20 December 2010

i feel it in my fingers

"Christmas is a time for people with someone they love in their lives."
"And that's not you?"
"That's not me, Michael. When I was young and successful, I was greedy and foolish, and now I'm left with no one, wrinkled and alone."
-Love Actually

So how did the rest of my Week Before Christmas go? Let's see, I spent day two on the other side of the Punta del Este peninsula, walking along the beach all morning. The sand was beautiful, the water was refreshing, and because high season doesn't begin until next weekend, there was almost no one around.

As it warmed up, I headed to the shops to escape the sun (I'm pretty sure there's a hole in the ozone layer above here, because the sun is more brutal than in any place I've ever been in my life). I tried on harem pants and loose Indian dresses, checked out some shoes, and went into a home goods store in search of items to decorate my little room. I ended up with a painted ceramic mug, a rustic glass vase, and a soap dish shaped like a seashell for about $10, and I've got those at the corner of my desk, organizing pens and the shells I've found so far. It sounds silly, but things like that help my room feel a little more like it's mine, which it should feel like, since I'm going to be living in it for another three months.

Along the way, I stopped to check myself out in the reflection of a shop window--well actually, I didn't stop, and I probably should have, because I kept walking and failed to see the bench that came out of nowhere and collided with my shins. I now have two vicious, green bruises under my kneecaps.

Then I decided to explore the old town a little more. I walked up to the lighthouse, to the end of the peninsula, and down to the port. I saw a parrot playing in a puddle on the street. Awesome.

Vale's friend Rufino came over to play in the afternoon. His nickname is Rufi, which I find hilarious. I had to mediate a fight between the two of them because Rufi said he was bored and Vale couldn't think up anything interesting to do. Rufi also thought Vale's dog, Goofy, bit him. Major damage control was necessary.

On Wednesday, I was dropped off at La Barra while Vale had his end-of-the-year school assembly. It was nice and early when I arrived, so I could enjoy the cool air and have my first experience watching real surfers (I mean, the blog's called the Endless Summer, so it was really about time).

There were probably about 20 or 30 of them in the water, each waiting for the right wave. I climbed out onto a rocky area that jutted into the water, feeling very much like the Little Mermaid as I watched them and yearned to be, you know, a part of their world or something.

Cliches aside, surfing might be the most amazing thing I've ever seen. It's so intense, and so extreme! I mean, to even swim through that kind of water you need to be a very confident and smart swimmer, and then you've got to have great strength and balance to even get up on your board. I'm a great swimmer, and I would be terrified. Basically, my ambition for the
summer is to learn to surf, although I feel like this could potentially be impossible. Surfing lessons are expensive, right? Contact lenses are probably a hindrance, right? I could die, right?

So I guess my plan of action is to make a surfer fall in love with me, so that he will give me free lessons. In surfing. (Just to clarify.)

Anyway, host mom then picked me up and took me to Jose Ignacio, where she had a business meeting. I got to wander my new hometown. Basically, the ocean continued to scatter its bounty all over the beach. I found what I believe to be a cow stomach, a bunch of dead crabs, and some fishy bits (not to mention part of a dog jawbone in La Barra). Lots of dead things here. Still beautiful.

I walked up to the lighthouse (they're big on lighthouses here, although I feel like this one was a little ineffective as you can still see bits and pieces of ship from when one ran aground like 30 years ago) and around the rocks at the peninsula. I wanted to walk down to where they're building the new Setai Club (look it up if you don't know it), but that would have required a lot of walking over rocks, and I wasn't feeling up to that. Basically, I got to know the tiny town that is Jose Ignacio, and it's full of quiet locals, rich tourists, and quaint street signs with cute names.

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