After 36 hours travelling: taxi - plane - plane - shuttle bus - boat - auto bus - taxi I finally arrived in Montevideo Uruguay and was reunited with Cat and David!
The first thing they did was to take me for chivitas - steak sandwiches with all the trimmings! The next day we had some time in Montevideo wandering around the streets. We visited the old mercado (market) where the grills were hotting up grilling more meat.. This time we passed - it was only 11am, I have to leave at least 12 hours between steaks lol!
Our next stop after Montevideo was Punta Dell Diablo - further up the coast towards Brazil. This place was laid back and chilled out, but we were going to be there for NYE and it definitely livened up!
Nothing about this place is developed - it has lots of low rise buildings and apparently the population swells to 30,000 in the holidays (lots of holiday homes owned by the Argentines). I found it charming - lovely beaches, little restaurants and a real relaxed pace. The surf was pure Atlantic - great fun but with wicked undertow - lots of waves to play in!
The second day there we met some Brazilians on holiday for New Years too - Pedro offered us a taste if a local tipple - Fernet and coke - I always thought it was more Argentine, it was interesting.... Very herbal taste!
Our hostel the Bitacora promised a party every night and we managed at least drinking late if not actually partying whilst we were there - shots of friendship vodka from the Brazilians helped ;) I can't actually remember the toast we did - but it reminded me of Vietnam!
On New Year's Eve the Brazilians have several traditions they follow for luck in the next year - one is eating lentils - some of the Brazilians cooked up a storm and offered us some! The other tradition is to wear white - no one told me! So I wore red - the only person on the whole beach doing so, although I was told red was good for romance (fingers crossed lol!)
We headed to the beach with a drinks cooler for midnight and also joined in with the tradition of jumping 7 waves - getting a bit wet in the process! Fireworks set randomly were firing all around also.