Thursday, February 28, 2013

Martes Madness

or: Children at Heart

Tuesday, some of the exchange students went to an “Espectaculo Uruguayo” with some Uruguayan students who kind of served as guides. Of course I didn’t wanna miss out on that and since Becci would have sat at home all alone and bored I decided to invite her. Actually, she’s not that bad a charity case but since she is doing her practical semester at the German school in Montevideo and the school year hasn’t started yet she didn’t know that many people yet. To be fair, neither did I until I started my language class on Monday. Anyway, we decided to join the fun and go check out Uruguayan Carnaval.

In order to get to the place of the Espectaculo, we all met at the main entrance of the university and from there we all went together to the “Velodromo” which is a bike track in the park next to where I live. On our way there we passed a lot of people wearing black-and-yellow, which are the colors of Peñarol, one of Montevideo’s main soccer clubs. Apparently there was a game that night and, as Becci fittingly described them,  they seemed like swarms of bees buzzing around their “beehive”, a.k.a. the Estadio Centenario.  But let’s continue with the actual story: the Espectaculo Uruguayo.

Some of us with two of the Carnaval artists

Upon arrival at the velodromo we found that the Espectaculo was some sort of “Carnaval” thing. Unfortunately we didn’t really understand much of what the people on stage were talking/singin about and that’s why it was mostly a night of getting to know some people and having fun. The show was really colorful but it wasn’t like you imagine for example the carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Not at all. But as I mentioned before we didn’t actually pay too much attention to the show.

How do you say "Cheese" in Spanish? (Hint: it's not Queso)

When we got there we first took the obligatory group picture. After that a lot of us decided to have something to eat. They had some typical Uruguayan/Latinamerican foods which all looked pretty delicious. Becci and I shared some “Empanadas” which is some sort of pastry with different fillings. We tried Carne (beef),  Jamón y Queso (ham and cheese) and Queso y Langzanita (Cheese and some sort of peperoni). I gotta say I have fallen for Empanadas really bad and so far my favorite is with Carne.

After that we shared some fun conversations with the Uruguayan students where we learned some interesting expressions. And of course we taught them some German ones that they have probably forgotten about by now. But for everyones enjoyment, I recorded them saying a drinking toast in German.

One for the boys...

...and one for the girls!

After that I really wanted to go “sledding”. Of course there was no snow involved since we had really nice weather. But when we first got to the velodromo, I was amazed by some children going down the slopes of the bik track on cardboard and naturally the child in me wanted to try it. So we went over to the kids and asked if they would let us use their pieces of cardboard for a bit and down the slope we went.

First attempt (note the little boy in the back)

Smooth landing

After a first try, a little boy (you can see him in the first picture) came up to us and straight up told us that we were going too slow because we are too heavy. Big laugh here.

Becci got stuck... Augustín had to help out

But we didn’t let that kid discourage us and tried again and got some practice. And oh the fun we had! At some point a little girl came up to us and told us that it is even more fun if you sit on an empty plastic bottle because that way you go a lot faster. Of course we had to try that as well and believe it or not it was even more awesome. Or “salado” as a Uruguayan fella named Pablo told me is the expression for “great” or “awesome”. Not sure if I can trust him on that but I guess I’ll find out at some point. Anyway, I enjoyed our sledding experience a lot. 

Maxime and I going Pro

Speed accelerator: the Plastic Bottle!

It’s incredible how much fun you can have with such cheap means. Who needs toys if you got a plastic bottle and a bike track?!   

After our sledding experience we sat down and had some more conversations and enjoyed some “churros” (sweet fried pastry). Those are also very delicious just like all the other Uruguayan food. And just in case you haven’t noticed, I do enjoy the food here a lot and I am probably going to gain a bit of weight but it’s definitely worth every pound.

In the end, when we decided to head home we had our first “how do we get home?” experience. We have heard from all kinds of people that girls shouldn’t walk home alone at night because “es muy peligroso!” (translation: it’s very dangerous!). However, Becci and I don’t live very far from the velodromo. To be exact we really only had to get out of the park, cross a street and turn right. And normally I would have walked home.

But as I have mentioned earlier, that night there had been a soccer game in the Estadio Centenario which is pretty much right next to the velodromo. Now, if Peñarol is playing that isn’t just any soccer game. Of course not. Uruguayans are nuts about soccer and one of their favorite teams is Peñarol. That is probably why Peñarol fans are of the most extreme kind.  And it just so happens that they had lost the game earlier that night. Accordingly, they were in a very bad mood and felt the need to express their anger. It just so happened, that when we got out of the velodromo, the buses of the rivaling team went by. Bottles were thrown and one of the reputable gentleman of Peñarol division grabbed his man parts to show them what he thinks of them.

We realized that the insistent warnings not to go home alone that night at all were probably not made up out of thin air. Luckily, our Uruguayan friends were very helpful here. Some of them had their cars parked nearby and so we waited for them to get the cars and got a ride. Down the street, two turns and back home we were. Safe and sound and with lots of good memories.

P.S.: And the answer to what Uruguayans say instead of "Cheese" when taking a picture: Whiskey!

1 comment:

  1. jajaja muy buenos los videos y todo el post! :D el día que finalmente confien en mi 100% va a ser el dia que su experiencia en uruguay empiece a estar salada ;) no te dejes influenciar por Becky y sus comentarios! ^.^ jaja beso!