And so to the last day of cycling. As I got to Punta del diablo I realised that the camping was closed and the only option, beyond finding a secluded spot, was to go to an hostel. I choose the later and, as well as comfortable it was nice and cheap.
I woke up way earlier than the rest of the hostel population and got on my bike for the last stint of the trip. I popped down to the point first and had the opportunity of appreciating what a colossal dive Punta del Diablo is. If Cabo Polonio had a naturalistic redeeming quality, Punta del Diablo had not and simply smacked of a place designed for one and one purpose only, provide a hub for people interested in alcohol and drug.
The road from Punta del Diablo to the final destination of my four day trip was pretty flat and eventless. Not that I could have done anything about it, as I wanted to get to Chuy in time to catch the 11:30 bus to get back to Punta Ballena still in daylight, but apparently I missed an opportunity to go and see the Fortaleza de Santa Teresa. they have been teasing me about the miss since I got back.
The sky is a bit covered and, as I set off early to make it for the bus, I spend some time, the first since arriving in Uruguay, feeling a little cold.
Eventually I get there, Chuy, the border town between Uruguay and Brasil. It is infact Chui on the other side of the sign. I ride across the border then proceed for approximately 500 metres feeling the cold chill of being, probably for the first time in my life, an illegal immigrant. Riddled with guilt I turn around and head for the centre of town which consists of a long avenue that runs parallel to the border. On one side it’s Brazil, on the other Uruguay. It is totally unremarkable and terribly dirty. The only thing going for it is the abundance of duty free shops which appear to be the main reason for the existence of the town altogether and for sure form 90% of it’s economy.
I am briefly tempted by a T-shirt but the guy does not want to take cards and my experience with cash machines down here is patchy at best so I limit myself to the purchase of the bus ticket and I’m on my way to the terminal to start the return leg towards Punta del Este.
The bus is on time and also extraordinarily comfortable. I get to sleep a bit and also to see a whole lot of tarmac that I have cycled over in the previous four days. I get to San Carlos in the middle of the day and I’m left with just over twelve miles to get back to the hostel. The temperature is prohibitively hot by now and by the time I get to the hostel I need an instant shower just to be able to get among people without flooring them.
On the whole I’m glad I took these four days off to visit the east. I suspect the most enduring memories of Uruguay will be linked to the people rather than the places but at least now I know it, and yes, I’ll go back to see the Fortaleza at some point.