Dwight Peck's personal website

The 12th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, Punta del Este, Uruguay

Once every three years, the Contracting Parties or member States to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands gather to renew old friendships, cast hostile glances round the hall, and freeze the budget for another triennium.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

A last day in Punta del Este

We've been here for two weeks, and now, conference-wise, it's all over but the weeping. With scarcely time to leave the venue during the COP proceedings, we've booked an extra day to have a leisurely look round Punta del Este. 10 June 2015.

The port facilities from our room

The Avenida Francia, about as far as I've got all week, but it's got the basics . . .

. . . like the supermercado El Dorado (a good beer and wine store, with groceries as well if required), in the pre-skyscraper part of town, and the sandwichería Panificadora La 2, from which Kristin was kind enough to import cheeseburgers for the Documentation Team at key moments, . . .

. . . and the restaurant La Neuva Avenida, venue for a couple of convivial dinners on off-nights.

We're across the peninsula down to the Playa Brava on the Atlantic side

Kristin's seen all this already and hopefully won't be impatient with us.

These are Skimmers (I'm told), the same as or very like Kristin's friends in Florida

We're very lucky in one sense, there are far fewer sunbathers on the beach today (less lucky if we'd come to sunbathe).
[I keep thinking "it's mid-June, where is everyone?"]

The Isla de Lobos in the offing, where Kristin held consultations with a few thousand sea lions

Skyscraper hotels, including La Vista with a puzzling something or other attached to the side of it.

Or perhaps it's all a mid-desert mirage

Dead penguin

A world-famous sculpture coming up here, as a matter of fact

'La Mano' or 'Los Dedos' (the hand, or the fingers), by Mario Irarrázabal of Chile (1981)

According to wiki-es, he's put replicas in Madrid, up in the Chilean Atacama Desert, and in Venice. It's a fairly sad vision.

The Punta del Este high street, or rather one of two, heading towards the point

Street scenes on the Av. Gorlero

'Always gives you more'. (More what?)

More street scenes

Not an unpleasant environment at all (my experience with beach resorts began and ended with Seaside Heights, New Jersey)

At least they've got their commercial priorities right

The world's most expensive smoothie

The pizzeria/restaurant Il Mondo awaits the change of seasons.

'Flesh', the home of crocs™

The civic park Artigas ('the father of Uruguayan nationhood') in a plaza devoted to artisanal arts and crafts . . .

. . . and parrots

Sleeping rough in the 21st century

Down to the Wild Beach, stalked by an amiable dog that shadowed us unobtrusively for a kilometre or so

A tidally available religious shrine

Wild Beach scenes

Walking on mussels

Dead penguin

An inquisitive passerby

Zeus abducting Europa, fairly resigned to her fate by the look of it

Look at that face: 'determined' and 'not troubled by doubts'. Zeus may not have been one of the most pleasant and supportive gods, but he was normally effective. The amazing statue is by Óscar Alvariño (Madrid, 1962).

The Church of Our Lady of Candelaria (inaugurated in 1911 and dating from ca. 1950 in its present form), and the Punta del Este lighthouse, built in 1860 with super-cement volcanic sand from Rome.

A beach bungalow

The mermaids at the end of the point

Looking back at the far side of the Isla Gorriti

The southern lapwing, Uruguay's national bird (we've reserved the Bald Eagle, no one else can use that one)

A hundred dollar breakfast, and not a lot to it. (The "$" is confusingly also the symbol for the Uruguayan peso, worth 4 US¢, i.e. zip. That's a US$ 4 breakfast -- way better than the Geneva train station.)

Down in the fishing port

Fish markets sorting out the morning's catch

Commotions in the water

Once-noble sea lions reduced to begging

Sea lion hijinks

Almost human expressions. Well, in a way . . .

There's nothing we can do for them. (Disregard the recent research that claims sea lions can speak volumes and are smarter than humans and dolphins. It's embarrassing.)

They'll try elsewhere

The home of the 'Fast Sea Food Movement'

The port

Port scenes, with Rififi II (the weird Hotel Conrad in the left background)

A not-dead penguin (a boat guide told Kristin on her tour that any penguin found here in the port was either dead or soon to be)

But some of the penguins may not have been told that, as they looked enviably quick and agile (at least for the time being).

The restaurant Lo de Tere, scene of our Last Supper

Typical port furnishings

The Conrad Hotel with friends

The boardwalk along the Playa Mansa, the Tame Beach

The Mediterranean Agora is no more (how soon they forget!)

The basement (or casino) entrance to Hotel Conrad

Yikes! Like entering Hyperspace, with Warp Thrusters on

"Out of service" -- lucky break for me, saved me who knows how much!

I've never seen a casino before, except in Las Vegas heist movies; my cynical expectations fell short.
(But where are all the punters?)

If you didn't have epilepsy when you came in, you have now, with your wallet gone but clutching a voucher for a free sandwich and 2 free drinks in the bar.

The Enjoy Club, and the "Cajero/ATM" prominently marked

The next day

We're waiting for the bus, idly collecting souvenirs. That's our breakfast room.

The bar -- for topping-up rather than for serious festivities

The front door(s)

And back on the bus towards the Montevideo airport, which is . . .

. . . here. In good time and with a good long wait, because after a certain age, boredom is preferable to stress.

Kristin in the Duty Free Shop . . .

. . . where you can purchase Duty Free Pringles and have them handed to you upon landing.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 25 June 2015.

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