Sunday, September 10, 2006

Parque Rodo -- 70 Degrees and Sunny

The last couple of days have been gorgeous here in Montevideo.

The air is warm, the sun is shining, and light breezes come off the water to blow away any diesel exhaust (yuck!) that the city buses belch out as they pass by.

All in all, it is very similar to the Northern California coast in spring or autumn either outside of San Francisco, or before the fog starts rolling in later in the summer.

Yesterday we walked down the street from our home to Parque Rodo (Rodo Park). Rodo park is a pretty good sized park....It reminds me of a miniturized version of Golden Gate park in San Francisco.

It has a nice variety of trees including some very mature palms lining numerous walking paths around a man-made (looking) pond. In addition I saw wetlands, lots of birds, grasses, and walking paths in one section as it leads down toward the waterfront.

Further up towards the "main drag" it has some cafes, and a bunch of "carnival" type cheezy rides for the youngsters....but most of the "commercial" pay rides and such seem to be limited to a small area next to the main road.

In addition it has a LARGE playing area for kids between 1 and 9 or so with lots of the requisite jungle gyms, swing sets, slides, etc. The park has a museum, lots of monuments/fountains, a small "castle" that sits on the a portion of the pond, paddleboat rentals, a basketball court, and a few clay tennis courts that seemed to be getting good use. There were amphitheaters, old guys playing bocci ball (including a bocci court with raised seating (!?!?) like a mini stadium.

People were out enjoying the weather, walking the paths, playing in the playground (obviously), meditating in quiet spaces and relaxing.

While many of the homes (including ours) is a bit urban (it has no front or side yards), they do a very good job of utilizing free space here. In homes, roof-top terraces are common, as are interior courtyards. In the neighborhoods, parks and pedestrian walkways are well cared for. Trees line a majority of the streets in most of the neighborhoods, and to walk everywhere doesn't really feel strange here -- unlike the states where some neighborhoods don't even bother putting in a sidewalk.

ciao for now,

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