Montevideo, Uruguay – Part 3
Three hours later we docked in Montevideo. Now surely I will find my tour. I frantically looked for tour signs but again there were none. I showed a uniformed man my ticket. He pointed to a bus. Again no one spoke English around me, but there was a tour director who described everything in three different languages and one of the languages was English.
People got off and on the bus at different locations. I was given a schedule of pick ups and where the stops were. I finally got off the bus two stops before the arrival back at the docks. This brought back memories of when I was a child living with my grandmother in Huntington, West Virginia.
My sister, Rhonda and I had gone to live with my grandparents when I was 6 years old and Rhonda was four. I was about 14 years old when I learned I could walk about one-half mile to a bus stop. I bought a token that I could use all day. I would get on one bus after another with no clear destination in mind. I was on an adventure! Sometimes I would drag my little sister with me but she didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as I did. We always found our way back home to our stop. What possessed me with this spirit of adventure even then?
I remember once my sister, a couple of friends, and me was trekking along the banks of the Ohio River and came upon an old canoe. I was always the leader of these excursions and suggested we take the canoe out on the Ohio river. We got a few feet from shore and the canoe started filling with water. Everyone jumped out of the boat and started making their way back to shore, but not me. I said, ”I am the captain of this ship and I will go down with it.” I forgot to mention that I could not swim. The current in the Ohio River can be pretty swift. The canoe sank and I was able to dog paddle back to shore.
I would take my sister on hikes up in the hills beside our house. My grandparents lived with the Ohio River on one side and forested hills on the other. It was a great neighborhood. I didn’t know at the time, but we were very poor. There were other people across the street that had bigger more beautiful homes, but it did not seem to matter much where you lived, at least not in my eyes. Some of my friends lived there and some had small houses like we did.
On these hikes there were times when we would come upon a snake or fall off a cliff, but for the most part we just enjoyed the beauty of the mountains. There was a meadow that was so beautiful in the spring when it would turn into a field of flowers. There was a big rock just at the opening of the meadow. Rhonda and I would sit on that rock enjoying the warmth of the rock and the sun and talk about how pretty it was. There were no houses within miles. We had packed our lunch and would eat it there sometimes. We would be gone all day, but always made it back home before nightfall.
During my stop in Montevideo, I though I should get some money exchanged. I found an exchange place and gave the guy sixty US dollars. He gave me pesos. I didn’t realize it at the time but these pesos were a little different then the pesos I had been getting in Argentina. Since I was able to put my lunch on a credit card I didn’t use my pesos. Later when I got back to the hotel no one would accept these pesos. They were Uruguay pesos, not Argentina pesos. I was told that it would better to get the peso exchanged at the international airport. I did remember to do this at the Atlanta airport were I went through customs for my arrival back to the states. They told me the pesos were worth six-teen dollars. I asked, “How could that be because I had exchanged the pesos for sixty dollars.” He said’ “You got taken.” I still have the Uruguay pesos if anyone is interested.
At 7:30pm I got back on the ship to Argentina. I wondered how I would get back to the hotel when we landed at eleven o’clock at night. I guess the only official tour had been the bus ride around the town in Montevideo. I had given up on meeting anyone or someone directing me to the right location. I hoped I make it back to the hotel.