Sad, but not tragic. A forced opportunity. Maybe even a fortunate adaptation…fuck it. Let's make taco salad.



Normally, a 24-hour transit stop in a fairly uninteresting location would not warrant any notation.  (Sorry, Montevideo, I did find you to be uninteresting.  Let’s just be honest.)  However, there were a couple of significant incidents that need to be reported:


Situation #1: The Emerging Uruguayan Currency Crisis

For the 4 days I was in Colonia del Sacramento, I was unable to get any of their 8 cash machines to speak to me.  But, of course, it’s a small town and the ATMs were all on the same network.  Surely, when I go to the nation’s capital, this will all work itself out.  I (barely) had enough Argentinian Pesos to pay my tab, so I took off a day early.

Bostjan and I took the bus to Montevideo (~1.3 million people, ~150 feet) and then a local bus to the hostel…and the entire time, I am staring out the window at the same fucking Banred cash machines.  Do not tell me…

Sure enough, we walked around town for 4 hours and saw nothing but, “Disculpe.  Tu tarjeta no es valida.”  24 different ATMs, same result.  Oh, fuck.  This could be a bit of an issue.

My plan was to spend 3-4 weeks working the beaches of Uruguay, but that plan is obviously garbage if I have zero cash.  Here are the options:


  1. Get cash off the credit card instead of the ATM card.  Problem:  I have no fucking idea what the PIN is.
    1. (a)  Call the house in Portland, pray to god that someone answers, beg them to go in the basement and root through a ridiculous stack of boxes looking for a folder that might contain said PIN.
  2. Call Capital One and request a new ATM card.  Problem:  Odds are, the network won’t like that card either and I would have to wait at least 3-4 days in this shit town. (Sorry, Montevideo.  That was just plain rude.)
  3. Call and request a card from my other account that uses an actual VISA debit.  Problem:  See #2.
  4. Call someone and beg them to wire me some money.  (I’m looking at you, Dad.)  Problem:  There is nothing worse than calling someone and begging them for money…except for bed bugs.
  5. Get back on the fucking Buquebus ferry and return to Buenos Aires, take out a mountain of cash, and then come back.  Problem:  A waste of ~2 days and ~$150 just to get money?  Fuck that.
  6. Bail on Uruguay completely and find a beach in Argentina.  Problem:  This option is completely lame and probably won’t make for a good story later.


I return to option #1.  After an hour on a Skype call to the Capital One rep in India, (“Hello?  What?  Herro?  What the??  Can you hear me?  Can you hear me now?  Do you speakie ze engrish???”) I convince her that this is a dire fucking cashola emergency and that babies and little kitties all over the world will die if she doesn’t change my goddamn PIN.  After 37 security questions and another half hour on hold, I get a new PIN (and a free t-shirt!), and, BOOM, in your face, Uruguayan banking system!  The slight downside is that I’m paying essentially a 10% surcharge to take out money.  (In your face, Casey Swendig!)  Uruguay is going to hurt.  She better be good to me…


Situation #2:  The Uruguayan Bed Bug Crisis of 2011

A couple of former regulars at The Lost City happened to also be in Montevideo, and we met at the hostel to catch up after 3 months of traveling.  Of course, the first thing I did was take off my shirt and show off my incredible bed bug wounds.  (Regretfully, I don’t have photos, but they went from between my fingers, up both sides of my arms, around my back and down both legs.)  Deanna, understandably paranoid, began to research The Internets about bed bugs.  And found a blog post about them.

With pictures from our hostel.

In the bed they were sleeping in.

Ten days prior.


(Casey falls of the bench, hits the floor, and rolls around in violent spasms of laughter.)


There was even a photo of a live bed bug on the wall in the blog post and it was still there (squished).  Fantastico.



Of course, as your bartender, I recommend that you just stay up and drink all night instead of going to bed.  Feel the pain, amigos!

Time to get the hell out of Montevideo.


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