Here’s something we can all agree on; one thing all humans love to do (and there’s a very high chance this isn’t true at all) is to – while travelling abroad – compare products, shops and restaurants that we also have at home. It can lead to some subtly surreal moments and entertaining little finds. I once found cherry blossom Nestea in Riga, Latvia; a Burger King that sold beer in Gijón, Spain; a supermarket that sold almost nothing but Coca Cola in Reykjavik, Iceland, and, most mind-blowingly; a McDonald’s that does a genuinely fantastic burger here in Montevideo, Uruguay. And I’m not talking some off-menu, gourmet choice here. Seeing as every shop in Montevideo closes at 10pm and I needed to save money on food, I hit the road in the hopes that I’d find some greasy empanada-serving kiosk or street food stall, but instead I slunk under the giant yellow M with a feeling of great shame, and ordered a Cuarto Combo (Quarter Pounder Combo), expecting the boring, dry, heartless burger I’ve known too well from drunken walks home through Kings Cross.
On a side note; are McDonald’s employees told to be a pain in the ass? Is it part of the job description? I’m not standing at the back of the restaurant looking up at the menu because I’m trying to waste your time, I’m doing it because you’d be more annoyed if I succumbed to your endless beckoning ‘hola’s without actually knowing what I want to eat, you obnoxious fools.
Either way, this burger had it all. Quality cheese, juicy beef, genuinely fresh vegetables. I don’t want to know how much money the UK restaurants are skimping on in regards to ingredients but this was a legitimately solid burger. I sat down (smashing my head against a low-hanging light) and stared out of the window onto the square below, eating this masterpiece with tears of joy forming in my eyes.
So what else happened? Me and Ines – a friend from back in Buenos Aires – reconvened in Montevideo and cycled a 25 mile round-trip (40 km for you metric heathens) to Don Ceriani – a tiny little beach/restaurant combo out on the eastern edge of the city – and had some of the best seafood of my life, straight out of the Atlantic onto my plate. Bit of calamari, bit of cod, bit of lemon, bit of mayo, bit of cerveza and boom. Happy lunch. Cycled back and got hideously burned after my sunscreen got lost in an impromptu swim in the ocean, then fell asleep at 6pm like a badass.
Today I woke up feeling truly awful so just… did nothing. Went for a bit of food, then sat and attempted to write this blog post, which has taken me almost 24 hours to compose. OH also I saw a rainbow cloud. And I was woken up this morning by the hostel kitten smacking me round the face.