Friday, July 19

Patagonia 11: The Punta del Este, Uruguay Puzzle

What’s the difference between seeing and noticing? Does one go to the machinery of logic, the other to the place where imagination churns? Maybe our senses send signals both ways at once? Do we escape into details to avoid over-heating our cerebral processors? Or maybe we both notice AND see details to collect as many as possible for logic and imaginations to process later?

I like to troll scenes with a camera so that the heavy lifting of collecting analytical fodder can fill up memory cards with facts while allowing me distill out whatever truth they contain at leisure. Yeah, that’s it… that’s why I postpone conclusions until I can swim around in snapshot images like Scrooge McDuck in his money crammed pool. 

Donald Trump Jr announces the Urugua Tower
Punta Del Este's a playground for South America's (and Europe's) successful. This summer-time city's golf-course-like-feellng boasts lawns better manicured than the work of a Parisian nail studio. As a Yank, I noticed a beach-front two-story photo of Donald Trump Jr. boasting the erection of a Trump Tower filling with luxury apartments. In this Spanish-speaking place it was hard to miss that the building’s advertising was in English.

A tour-taxi drove us through acres of the sort of mansions that line the roads of Palm Beach, Greenwich, CT. and Beverly Hills. The city's often compared to Cannes. Perhaps tacky’s been outlawed by Punta del Este where homes sit upon multi-acre hillsides of green, most with spectacular water-views. 

The air’s scented with gold.
Casa Pueblo; The house, gallery, museum, boutique hotel, and 
castle of artist Carlos Paez Vilaro (1923-2014) in Punta Ballena,
near Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Has this city of 9,200 (swelling to  perhaps 30,000 in summer) overcome or simply banned poverty? After hours of touring, we spotted NO low-income housing. Mercedes seem driven by the middle classes while the coolest youth drive Lambos as parents are chauffeured  about in Bentleys and Rolls. Until those streets, I'd never seen Bugattis in the wild.

So? Here's what puzzled me since our visit to the city. Why are struggling Latinos streaming north to the U.S. when La Dolce Vida glimmers in Punta del Este (along with Chilé and Argentina)? Es desconcertante, eh? Thoughts anyone?


Cedric said...

The difference between seeing and noticing, hmm... maybe the difference lies in perception, of what the eyes see and what our brains match to the experiences and knowledge of the viewer. That is, the brain does the noticing (i.e. we only notice what our brains can relate to) but the seeing comes from some non-brain related process, though I have no idea what that might be.
As for your other equally perplexing question, well, I don't know why this is so but could it have to do with the perceived socio-political stability of the region? Historically, countries of South and Central America don't have the best track records on that front.
On a side note, I've enjoyed catching up with your South American adventure. Particularly enjoyed the photos from the Falklands. I've long been fascinated by those islands.

Ted said...

Hi stranger... Hope all is well and totally miss "PLOP".

I don't think we notice all that we see. In fact, the mind being a lazy piece of meat, is generally blind to whatever it determines is 'common'. It's seen but goes unnoticed. The brain also processes things through its own filter so that even what is noticed is shifted through portals marked "Forget Fast".

We wondered what the Falklands' governor did to be removed to this spot. cannot imagine the life of a teenager growing up there. This is a REMOTE outpost of civilization fueled by the memories of military pensioners (lots of generations of them) and satellite TV. There is a great novel to be written by one of those adolescents who escape to Britain for university. Wonder why it's not already been done? Surely they must look at the world through a prism that's do dramatically different.

They must be much like a extra terrestrial who thinks in colloquial English? Hmmmm.... Oh, let me quickly say that most people I met seemed friendly to cruise ship debarkers who arrived for a few hours to walk and gawk... and leave a BIG portion of the Islands' GDP.