It's funny, I've been here almost 11 years now. You'd think I'd get over it. And yet, it still happens, fairly often, that I look around me and say "holy shit, I'm in Uruguay"! And at the same time, that I'm amazed by the strange kind of beauty this city has.
There's also something to say about how, once a week, the block of a regular street right around the corner from my house ends up being turned into a farmer's market. Not a hipster farmer-market that's all clean and ersatz and full of organic quinoa and carob energy-booster smoothies and crystal healing talismans and other things that have fuck all to do with farmers. No. A real market, of real stuff from farms brought in fresh from the city and at ridiculously low prices.
Today, I bought a big bag of some amazing black olives, a quarter-kilo hunk of sharp slightly-bitter 'cuartirolo' cheese, a dry, slightly spicy, really delicious "chacarero" sausage, and a dozen of the most amazing sweet mandarin oranges, with a flavor like you wouldn't believe, picked about a two-hour drive from this very spot.
Total cost for all of the above? Under $9US.
So yeah, it's fucking awesome.
And now, pictures! Forgive the poor quality, I am man of many talents, photography is not one of them:
This is right around the corner from my house. It's not some special area, it's not in some theme park pseudo-barn done-up with public or corporate sponsorship. It's just a regular street that cars drive through 6.5 days (and every night) of the week, but for half a day on Friday it becomes a farmer's market.
I live in El Cordon, which I think is just about the best neighbourhood to live in. It's statistically the safest (old ladies can walk their little dogs on the street at night), it's super super central (five blocks from the beach, five blocks from downtown), it's gradually becoming trendier with a lot of restaurants and little shops and an increasingly 'hipster' vibe (that's a mixed blessing), and real estate is inexpensive. Plus, it's beautiful.
Here's where I get my cheese and sausages. It's like a little supermarket built inside a 60-year old bus. Super-cheap prices, and the people are extremely friendly. You have to take a number, and these guys are so popular it's usually best to take your number first thing, then do all your other shopping while you wait for them to call you.
This is what a farmer's market really looks like, boys and girls. Not a whiff of patchouli nor a glance of hemp pants to be found. Just incredible, all locally-grown produce.
And man, is it ever delicious.
Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Volcano + H&H's Beverwyck