During the crossing we discuss our return to Uruguay after almost five years. The primary industry remains agriculture and that probably will never change. However, some high tech industry is making footholds. We were told that TaTa Consulting has made Montevideo their South America headquarters. The city seems a little more vibrant, with some newer restaurants and different cuisines. There is still so much potential for the Old Town, but it will take investment money and higher paid jobs in the area to truly revitalize the old buildings. Could we live here for a few years? Both of us answer yes, but we agree there are other cities in the world we would choose ahead of Montevideo.
The ferry goes upriver for about two hours to Buenos Aires, and we catch a taxi outside the port to our hotel (Alvear Art) for the next six nights. Our room is ready so we unpack then at about 2:30 pm look for a late lunch. The Front Desk advises us that most restaurants close for lunch at 2:30 or 3:00, but they recommend one that doesn't close and is a short taxi ride away. Ok, but first we must find an ATM and get Argentine pesos.
We walk about a block to an ATM - it has a sign about service and is closed. We try three more, all from different banks. All have a message about service and are closed. At the last bank a woman (I think an employee) says it will reopen at five pm. Hmmm.... we walk back to the hotel and explain our experience. Several people at the Front Desk say yes... all the banks shut down for a period at 3 pm to "account and refill the money". They are not sure if it is for an hour or two.
Sigh... two cultural learnings for us in less than 30 minutes - don't expect more than a hot dog or a sandwich place to be open for lunch after 3 pm and don't plan on using and ATM between 3 and 5 pm. Well, that is some of the fun (and mindset broadening) that comes with travel.
We opt to just stay at the hotel where we can eat appetizers or sandwiches in the bar area. We have a huge (and filling) board of meats, cheeses, olives, etc. and a fish and chips appetizer. The quality is good and we are again happy.