Tue 16 Dec 2008 - Thu 18 Dec 2008 30 °C
God seems to like testing our animal pity limits. We managed not to cry this time...
We boarded the ship to Colonia, Uruguay on Tuesday with the parents. A one-hour trip and we were in muy tranquilo Colonia. An immediate peaceful presence bestowed us and we knew that we were going to love this little city. We began our 8 minute walk to our posada (hotel) and upon stopping to look at the map, we heard dog whimpering coming from a closed box that was lying against a tree. With trepidation, K opened the box to discover five adorable black puppies - abandoned by some JERK after the puppies were old enough to be without their mommy.
There was no way in hell that J&K could leave the puppies there to suffocate and die in that box. So we carried the box to our hotel, gave the puppies water, and asked the staff to call a vet. This is Latin America folks. Although many people here own pets they don't seem to give a rat's ass about letting animals die on the side of the road. The vet was closed and it didn't seem like these puppies were going to be saved.
The owner of the posada found a big basket to put the puppies into and gave them milk. A sign was put on the basket (perhaps saying "Free Puppies") and by the end of the day, the puppies were gone. We didn't have the heart to ask their whereabouts and only allowed ourselves to think positive thoughts.
When J&K travelled in Malaysia in 2005, we experienced two kitty problems. One involved finding a kitten that was perhaps a week old (if that). Mommy and the other kittens were nowhere in sight. One local could not understand why K was in tears at the thought of abandoning the kitten. And again on an island in Malaysia, we cared for an older kitten for four days before experiencing a very tearful goodbye. We hoped that the love we gave Susu (the name we gave kitty - means "milk" in Malay) for four days (rather than the caged life it was experiencing) somehow made up for the inevitable abandonment.
The rest of our time in Colonia was spent enjoying the beautiful sights and smells (no pollution!!!). Every turn provided another picture perfect moment and finally we were able to take pictures!
The town is so quiet that the lack of people is what worried us about theft. In fact, we had a young sketchy guy following us through an empty craft fair. Once we were aware of him, we went and stood by the wall along the ocean and K pulled out her knife and began "carving" the stone. Sketchy guy took the hint and left.
We also loved being close to the water (the town is surrounded by water on three sides) and even spent our last day sitting by the coast with our newly-made stray, doggie friends ("On The Road Again").
Our only letdown was not taking people's advice about bringing our mate gourd. We have seen for ourselves where the tradition of drinking mate truly comes from. Every second person had a thermos with hot water and a mate gourd in hand! Even the moped drivers had their thermoses tucked under their arms. Oh yes, mopeds and other forms of motorcycles are the preferred method of transportation in Colonia.
We were lucky enough to witness a gathering of Candombe (a drum-based musical style of Uruguay) players and dancers. We walked along with them for close to an hour and it was fantastic. The music is very reminiscent of Brazilian Samba, although drums are the only instruments in Candombe.
Overall, Colonia was a perfect getaway even though the food and coffee were absolutely awful. The people were definitely more relaxed and friendly. Even the stray dogs wanted to be your friend!
All piccies are by the very talented Mr. Jorge :o)