Perfect City Size
I've seen hundreds and hundreds of villages, towns, cities, and metropolises over the past year+ of travel, and still have a hard time answering the question, what city size is right for me?
Leaving Buenos Aires and cycling around in the small town of Colonia del Sacramento was a shock to the system. Being a pedestrian in Argentina's larger cities is dangerous enough—I wouldn't even think of adding a bicycle into the mix. I have no insurance policy (physical or for my belongings), and even though I enjoy risk-taking, I tend to do the bigger stuff in moderation. I'm still a believer in high risk, high reward, though.
It's been a while since I was on a bus ride that was less than 8–12 hours, and the 2.5-hour hop from Colonia to Montevideo (UR$162 / US$6.50) passed by before I even got settled into my seat. As the bus neared the capital city I received a glimpse of the city center's skyline by the shore—felt immediately impressed, and then depressed.
Montevideo is host to some 1.8 million people, 44% of Uruguay's population. I walk around town, seeking something that's original—unique to Uruguay's sprawling metro—but can find nothing. Granted, it's only been a day or so, but that's all I really need these days to size of my living environment.
So I ask myself, what are the upper and lower population limits that a city can have—small enough to be intimate, yet big enough to be entertaining?
This and That
I love typing the name of this country—Uruguay—I think it's the unusual amount of U's in the name. Unusual Uruguay—how's that for a U-heavy headline?
By far one of the most laughable experiences I've had here was as I was chatting up the owners of a small café, waiting for my food to cook. Mid-conversation the man says to me, "It sounds like your accent is from Brazil, are you from São Paulo?" I about laughed, as I told him my nationality—wondering if all people from that city speak Spanish as laughably as I do.
Shortly after arriving in Montevideo, my Peruvian friend told me about how she was getting accosted by the (Argentine) guys during the day she spent there—I told her I had just written something up about that. She knew what to expect though, as she's been in BsAs on more than one occasion.
This evening I've got to put some Internet muscle into finding accommodations in the über-popular beach metropolis of Punta del Este (relocating tomorrow for some beach time). I hear the city is crowded and expensive—Uruguay's South Beach equivalent—but is just something I'd like to see for a few days.