Hold onto your seats, cos this blog is a rollercoaster ride!
So, my last stop in South America was Uruguay, and it was most definitely a quick stop.I took a very unremarkable ferry across the water to Colonia, which was also quite unremarkable.Well, that's unfair; it is a very pretty little place, with sweeping tree-lines boulevards sloping down to the sea, and lots of quaint cobbled streets, bars, cafes and colonial architecture.I'm sure that it is lovely in the summer, especially if you have a big wad of cash to get rid of, but the place was DEAD when I was there.I treated myself to a nice hotel though, with cable TV, and went to watch England qualify for the World Cup finals in a little cafe, on my own.Like in Argentina, the people were extremely friendly and I felt very welcome, but the place was a little bit soulless to say the least.
After the match I took a bus to Montevideo through the Uruguayan 'countryside', which was essentially just flat farmland with a uniform spread of houses all the way there; it was far from rural, just a continuous smudge of populace from Colonia to Montevideo.There were lots of very old-looking tractors about though, left over from the beef boom I guess, which was a nice touch.Anyway, I digress.I never really gave Montevideo much of a chance, as I arrived there in the afternoon and left early the next morning, but I stayed right in the centre and checked the place out a bit.In summary: expensive, unremarkable, and DEAD.That said, my hostel was great, and I shared a very homely meal with the owners and chatted rubbish in Spanish until the small hours, shortly after which I got onto my flight to Costa Rica.See, I told you: rollercoaster.
I will always hang on dearly to the memories I have from Argentina and Buenos Aires in my last few days in the Southern Hemisphere, whereas I guess I will remember Uruguay as a kind of fancy transit lounge.It was the end of an era or travelling and working in an amazing continent, just shy of a year after I had left London.
But, this isn't the end.Next is a two-and-a-half month stint working somewhere I know that I love, doing something meaningful, meeting lots of new people and having lots of fun.The turtle conservation project in Drake Bay, Costa Rica, at which Sarah and I had volunteered last July, is going to be home until I head to Europe for Teresa and Krissy's weddings in September.This time I will be working as a research assistant, alongside David, and all of my accommodation and food is paid for.I'm going to be establishing an English school for the locals, organising the programme of work for the volunteers, and coordinating operations on the beach.I have just arrived in San Jose to the sounds of gekos and tropical birds, and the taste of gallo pinto.It turns out that one of the volunteers who I met last year, Irene, is also coming back to work as a research assistant - we just met at her hostel to celebrate!Now we're just playing the waiting game, holding on until we get our 'Pura Vida' passes to fly to Peninsula de Osa.
Goodbye South America; goodbye indigenous cultures, ancient cities, deserts, cold weather, dry weather, crazy parties, crazy schoolchildren, altitude, mountains, hats, scarves, trousers, shoes, alpaca wool, vibrant cities, bright colours, and spectacular vistas... hello jungle, beach, snakes, monkeys, mosquitos, crocodiles, birdlife, turtles, whales, orcas, dolphins, ugly cities, hot weather, wet weather, hard work, shorts, sandals, sun-tan, blood, sweat and tears!