Fast escape to Uruguay
Uruguay was not on our initial destination list, but as we had some time and wanted to spend it with our new Romanian friends (who wanted to visit the country), we finally put our feet on Uruguayan soil. We visited 2 cities, none of which impressed us too much, but I will write a little bit about each later on.
For now, let me give you some brief information about Uruguay. It is small! Very small! They are only 3 million people, with a decreasing population. That’s why they have very easy and friendly immigration processes: if you want to move there you just need to present your passport to the administration and your new citizenship is yours within a few minutes…wonderful, isn’t it? And even if you are not a citizen, you are treated as one: they consider everyone too be a little bit Uruguayan and they are extremely inclusive (for them there are no non-Uruguayan people, only people who are less Uruguayan). We thought with the Bear that if the situation gets worse in the rest of the continents (with all the Brexits, Trumps, pro-Russians…), it would be a good and simple back-up to emigrate to Uruguay.
But Uruguay is extremely expensive as they are small and with no bargaining power towards the big international corporations.
Currently, the country is considered mainly a “farm” as the only things they produce and export are agricultural products. But the government is trying to change this and orient Uruguay towards software development by investing in education. I simply adored their method of doing it: each child receives a computer and free internet at the age of 6-7 when he/she starts school. In addition, the computer is changed to a new one before the child goes to high school. This way, none of the potential talents is left behind due to poverty or lack of interest from the parents.
But THE thing about Uruguay that surprised us the most is that marijuana is legal. Yes, I know, there are many countries who have legalized it, but in Uruguay is legal just for the Uruguayans (you need to present a Uruguayan ID to be able to buy) and…each major Uruguayan can buy up to 40 grams a month! 40 grams!!! What do you do with such a quantity????
But coming back to our trip, we visited Colonia del Sacramento and Montevideo, the capital. Colonia has nice, old colonial architecture, being inscribed on UNESCO Word Heritage List. It’s a small, charming city full of color, with lots of green areas. Unfortunately, there is not much to do except from wandering around the streets in the old center and visiting the Basilica del Sanctisimo.
Motevideo is a little bit bigger, but has nothing comparable to a big capital of the world. It has several nice plazas (as Plaza de Independencia), pedestrian streets and cathedrals, but nothing outstanding. However, one thing that I found unique is that the President and his team work in a glass, transparent building where they can be seen. His program is also showed at the entrance of the building so that anyone can read and analyze it. Everything is transparent for everybody. Uruguay is also known for the transparency and lack of corruption of their officials (they had the poorest president in the world), but as our tour guide said “it’s just that there is nothing to be stolen”.
All in all, we are happy to have included Uruguay on our list as we managed to learn new things about a new culture and we spent great time with our friends.