This is a neighborhood in transition. I am staying in a 2 year old hotel with lots of nice amenities and across the street is a new apartment building being constructed, also 10 stories high. However, around the corner across the street from my window I see a linden tree and through the branches young men sleeping in the doorways, and at night eating from the bags of garbage.
Taken from the terrace outside the gym on the 10th floor with the crazy Palacio Salvo in the distance. My hotel is on the corner.
This is the other side – buildings unoccupied except a few on the ground floor, there is a man sitting in one of the 3 doorways used at night.
I was told by guy at the desk this neighborhood is getting more and better restaurants. It is downhill (toward the water) 3 blocks from the Main Street on the “Downtown” called Avedida Julio 18, named for the date of independence from Argentina in 1830. Independence Square lies between the old town where the City first began and the new, swell city they were building. One building, very weird is called Palacio Salvo built by three brothers early in the twentieth century, designed by French architects is on the Independence Square undergoing a renovation (I think).
Uruguay proudly presents themselves as the inventors of the Tango, music that was born on the Rio de la Plata which is the territorial boundary between Argentina and Uruguay. When I went up that river on the Postal boat 20 years ago while I was staying in Buenos Aires, that was when I got my first glimpse of Uruguay. The story told by my guide is that the dance started as way to reduce the violence among the men, and was originally danced by pairs of men (!), then prostitutes were added, but the roughness remained. There is a Tango Museum.
The easily recognized tango song La Cumparsito was composed and first played in the cafe that is now the Tango museum in 1917.
More on museums later.
Yes, there are markets, one of which appears to have been put together for tourists in a building once used as the main market for the city, the neighborhood went downhill, the building was in bad repair, but the city thought it should renovate and make it an attraction. It is a fine open market structure. Supposedly all the produce is organic, all the comestibles are from the farmers of Uruguay, and yes, there is a butcher shop. Beef is a very important export, and much loved by the locals.