Reviews

Our 'Noche'

The 'Noche de la Nostalgia' festivities are done and while we had a little time to rest today, it's not a US holiday so we both had to work today.  It is was an extremely quiet morning, as I think the whole city was asleep after the late night/early morning celebrations. We had a great time last night but feel quite pathetic in comparison to the hearty Uruguayos who partied the night away. We can claim that we started early.

Our first stop was to the home of an Expat family. They always throw the best family-friendly shindigs and last night was incredible. There was a huge Asado, with plenty of food and dessert, but the element that puts this party well above any normal house party was the dance floor. The center of the house has a very high ceiling with a huge skylight (this is customary in many older Montevideo homes- it gives an atrium feel) and it was turned into a dance floor with disco ball, strobe light, confetti, smoke machine and a great mix of songs from the 80's and beyond.

We were with these friends for about 4 hours, leaving at around midnight (we took Geneva home to meet the babysitter partway through). A group of six of us then took taxis to Centro and I was amazed by the number of people out on the streets.  It was the most people I had seen out in UY at one time. We have not been here for the Christmas parades down La Rambla but I imagine these crowds are a close second.

Alexander PosterMidnight is too early to go to the clubs so we grabbed some beers and sat down to drink some time away. We had tried to get into a few places just for drinks and they were all full, so we settled for an out of the way restaurant. At about 1 AM we went to Club Alexander, a large gay club (straight-friendly) on the main level of Palacio Salvo- the most recognizable building on Plaza Independencia. We had signed up in advance for tickets and arrived at the door with Alexander regulars so we paid out U$Y100 each entrance price (if arriving before 2:30 AM) and were inside within minutes.

The main floor of the disco was small with a bar that stretched nearly the entire length of the club. The crowd was predominantly young and Emo, both straight and gay, but there were people of all ages. Many of Alexander's crowd were looking sullen with Flock of Seagulls hair and all black attire.  The music was electronica with some fun "nostalgic" mixes that got everyone dancing.  After about 45 minutes there, a sea of people flooded towards the doors- it was in fact- towards the stairs. They had just opened up the lower level.

The lower level was FAR better than the main level. The 20 foot+ ceilings and exposed foundation of the historic building made for some great architectural detail and nice acoustics. The bar was in the center of the room with dance space all around and up onto raised steps a the far end of the room. As we walked through, our hosts, the regulars at this club, gave greeting kisses to the DJ and we found a spot to dance.

Unfortunately, our time to depart came way too quickly and we had to leave as the party was just ramping up at 2:30. We walked out the door to find a mass of people waiting to get in and a line of cabs right across the street. It was a prefect set up and we were home to relieve the babysitter by 3 AM.

We definitely want to go back to Alexander when we can spend more time. It was a very fun night and I am happy to have experienced my first Noche de la Nostalgia in Montevideo!

Géant

We'd been hearing about this superstore in Uruguay called Géant Hipermercado (pronounced sheee-awnt, we believe), which was located just past the Carrasco area and wanted to check it out.  Géant was described to us as a something like Super Target or Walmart. There is only one location in Uruguay and because of the distance from our home in Pocitos, it was a whole afternoon event.

Geant outside

The DM1 bus run by Cutsca is the easiest and least expensive way to get to Géant. There is a full schedule available online. This bus stops at all the major malls: Punta Carretas, Montevideo Shopping, Portones, then Géant and finally out to Zona América (the tax-free business zone outside of the city).  There are a few stops in between all the malls and we caught it on the corner of Ellauri and 21 de Setiembre, right outside of McDonalds.  It is 24 pesos per adult and the bus was a comfortable coach-type with large reclining seats. With the limited stops, it took about a half an hour to get to Géant and it was fun to see parts of the city without having to drive ourselves.  The bus stops are very fast, so you need to be standing and prepared to exit the bus from the back when it stops.

Géant was a whole different world than what we've seen in the small grocery stores or malls around Pocitos/PuntaCarretas.  Géant was the anchor in a huge complex with a mall and casino around it.  The bus lets you off across the street, but it's only a short walk through the parking lot to the main doors.

Géant is owned by the Disco chain of stores (using the same 'Más' loyalty card) and it has many of the same items.  The store is huge, with 64 check out lanes and more selection than we've seen before in Uruguay, in nearly every category. There are appliances, home electronics, full grocery store, clothing, toys, housewares, books and some furniture.  We also noticed some larger "bulk" sizes in the food and toiletry areas.

Geant-inside

The selection of baby and child items here was better than I have seen at any one store before: clothes, diapers, carseats, highchairs, baby proofing items, diapers and tons of toys. Prices for these items still weren't cheap by any means (Geneva's 48 pack of XG Babysec diapers were 312 pesos and a pair of toddler fleece pants were 299 pesos) but the selection was good.

Do not walk into Géant expecting North American quality products though.  There is a different standard of quality in Uruguay.  Many items are made in China and are just different than what we have learned to expect.  I know that Uruguayos don't like these cheap products either, but it's all that's available.  I never thought I would miss my neighborhood Target store!

We walked out of there with a few random items that caught our eye, but nothing big. We stopped for a moment at the food court to grab a snack and off across the parking lot to the bus stop again.  You can bring your cart right up to the bus stop if needed. The DM1 bus took us back to our stop at Ellauri and 21 de Setiembre for another 24 pesos per adult and we had a short walk back to our house.

Géant also delivers for those living in Carrasco, Punta Gorda and surrounding areas. See their site for more details.

Hipermercado Géant

Av. Ing. Giannattasio y Av. A la Playa Tel.: 601 53 53

Hours 8:30 AM-10 PM everyday