From L.A. to Uruguay

From L.A. to Uruguay

Having grown up in Southern California all my life, and making a sudden move to Uruguay was a little overwhelming. After all, why would you want to move to a third world country that has actual seasons and isn´t 75° all year round? This might be because there really isn´t much of a difference between Uruguay and California.

First off, has anyone seen the beautiful, underrated beaches of Uruguay? Just take a look at some pictures of Punta del Este and Punta del Diablo (pictured above). These are all neighboring beaches that have warm water in the summer, and sometimes even appear transparent. These are all very similar to Malibu beach, Santa Monica, and Santa Barbara beaches. Not to mention the beautiful people that come along with these beaches!

Although many people say the lifestyle of a South American may be more calm and relaxing, we also have the stress of traffic as 2/3 of the country´s population lives or works in Montevideo, the capital. Although nothing will ever compare to the 5 o´clock traffic of L.A., the 7 o´clock traffic here is pretty maddening. Although we can´t complain much since the part that gets backed up most is on the coastline. Who can be angry about sitting in your car almost unable to move in traffic when you have the sunset and beach to your right and the city skyline to your left?

L.A. and Montevideo share an affordable and great thing: public transportation! In Montevideo, one bus ticket costs $1.00 and can take you from one end of the city to the other. These buses can get pretty ugly at times when there are about 60 people inside of a small bus that have around 30 seats and it´s 90 degrees out. These busses run about 20 hours a day, although after midnight not so frequently. San Francisco´s BART System hasn´t made its way down here yet, although that would be the greatest thing ever!

Another form of transportation that has become popular among the last few years is bicycles. Not just the hipster, one-pant-leg-rolled-up-and-one-pant-leg-rolled-down-kind of bicycle. I mean actual people getting to and from work on their 2 wheel environmentally friendly bike! Of course, there are also the not so ¨green¨ kind of bikes we call motorcycles. In Montevideo, and especially inland of the country, these are very popular. These are very common to see because 1) let´s face it, they don´t get stuck in traffic and 2) because they´re very economic. The only time I would see motorcycles in California would be on the 101 going 100 MPH with the rest of their Harley Davidson gang, and of course the occasional motorcycle parked in a lot.

Education in Uruguay and California are split into two categories: public and private schools. These are both great types of schools and anyone would be lucky to attend either. Tuition to go to a university here in Uruguay is free. Yes, you have to pay for your books and school supplies, but you don’t have to pay tuition for enrollment, health services, or classes! All of this is FREE! Having studied in California, college can get pretty pricey. One year at a city college can cost up to $20,000 not to mention the private universities that can cost up to $60,000 a year.

California really isn’t as different as a third world country as one would expect! With the beautiful beaches, great education and public transportation how could one not want to come to Uruguay?

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