San Pedro de Timote to Montevideo

10 April 2013

Wednesday


Montevideo 3

There is a poem by Keats that describes the experience of leaving the city for the countryside, which begins thusly:

To one who has been long in city pent,
‘Tis very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven, — to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament.

How are we to describe the opposite experience, of someone who leaves the countryside for the city? It would be an appropriate occasion for a poem, but my powers are not equal to composition at the moment, so I will here only mention the poetic opportunity as a kind of literary placeholder. No doubt there is a substantial literature of which I am unaware regarding the urbanization experience, because it is the predominant human experience of our time, marked as it is by increasing urbanization.

Nevertheless, for all its familiarity to the millions who migrate from what Marx called “rural idiocy” to the opportunities of the city, after spending some time in rural Uruguay it was a bit of a shock to the system to arrive in Montevideo. I previously drove through Montevideo on the day I arrived (before noon) and again passed through Montevideo when I drove from Colonia del Sacramento to Punta del Este (in the afternoon) but arriving the in late afternoon the city revealed an entirely different aspect. The roads were crowded and busy. The main highway which parallels the oceanfront and therefore passes all the port facilities, was particularly jammed with both car and truck traffic going into and coming out of the port (probably coming from or going to Buenos Aires, just across the Rio de la Plata).

And it was not only the vehicular traffic. The wide and miles-long oceanfront promenade, which had looked strangely abandoned during the day, was alive with joggers, dog walkers, fitness enthusiasts using the exercise machines installed along the promenade (much as I saw on Lima’s Malecon), and street people pushing shopping carts — the whole panorama of Montevidean humanity out for a stroll after dark. There are also multiple sports facilities along the waterfront, with games I did not recognize being played under glaring artificial lights.

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Montevideo 4

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Grand Strategy Annex

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2 Responses to “San Pedro de Timote to Montevideo”

  1. Mer said

    I think Colonia is amazing, see this link: http://www.portaldecolonia.com.uy

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