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Punta Del Este, Uruguay

We now have a new batch of people onboard. In Buenos Aires 91 left the ship and 31 joined so a net loss of 60 and we’re down to about 570 in total. Of course you can’t say to someone “have you just joined” because it might be someone who has been on since the start who just hasn’t made any impression on you whatsoever. It has to be said that there are lots of people who look alike and nondescript clothing is a favourite of the “grays” so it’s easy not to notice them. 

Time for some facts about Uruguay before the PDE update. Uruguay won the very first World Cup in 1930 where they were also the hosts. They won again in 1950 in Brazil. They’ve only ever won two gold medals at the Olympic Games – 1924 and 1928 both for soccer. They also have the longest national anthem at six minutes. Apparently it’s good. More than half of the population of 3m live in Montevideo and the country is the size of Oklahoma (for American viewers) or 1.352579 times larger than the England for lovers of six decimal places. One of the most amazing facts about Uruguay is that their former president Jose Mujica was the self-proclaimed poorest president in the world giving away 90% of his salary to the poor. He drove a clapped out Volkswagen, lived in a one-bedroomed house and owned a three-legged dog. He was president from 2009 to 2015.

Punta Del Este is an upmarket resort town where many Brazilians, Argentineans and Uruguayans go on holiday. We were tendered ashore through a marina with some fairly large boats but nothing that screamed excess. Five of the team – Sheryl, Lydia, Deanna, Anthony and I were booked on a cycling tour lasting two and a half hours covering a whopping 9 kilometres. Yes, we could have walked further than 9km in 2 and a half hours but we did have a number of stops. It was a great way to see the town and at the end we had earned lunch which whenever Lydia and Sheryl are involved means alcohol aplenty. At an adjacent table we got talking to a young Brazilian girl, pneumatic Naima who was delightful.

Sunday was the first of two sea days on our 1000 mile journey to a little place called Rio De Janeiro where we have another overnight stop. After four frantic days rushing around three different ports in the River Plate region we could do with a rest. Saturday was the worst – I nearly broke into a sweat. The weather on the sea days wasn’t up to snuff but I found enough to occupy my time. They rather kindly moved the Valentine’s Day celebrations to the 13th (Katy’s birthday) so I only had one day to endure rather than two. The casino is being kind to me of late. I’m using the “play until I’m winning” strategy in contrast to many of my fellow passengers who play the “play until I lose all my chips” method. Of the two I prefer mine. 

Next stop Rio.

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