I’m one of these people who always mixed up Paraguay with Uruguay before I first travelled to Latin America in 2001. And I didn’t know much about the country before we visited it in 2009.
But I’m glad we came back. It’s a great place, even though it’s a bit overshadowed by its two giant neighbours, Argentina and Brazil.
“What do you think of Uruguay?” a baker asked me in Montevideo as I was filling up on medialunas and dulce de leche. I paused for a second. I didn’t want to say anything offensive (and get the poison-filled medialuna).
“People are unique,” I eventually replied. “They are what they are and they are proud of it. Argentina kept ties with Europe and people like to praise the old continent. Many Argentinians are proud of being of European descent and they criticize their country a lot. Uruguayans know their country isn’t the most famous one but they don’t care. It’s their home.”
It’s hard to come up with something deep and meaningful in Spanish when you just want to eat your damn pasty, trust me. But the baker smiled and handed over the brown paper bag, so I must have said something right.
As a traveller, I found Uruguayans welcoming, honest and friendly. It means a lot to me.
So here are a few candid snapshots of the “People of Uruguay”!