Mobile Luxury and the Uruguayan Atkins Diet
Florianapolis, Brazil – Montevideo, Uruguay
I never thought I could experience mobile luxury like this!
I left the Brazilian paradise of Floripa and grudgingly bought my bus ticket for Montevideo. Disheartened to leave Brasil, I was uplifted by the most pleasant bus trip I have ever taken in my entire life.
There are three main types of buses you can take down here, for the most part. There is the cheapest option, conventional, which merely provides the basics needed for 10-hour plus trips: a bathroom, water and a little leg room.
Then, there is semi-cama, which is the middle option. Semi-cama, meaning half-bed, is just that: a seat that reclines a little less than halfway and the same amenities as conventional with a touch more leg room.
And to top if off, there is cama, more expensive and basically the first-class of bus travel: leather seats, cocktail service, the whole bit, but I digress.
Being budget travelers, we opted for the cheaper option, semi-cama as this particular bus service didn’t offer conventional. Fortunately, I was told no semi-cama seats were available, and unless I wanted to wait another day, I would have to go with cama class. Now, guilt-free (at least I tried for the cheaper option), I purchased the ticket.
And let me tell you, it was P-I-M-P!!
Leaving at half past four, we (my girlfriend and I, you know the collective WE) were absolutely shocked and delighted when the bus attendant asked us for our drink order, “Pepsi, whiskey or martini?” Are you kidding me, this was ridiculous. I surreptitiously downed a few Natty Lights from Chicago to Milwaukee on a Greyhound once before, but this was serious! We asked the cost, and he told us it was free.
My answer was obvious to anyone that knows me well; whisky for me and a martini for the lil lady, knowing full well that she wouldn’t finish the whole thing, and I could settle in quite nicely. The seats reclined almost to 180 degrees, and I felt like the days of old when I use to lay prostrate in my parents’ big blue van with the “sexy lights” dancing around me. This was luxury like I had never known.
In addition to the cocktails and cozy room, we settled in for a movie marathon. First up, catching the end of the almost Oscar worthy The Fast and the Furious. After that, we watched Bruce Almighty, followed by Something’s Gotta Give and topped off my Man on Fire. Then, it was time for sleep, and sleep I did until…..
I was awakened by the bus driver in the wee hours to report to Brazilian customs. For some odd reason, when I entered the country with my 90 day visa, the military stamped me for only 30 days, probably on account of my intimidating good looks, I don’t really know. In any case, I had violated the amount of time I was allowed in the country, and they needed to check things out. Luckily, I had my Spanish speaking partner with me, and she managed to smooth the whole thing over, ending with me probably having to pay a fine upon re-entering Brasil.
Anywho, to make a long story short, we arrived in Montevideo, a capital city of about 1.5 million, and this is where my Uruguayan Atkins diet begins.
Montevideo seems like my hometown, St. Louis, Missouri, a very livable city but probably not the most tourist-friendly place. Alas, we saw most of the sights walking around the city for a few hours and made a new tour of all the parrillas, or steakhouses. Uraguay is a small country, squeezed in between two great and well-known countries, and so is easily forgotten. While Argentina is known for its steaks, many will tell you that Uruguay actually has better steak, and I was trying my damndest to find out.
I had a steak for dinner. Good, not great, but when it’s 5 dollars for a 15 oz. filet, I’m not complaining. The next morning, after visiting the US Embassy so Laura can get her little fingers printed, we hit another steakhouse. It’s quite common for people to order steaks before the switch to PM. I duly did my part, ordering a steak for brunch, consuming almost two pounds of beef in less than 24 hours.
And thus began a diet that would continue after we left Montevideo to visit the old, quaint town of Colonia. It’s a beautiful town and I could tell you more about it if wasn’t spending so much time inhaling pornographic volumes of meat. No carbs, baby, just lots of protein in a myriad of beef cuts. People told me, “Relax, you are going to eat plenty of beef in Argentina.” But I thought to myself, the difference between Brazil and Uruguay is extraordinary in so many ways, and if I don’t make the best of this while I am here, I am forever going to regret it.
While I haven’t lost any weight on this new-found diet, I can express that I am a happier person. My rapacious appetite has led me to great things, and I can only encourage others to do the same while they are here.