Uruguay Weekend

Charles Hamer
December 15, 2018

Finals are nearing and emotions are stirring. My time here in Argentina is almost done. Can you believe that? I can't! I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with the nearing end of my program. I felt like I needed some time to reflect on the last few months and think about how I wanted to close out my last few moments. This was a good enough excuse for me to pause studying and take the ferry across Rio de La Plata straight into Uruguay.

I didn’t know what to expect because this was my first solo trip, and I hadn’t heard much about Uruguay other than it being a slower paced version of Argentina. While that’s true, Uruguay is so much more than that.

My first stop was Montevideo. A fun city filled with incredibly beautiful architecture and lots of chivitos (Uruguayan sandwiches). Similar to Santiago or Valparaiso, Chile- it wasn’t hard to find meaningful street art. Something that I missed living in the business district of Buenos Aires.

Walking through the streets listening to candombe was unforgettable. As any foreigner would, I stopped and got some pictures and videos of the local candombe players. After everyone else left, I stuck around for a while. The beat was contagious and the familarity of the rhythm made me feel at home in a very special way. The players stopped after their first set and talked for a while. Their smiles and kindness were something I found pretty common in Uruguay.

Candombe is a special style of drumming filled with African influences. Along with the street art and some other little details floating around the city, it seemed like Uruguay acknowledged and expressed their African Influence, this made them unique in a South American context, at least from the countries that I visited. As an Afro-Latino, seeing that meant a lot to me.

Next stop was Colonia, another magical city. A UNESCO World Heritage sight with good reason. The architecture was beautiful with an old-style Spanish influence mixed in with South American Flair. No walk was dissapointing.

I spent my last couple hours on the dock that led to the ocean, listening to Otis Redding’s sitting on the dock of the bay. That one experience could help summarize my weekend in Uruguay. Peace and Soul. I was able to have some time to reflect and recharge my batteries before heading back to the busy but beautiful city that is Buenos Aires.

Uruguay is a such a hidden gem, and I know I'll be back one day.
 

Charles Hamer

<p>I love coffee, friends, and exploring new places. I would love to write and publish a book where I learn more about some of the most unheard voices in places around the world. Hearing new stories and visiting new places are two of my favorite experiences.</p>

Home university:
St. Olaf College
Hometown:
Chicago, IL
Major:
Business Administration
Sociology
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