white and Uruguayan tags nowadays are blue on white.
But the best market in Montevideo is at Parque Zorilla de San Martín-Ellauri. Live chicken, ducks, rabbits and even Siamese kittens are kept on straw in cages piled high. It is as much a fair as a market, with musicians performing between fruit and vegetable stalls.
Montevideo is an excellent place to shop, unrivaled when it comes to top quality leather goods at reasonable prices. Defeated by the weather, I buy a suede coat, a purse and a pair of riding-style boots at an indoor shopping mall that would not be out of place in the USA. Except perhaps for a women’s clothes store called “Tits”.