Holiday Plans

23 Dec

The holidays are coming up soon, and while I don’t celebrate Christmas, I do enjoy the time off and being with friends or family. At this time last year, I was heading to visit a couple of friends in Santiago, Chile for the holidays. It was a welcome break from Ecuador, and was almost a shock to still be on the same continent but see how things were totally different. Not to mention it was summer in December.
We went to a Christmas dinner that their friend from Canada put on, and it was a true feast. Later in the trip we spent New Years’ Eve in Valparaíso, which is said to have one of the top five parties in the world for New Years’ Eve, and the largest fireworks display in South America. Needless to say, it was a great trip.
But this year will be different, because obviously I am not going to be spending it traveling to Chile, and because I don’t think I’ll be traveling at all. There really isn’t much time off, and I’ll be working a half day on the 24th and 31st. This is the high season for tourism, after all. Now I’m on the side that has to work during the vacation time, rather than be the person relaxing and enjoying it.
So because my options are limited, I’ve had to think about what I’ll do with the time I have. On the one hand, I was considering traveling to Montevideo for a couple of nights this weekend, what with an extra day and all. My tourist visa is set to expire next month, but I’ll be traveling to Patagonia and won’t be able to border hop. I shouldn’t even have to, after all of the hassle I’m going through with the DNI. But just in case I have to go somewhere else for work before I get my DNI, I don’t want to turn it down because of the $300 peso fine I would have to pay when leaving the country.
That’s part of the problem. Going illegal here bears three options. You can jump over to Uruguay or Chile for a day, paying only for the cost of transportation and whatever you do there, go to a government office and pay to extend your visa, or simply stay illegally and then pay the fine when you leave. But either way, they all cost about the same thing, yet all come with their own hassle. The advantage of going to Uruguay is that you get a trip out of it and can leave the city, but if you’re pressed for time it is more of a bother.
So in the end, it depends on if I have a place to stay for free in Montevideo. If yes, I’ll go, but if not I’ll just stay on and either jump over to a town called Carmelo for a day in a couple of weeks, or go illegal altogether. But I use illegal loosely here, because I have dual citizenship. I just don’t have the papers yet.
With that being said, if I do stay here, I will most likely have dinner with a couple of friends from the states and some of their friends. My roommate had also invited me to her family’s house, but after I had already discussed ideas with my friends here. Again, the idea of a Christmas dinner isn’t important to me, but spending a day off with some friends is what I would enjoy.
As for New Years’ Eve, I have no idea what I will be doing. The problem is that I’ll be working a half day, until what time I’m not sure. So going anywhere is not possible, and figuring out what to do will be another situation similar to other weekends. The one thing that concerns me is that New Years’ Eve is always such a build up that doesn’t live up to the hype, and as the main thrill at midnight will occur at a time when most Porteños aren’t even dressed and ready to go yet, I’m not sure what the party will be like. Maybe this will be the one night of the year that they act like Americans and start drinking at 7 o’clock. We’ll just have to wait and see.
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