Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rio de la Plata

We are not scheduled to go to Hipodromo Nacional de Maronas until 3:00 pm today, so I decided to walk down to the beach this morning and dip my toe into the Rio de la Plata. The beach I wanted to walk to turned out to be a good bit further than I thought--distances perceived when you're being driven along in a car can be deceiving. But I found a place where I could wade out over slippery rocks to sit on a rock and let the muddy waters lap over me.

The Rio de la Plata is an estuary formed by the confluence of the Parana and Uruguay rivers which join just north west of Buenos Aires. Those two rivers drain most of Southern Brazil, Paraguay, Northern Argentina and part of Bolivia, so the waters are full of silt. A shoal called the Barrio del Indio near Montevideo means that this is about as far as the muddy water normally extends before sinking under the sea water. Yesterday the water was blue at Montevideo; today it is brown.

January 6 is a national holiday in Uruguay known as Three Kings Day after the biblical story. Because the three kings brought gifts, kids get gifts just like Christmas. Must be nice to have two Christmases within two weeks of each other. I had thought about exploring the Ciudad Vieja this morning but after a very late night last night the fact that many shops would be closed made it too tempting to stay closer to the hotel.

The pre-race cocktail party last night was similar to a Breeders' Cup or Triple Crown race media party, though, of course, smaller. The Breeders' Cup has never matched the setting of the Maronas party though, since it was in a restaurant/bar on a point about five miles east of Montevideo. The spit of land sticks far enough out into the Rio de la Plata that the lights of Montevideo were spread out like a string of stars on the night sky.

The river is 60 miles wide here at Montevideo and beyond stretches the deep blue sea.

Such grandeur gives one perspective.

Let's go racing!


  1. John,

    This is such a cool, personal, insightful post. I'm having a good time even without the plane ride south.

    Are we going to have a follow-up?


  2. Thanks Frank. Once I recover from the horrible cold the, ummm, eventful trip back left me with, I'll try to do that.