Day 31 :: Uruguayan Carnaval

Pedestrian pictures of Montevideo, an early Eladio Dieste project, midnight Carnaval festivites, and another sketch.

Another day swallowed by the travails of travel. Ironically I spent more time getting to the airport than actually flying; for future reference, take the ferry from Buenos Aires to any of Uruguay’s coastal towns. Driving in from the north of the city, you see the city string along the Atlantic waterfront like beads on a never ending necklace.

I got to my hostel and quickly ran to find a laundromat as I ran out of ‘clean’ clothes days ago (pointless minutia, but a reality of traveling). I walked around the old city center for a while and caught a lunch of, what else, meat and returned ‘home’ to escape the sun. As I sat in the living room of the hostel basting and sticking to my sketchbooks, the sound of something between tribal African drumming and 60’s Harlem trumpets sailed into the room – later I came to learn this was the infamous Candombre music of Uruguay. More on that later.

I received a call from my friend Juan Andres of QUBO Architects/Designers and we met for a brief walk through town, dinner and drinks. On the walk home (besides getting robbed) we ran into the beginnings of the Uruguayan Carnaval – whatever its origins and justification, essentially it’s kicked off with dozens of Comparsas (yes, I was excited by the parallel too) who march the streets drumming for hours at all hours of the nights, accumulating dancers, spectators and followers. In the distance the booming of dozens of hands slapping stretched hide could be heard echoing. It was quiet a sight.

Tomorrow, to Atlantida with Juan and his partners for the mecca of Eladio Dieste’s work.

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