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Musing on Montevideo

Our time here is coming to an end in a couple of days and I have some observations.

Condiments

French fries abound, yet ketchup is nearly impossible to come by in most restaurants.

Pepper in the shaker at restaurants is finely ground, nearly white and virtually tasteless. I can easily be mistaken for salt except that salt has flavor. If you ask the waiter they will often bring you a real pepper grinder. Much better.

Buses
Riding the bus here is an adventure. First, you have to be somewhat aggressive to get on–waving the bus down and even going out into the street to get on. None of this stand well back from the curb–you will not make it. If you’re the last in a long line of people getting on–hang on. The driver will take off as soon as you have stepped onto the bus. Since the line of people in front of you is still paying (there is a guy sitting behind the driver taking money and making change) you will not be able to climb the steps. This means the door cannot be shut. So–you are hanging on from the bottom step as the bus speeds along with the door open.

If you are standing near the door to exit the bus. Hang on. The bus driver will likely open the door before the bus comes to a stop. At first I was afraid they wanted me to tuck and roll as I leaped off the moving bus. This, however, does not appear to be necessary. The bus will eventually stop. Usually the bus does not start to go again until you have both feet on the pavement. Just don’t hesitate too long with one foot on pavement and one foot on bus. I don’t think the driver will wait long for you to complete the dismount.

On board entertainment is sometimes included in the form of street peddlers. These folks may be selling anything from chewing gum to socks to healing copper bracelets. The vendors always have a great story and an impassioned sales pitch. Even though I only understand half of what they say, I always find it interesting. They sometimes simply entertain with music. A guitarist singing folk songs can be a real treat. Last week we had two teen boys and a boom box rapping. I’ve noticed that they do a good business. Whether they are singers or vendors a lot of people on the bus hand out money.

More observations to come tomorrow.

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