I’ve got Christmas on the brain! It’s one of my favorite holidays and I want to share that with my daughter. Last week my husband and I decided it was the perfect time to take Paloma to visit Santa Claus. Friday was the last day of school in Uruguay until February so we thought going any later in the season would result in long lines and overly excited children.
On Thursday, my husband and I packed the baby bag and headed out for Montevideo (from now on referred to as MVD). We live in a small town called Sauce–pronounced saw-ou-seh–which is about an hour and half bus ride away from the capital. Since Paloma was born, I’ve only gone to MVD a handful of times because it’s too long of a ride with Paloma since she starts to squirm not being able to run around. It’s funny though because if we take the car to MVD she can handle it but the bus ride is just too much. I think it has to do with the new people, new sites, new sounds thing.
Anyway we took the bus to MVD, and got off at Tres Cruces. Tres Cruces is a bus terminal in MVD which doubles as a mall. They just opened a new jungle gym in a park dedicated to the Armenian Genocide of 1915 across the street and we decided to take Paloma there to use the swings. She loved them! She loves seeing the older kids run around the park and tries to chase after them but she’s just too young. I always tell her one day she’ll be able to play with them but you can tell it’s not good enough for her. After a few minutes we started on our way for the taxi stand to head to the mall.
I don’t know about you but whenever we take a taxi with Paloma, I’m freaking out about the lack of car seat in the taxi. I mean sure we don’t have one on the bus either but the bus drivers aren’t as crazy as taxi drivers. Most of the time I’m holding onto her for dear life, cradling her head to protect it from the plastic/glass barrier.
Anyway, so once at the mall we decided to eat lunch at a small café around the corner called Philomene. I wish we would’ve snagged a picture of the actual café or the food but we were too distracted. It’s a quaint little place on the corner of Solano Garcia and Miñones. The inside of the café is small but not crowded, and I fell in love with the bathroom. It’s upstairs and tiny but it didn’t feel cramped. When and if you ever visit Uruguay you’ll realize why one would notice the bathroom. After we finished our meal we headed straight for the mall again.
Punta Carretas Shopping is my favorite mall in Montevideo. It actually used to be a prison at some point in Uruguay’s history but I don’t know much else about its time as a prison. When we walked inside you couldn’t help but notice the Christmas decorations. I was in heaven! They had a three story tree in the middle, surrounded by little Christmas scenes like Santa in his workshop, carolers singing, and an animated Mrs. Claus in their living room talking to the visitors. I couldn’t get a good picture with my phone so I’m borrowing a picture from the local paper.
Paloma went crazy running around so I couldn’t get a good picture of her here either but just so you can get an idea I’ll add some more from the paper.
After getting lost around all the beautiful scenery looking for Santa, I caved and asked one of his “helpers” (a.k.a. two high school aged girls standing around looking at their phones giving off a “GO AWAY” vibe) where we could find him. Third floor. Food court. Seriously, you have this beautiful scenery and you put Santa on the third floor next to the food court? But I digress. Off we went to visit Santa. Luckily there was no line. We paid our $130 pesos for our picture (roughly USD $7). Paloma is usually really good with strangers so I didn’t think twice about just handing her off to Santa for the picture. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. Paloma HATED Santa. I’m talking full blown crying, screaming, and just overall awful. I will say this is the first time I’ve experienced/heard a Santa hand a screaming baby back to it’s mother before the picture. I swear through his bushy white beard and long hair his piercing eyes were letting me know he wasn’t having any screaming baby on his lap. I already paid for my picture so we made it a family “portrait” instead. Paloma sat on my lap while I sat next to Santa and Carlos sat on his other side. The elf was really nice and helpful but Santa was just not having it.
After our encounter with Santa we picked up our picture, were welcomed to Uruguay by the guy manning the printer (which doesn’t happen often, seriously he was SO NICE), and walked around the mall aimlessly. After about half an hour we decided we should head for the bus stop to head home to avoid afternoon rush hour.
The bus ride home was no longer or shorter than the bus ride there, but I will say that the lady sitting next to us was nice and understanding of my hyper toddler. She played with her for about the first forty minutes, allowing Paloma to pull her hair, touch her mouth and scream for attention. I wasn’t too excited about it but honestly I was too tired to care at that point. After the lady got off the rest of the bus ride was spent playing with Daddy, looking out the window and trying to touch the head of the man sitting in front of us.
Overall we had a really nice day out as a family. It doesn’t happen too often since we don’t have our own money to go out. But when it does, I really enjoy spending the time alone just the three of us.