Central Uruguay

ihana.com - big trip - diary - uruguay - december 2002



Back on dirt roads

Abandoned train wagons

Thursday 19 December

The centre of Uruguay is all fields with the occasional forested area and small stands of trees planted to give shade to the livestock. Ostriches are wild here and plenty of other birdlife too with their mud or stick nests atop almost every telegraph pole or road sign.

There is still a railway running from the north to the southern coast which was built by the British. One train a day or so brings harvested rice to the port and stops at some road crossings to take on passengers too.

Flooded lake...

...doesn't stop horses...

...or landies

Fish stranded in a puddle

Ferry across the lake with the laads, loike

Cows in the road

The reservoir Rincon del Bonete must be crossed by a free government run ferry. The access road to the ferry was flooded up to about three feet deep, well indicated by a horse that was having a bath in the middle of it all. He soon moved as the landy pushed through with no worries. We met a guy on a bike who told us that we'd have to go back through the water again and get the ferry from a different landing point. He hitched a ride on the roof to avoid getting wet and told us about the current 20% unemployment in Uruguay due to the recent economic disaster in the wake of Argentina's collapse. Being one of them didn't seem to bother him at all as he could do enough odd jobs to feed his family until things got better.

Series 1 Landy

Camping next to...

...their farm turns out well

Getting off the ferry we drove along a mixture of tarmac and dirt roads until we spotted somebody waving frantically at us from a house beside a series 1 landy. We pulled into the garden and narrowly missed squashing her plants thinking that she'd be inviting us to dinner being a fellow landy fan. Instead she seemed a bit nervous and asked what we were doing there...no explanation of the mad waving earlier.

A little further on the sun was getting low and the pressure was on to find a camp site. Everywhere is fenced but we found a little-used track by a field where there was a guy working with his wife. A quick chat to make sure it was ok tocamp turned into a longer discussion about all sorts and we were invited to go horse riding the next morning.

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