Being in Punta del Diablo, I took the opportunity to go to Cabo Polonio. Did I say Punta del Diablo was a hippy place? Well Cabo Polonio is the next level on the hippy ladder. The former gets slowly invaded by more modern constructions – though mainly houses and fortunately not Punta del Este modern buildings. In the latter, such constructions have been forbidden. It is situated in a nature reserve and cars are not allowed there.
But I’m traveling by bus anyway. And it’s a bit complicated to get there. I first need to get to Castillos and get another bus that will take me to this place everyone has been talking to me about. But you know how it goes. When I am traveling with public transport and need to make a connection, things usually don’t go as planned. So I get to Castillos, buy my ticket to Cabo Polonio for 11 o’clock, buy something to eat and prepare myself to wait for an hour. There’s a young girl sitting next to me and I hear she is going in the same direction. 11 o’clock goes by and I haven’t seen our bus. But, as a Belgian, you think “Hey! When is the last time you’ve seen a bus arriving on time?” and just assume the same applies to Uruguayan transportation.
Eventually, I decide to ask the lady behind the desk what time the bus will be there. “Oh! But it’s already gone!” Somehow, I’m getting used to those things. They don’t even upset me any more. The other young lady obviously also missed the bus. The thing is there had been one at 11.00. But it didn’t have the company’s name on it and stopped at the other side of the street. I thought it could be ours. But as the other traveler didn’t move, I figured it couldn’t be the right one. What I discovered a bit later and didn’t think of, is that Marcia had been doing just the same as I: watching my moves, assuming I would know if it was the right bus or not. So there we were, the two of us, in Castillos, with the next bus to Cabo Polonio in about two hours. Neither of us was really looking forward to it, so we opted to share the cost of a cab. Only to get there about 30 minutes later and realize we had to wait for 1 hour and a half before the safari bus could take us to the village. Because, as a matter of fact, buses aren’t allowed to go there either. No wonder Uruguayans are so tranquil. They have learned what patience is! On the other hand, I guess it is like that in many other parts of the world. But living in a densely populated country with a well developed net of trains, buses, trams, metro’s… we’re just not used to waiting anymore. And as far as I am concerned, I am using the car 99% of the time anyway.
Not to rely on someone I haven’t even spoken to was the first lesson of the day. Patience, the second one. The third one was that it is a bad idea to sit on the roof of a safari bus which is about to undertake a 30 min drive on a very chaotic sand road, with seats made of wood and steel only and with seat belts put in merely as decoration. The sight was stunning. The bruises on my back after the ride, too.
When we finally got there, I was glad that I still had my backpack with my camera with me… and that I hadn’t fallen off the bus. But it had been worth the waiting and the suffering. I had excellent company for the day and the place was, by all means, gorgeous. When the day came to an end with a beautiful sunset, after a nice meal and a lovely walk, during which we got to see wonderful sights, incredible beaches and adorable sea basses, I had only one regret: the fact that I wasn’t staying there for the night. Apparently, although the night can be quite cold at that time of year – but that’s OK. I am trained now – the starry night you get to see is an unforgettable experience.