04.11.2021 – II. WALK

Memo after our expedition from the old center of the city to the other side of the bay to Cerro, the hill neighbourhood around the Montevideo.

Sunny warm spring. Opposite the New York estimated ten floor high facade of the iconic old city tower we enter a packed bus. My eyes are traveling along an amazing diversity of buildings with individual functional and decorative variations. 

Suddenly close to the flame of the refinery, lit the day before in the distance. A bit like the olympic flame with its promise of victory and fame. 

Stepping out we find us among just a few small buildings, close to the shore. In the noses sea-salty and muddy-rotten breezes. 

Walking the multiplicity of things is changing remarkably almost from corner to corner, from each shift of direction and detour we take my perception is shifted.

Muddy fishy close-ups stay in the nose. Rotten, toxic associations are uncomfortably touching, while my feet look for their way through grayish ground. It is densely picked with the global range of human spill. Some of which informing the wonky ground like intarsia in a carefully decorated piece of furniture. These surroundings creep especially close when I try to avoid its wetness by walking from one plastic or otherwise rubbish-skinned spot to the next.

The sounds of seabirds and winds counter upcoming disgust. Back to the promenade – a jump into comforting distance.

A platform with some very special public furniture to enjoy the view.
Wrapping chamomile through my fingers along the next rocky passage of the shore smells warm, almost cosy.

One passage full of human activity, voices, actions and motors. Mostly mixed with the many dogs. The next an empty resonating ruin with a very particular sonic presence in both places: some distinct high harmonics of calling frogs most likely rather small toads. They never showed up. Maybe the so called “Melanophrynicus cupreuscapularis”, which I found described a the Uruguay, specifically  Montevideo redbelly toad. An endangered species. But here some more research has to be done. 

The neighbourhood felt special. Sometimes extremely impoverished, sometimes  well off, both – and probably many grey shades in between – close to each other. Some fence themselves off others don´´t

Walking up the hill in the already warm and enchanting evening light I look around a corner and the street between the houses turns into a meadow-like garden. 

Beside a boxing club, elegant lifting columns of a classic-modern style school building merge with trees of a forest-like park that surrounds parts of the Montevideo hill. It continues a little more wildly on the last stretch up to the top. 

The atmosphere warms and fills up continuously with the evening songs of birds and crickets.

On top of the hill we witness the beauty of the gathering  cloud formations. Their fogs slowly swallowing the surroundings. 

In retrospective it becomes evident, how much walking through and staying with-in is an accelerated unfolding and extending of perception by means of slow motion, scaling and tuning-in.