I went back down to the room and Jen and I got ready. I took the time to start repacking for the final leg of this trip tomorrow since we will be going directly from the vineyard to the airport. There will be fewer of us flying back since a lot of folks are staying behind to go back to Argentina and do some more sightseeing.
Today we are off to the Port of Montevideo and later this afternoon we will get to meet with the General Manager of Microsoft in Uruguay.
I've started a running list of my best and worst decisions on things to pack for this trip. Best: packing cubes/folders, seat cushion for the plane, bathroom scale (we eat so much that this helps me keep myself honest about portion control), bagallini currency wallet (if you travel abroad this is by far the most useful thing I found online. Highly suggest!), Latin-American Spanish phrase book, reusable produce bags (I didn't use them for produce, but they're lightweight, huge, and you can store anything in them).
Worst: didn't bring enough USD (it's far more useful than local currency here), sunscreen was pointless, as was a swimsuit, should have brough a few less packs of crackers (I may have gone slightly overboard), should have brought a slightly larger day pack (my little teardrop pack is just a little too small some days...).
I headed up to breakfast around 9 and ate with Susan and a couple of other folks. I ate a banana and a few sugar-coated croissants, which were just as awesome as the honey-coated ones in Argentina.
We headed downstairs and geared up to get on the bus (it's somewhat colder now, in the high 40s low 50s right now). We took our very swanky bus (comfy seats and wifi!) a few blocks to the Port of Montevideo where we have our first meeting.
When we drove through the port before the meeting we saw an office building made out of TEUs (Twenty foot Equivant Units or "shipping containers"). Good use of materials!
We got to the National Port Administration building where our first meeting was. It was a really neat place built and furnished to look like the inside of a ship.
After our briefing we drove through the port and I got some pictures of the two piers and the TEUs piled high.
Some of us decided that we would like to walk back to the hotel through downtown so we could see some of the city, so we got off the bus at the port and walked through the Mercado de Puerto on the way back. It's a great little area and I think we are going to have some time to go back through there to pick up some souvenirs.
On the way back we got to see a changing of the guard ceremony complete with military band.
We boarded the bus and headed a short way across town (Montevideo isn't huge) to the restaurant, Terracotta. We had a nice little lunch and some great helado:)
Next we drove to Microsoft for a meeting with one of their managers. On the way I got to check my email since our bus has wifi. Yay!
We got to Microsoft around 3 pm and had a meeting with their general manager. It was a bit underwhelming and I wasn't particularly impressed. The visit went so quickly that we had to wait a while for the bus to get back, so Kari Jo, James, and I got to talking about sci-fi and fantasy book series that we really liked and had a good discussion where we all came away with several more books on our "To Read" lists.
We got back to the hotel around 5:15 and Jen and I changed clothes, stopped by the ATM for some Uruguayan pesos, and headed out to see if we could do a little shopping before it got too dark. We walked a little way up the street but the little booths were closing up. We popped into a leather shop and Jen picked up a souvenir.
We passed by a McDonalds selling Cadbury Cream Chocolate Flurries. The one in Buenos Aires was selling Toblerone Flurries. They are seriously missing out on an opportunity in the US with this stuff!
We started to head back since it was getting dark quickly, and that was about the same time police officers started popping up around the street, so we decided heading back was a good plan. Our hotel is right on the edge of a not so great neighborhood and between my fair skin and Jen's blonde hair...let's just say we stick out.
We got back to our room around 6 (it's pretty much dark here around 6:30) and decided to play around on our email until we have to head to dinner around 7:45.
I spent the rest of the time translating some of the recipies from my Argentine cookbooks into English and standard measurements. Most of them say something like "cook in the oven until done" so this could require some experimentation before I can make Alfajores at home...
Jen and I headed downstairs to wait for the bus for dinner around 7:30. We got to our restaurant, Francis, around 8 pm. I was falling asleep by about 8:45. The food was great and the helado was excellent, as usual.
We got finished with dinner around 10:45 (only two hours!) and headed back to the hotel. I made plans to go running with Brett and Katery's sister tomorrow morning at 7:30, so I feel a little better about eating so much...
I got back to the room and started packing for the plane while I listened to the fourth book in the Mortal Instruments series. I'm burning through these books...