My summer vacation

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I’m still in Montevideo, Uruguay. Bear with me. Let me tell you about my weekend.

Friday evening, I went to an art opening for my Spanish teacher’s mom. She’s a sculptor and painter. Pretty interesting stuff. I couldn’t point out the Latin touches, the differences in style that made it so obviously South American, but I could tell.

After the gallery, I went down the street to a bar where a musician had invited me to come watch him play. He told me to get there about 10:30 p.m., but he still hadn’t arrived by 11:30. Some things don’t change with locale. Another guy had been eyeing me down the bar, and he came over and told me to come outside. I could see a certain distance in his eyes that suggested illegal pastimes—we are very close to Bolivia’s coke fields. From his questions (How much have you had to drink? Do you live around here? Are you walking?), I got a strong feeling he wasn’t a guy to be trusted. Anyway, he warned me to be careful. “Cuidado,” he said, pulling down his lower right eyelid with his index finger. You see that signal a lot around here.

So I went to find a punk-rock bar where I wouldn’t have to worry about ladrones (thieves).

Saturday, I went to the original city, Ciudad Viejo. It’s a huge, ancient shopping district. A bit touristy for my taste, but not like you’d see in the United States. There, I met an Argentinean silversmith, and we drank wine out of a plastic water bottle and talked about peace and Carlos Castaneda. Later, I went to the Mercado del Puerto and ate something; I don’t know what. Some kind of beef covered in cheese with onions and peppers and served with spherical fried potatoes. I told the barman that if I lived here, I’d die fat. But happy.

I returned to the punk-rock pub later. I drank with the 20-30-somethings until the sun rose.

Darn, I’m out of room and I didn’t even have a chance to tell you about the tens of thousands of people who turn out to the beach to watch the sunset or the band of candombe players I found playing in the street late Sunday night.