View from a height

Here I sit in Parque Rodó in Montevideo, Uruguay. Dennis and Kat asked me if I would continue to write my editor’s notes (even though I am on vacation), and I couldn’t think of any reason not to. Anyway, I’m on a park bench, next to a man, Eduardo. He’s the guy who filled me in on the reason the cops stopped me from crossing the street to get to the ocean: George W. Bush is going to drive along here in an hour or so. Figures.

I thought about writing an actual news story, but only for a moment. There are so many more important things happening here than running around getting soundbite quotes from the natives who were made restless by GW’s visit. At any rate, I took pictures as his entourage drove by, and as soon as I get some Internet time that doesn’t cost me by the minute, I’m going to post them. I couldn’t help myself, though. I went to the American Embassy, met the official photographer, and we went inside to ask if I could take a picture of the building. Somebody asked somebody who asked somebody else, and they said, “No.” Cracked me up.

Throw anything you think you know about South America out of your mind when you think of Uruguay. I’m a regular-sized guy here. The people are as tall as my family, and blue eyes are not particularly unusual. The people say, “Ciao,” when they part. They barely pronounce their S’s. Por ejemplo, my host dad, Ricardo, calls the stuff he drinks “whikey.” I heard this city was safe, but I had no idea what that entailed. What it means is that a single, attractive woman can walk the downtown streets at 2 a.m. without fear. And they do because the city becomes vivacious after dark. It’s kind of like the whole of the city is that area between Sierra and Arlington Avenue on West First, except there are house parties everywhere. It’s freaking unbelievable. You’ve got to love a country that honors famous artists on its money instead of dead politicians (whom Ricardo called, “makers of war”).