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January 20, 2009
Today’s big morning activity is a trip to the Feria Tristán Narvaja, just off the main artery, Avenida 18 de Julio. Over a 10-block radius, you can find every manner of bric-a-brac, with a few interesting antiques mixed in. I spot a collection of diminutive oil cans, old German keys marked “Berlin,” and four Art Nouveau tiles.
Back on Tristan Narvaja, we check out the higher-end antiques shops. It’s a most pleasant way to while away the hours from 9 to 4. But we have other places to go.
We drive out of the city on Highway 9 toward Punta del Este. If Montevideo shares an architectural past with the Collins Avenue of yesteryear, then Punta feels very much like today’s Palm Beach. The traffic thickens as we approach a lush spit of land dotted with white-washed homes. The calm Rio de la Plata is to our right and the wild Atlantic to our left: the beautiful people are everywhere. Some 100,000 Argentines migrate to these shores every January.
We park in a neighborhood at the tip of the point, away from the madding crowd. Near the port we find a great men’s shop with interesting mariners’ gear and a handsome cable-knit fisherman’s sweater.
We walk up Avenida Gorlero to the Playa Brava. Since the ocean isn’t too rough, I roll up my pants cuffs. The water feels fine but a cerveza right now would really do the trick. Back on the warm sand, I can’t resist having my picture taken next to the whimsical sculpture known as La Mano (the hand).
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Martin Luther King's speech has proven that dreams can come true.