By: Mimi Lipson
September 13, 2018

Part two of a series of posts adapted from a travel journal originally posted on apexart.org.



The long Day 1 continued after a nap when Javier’s wife, Valentina, arrived to resume my orientation.

My building, it turns out, has a doorman — a funny little guy named Edgar with dyed hair and a maroon jacket.


“Edgar Allan Poe,” he said by way of explanation, adding: “Creedence Clearwater Revival, very good!”

Outside, the leaves on the locusts are yellowing. I’ve swapped a tentative New York spring for tender early fall. Valentina pointed out the produce stand across the street, and mentioned that her favorite pizza place is down the block. I’m skeptical. We walked up Av. 26 de Marzo to Av. Brasil, where we got a bus. The 121. “This will be a very good bus for you,” Valentina said.

Av. Brasil, evening:

The patriotic street names, the wide boulevard, the statues, the blocky political graffiti on the walls in the civic interzone where I exchanged currency and purchased a multi-ride bus card… this place reminds me of some Warsaw Pact city from my youth.

From the 121 bus I saw people everywhere, sitting on walls and benches, enjoying travel cups of mate. I tried to get a photo of three nurses sipping from their fancy metal straws, but I was not quick enough. Later, in the supermarket, I discovered an entire aisle of mate supplies: cups, thermoses, packets of mate tea. The rest of the afternoon I spent wandering around my new neighborhood.

Yellow and blue dumpsters, tiny Fiat sedans and panel trucks, flowering succulents I hadn’t thought about since I left Los Angeles in 2005. Hardware stores and pharmacies behind in beaux-art doorways, tucked between mid-century apartment houses with gravel walks. The dominant style, though, is a kind of brutalist art deco. I came upon one after another cement house, photographing each balcony from multiple angles, until I gave in to the gathering surge of traveler’s love.

My timeless, borderless Day 1 in Montevideo ended with a screening at the local cinematheque. More art deco. Ringing, empty stairways and sparse lobby furnishings. I watched a movie about a haunted warehouse. The fact that it was in Spanish — which I don’t really understand, no matter how much I think I do — made it difficult to stay awake. I was half-dreaming on the walk back to the air b’n’b. I can think of it by no other name. It’s too insubstantial to count as a building, more app than architecture; a neutral corner.

I came upon a vision.

I’d left my camera (a sim-cardless iPhone) in the apartment when I left for the cinematheque, so this spirit photo was taken with the loaner Samsung.

N.b: I would see these horse-drawn carts again and again, usually driven by teenagers. They are collecting paper from the recycling bins, I am told. The rag-and-bone men of Montevideo.


One in a series of ten posts contributed by HILOBROW friend Mimi Lipson.

MORE MIMI LIPSON: Tube Your Enthusiasm: THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES | Wowee Zowee: THANK YOU | #Squadgoals: THE RUNAWAYS | Lost Objects: DODGE DART | Klute Your Enthusiasm: MEAN STREETS | Quirk Your Enthusiasm: HOW COME YOU’RE SUCH A HIT WITH THE BOYS, JANE? | Grok My Enthusiasm: 1973 SEARS ROEBUCK CATALOG and TRASH PICKING | Hermenautic Tarot: EUPHORIA | Significant Objects: HALSTON MUG | PLUS: HILO HERO items on Joey Ramone, Divine, Redd Foxx, Russ Meyer, Shelley Winters, Noam Chomsky, and many others.

CURATED SERIES at HILOBROW: UNBORED CANON by Josh Glenn | CARPE PHALLUM by Patrick Cates | MS. K by Heather Kasunick | HERE BE MONSTERS by Mister Reusch | DOWNTOWNE by Bradley Peterson | #FX by Michael Lewy | PINNED PANELS by Zack Smith | TANK UP by Tony Leone | OUTBOUND TO MONTEVIDEO by Mimi Lipson | TAKING LIBERTIES by Douglas Wolk | STERANKOISMS by Douglas Wolk | MARVEL vs. MUSEUM by Douglas Wolk | NEVER BEGIN TO SING by Damon Krukowski | WTC WTF by Douglas Wolk | COOLING OFF THE COMMOTION by Chenjerai Kumanyika | THAT’S GREAT MARVEL by Douglas Wolk | LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE by Chris Spurgeon | IMAGINARY FRIENDS by Alexandra Molotkow | UNFLOWN by Jacob Covey | ADEQUATED by Franklin Bruno | QUALITY JOE by Joe Alterio | CHICKEN LIT by Lisa Jane Persky | PINAKOTHEK by Luc Sante | ALL MY STARS by Joanne McNeil | BIGFOOT ISLAND by Michael Lewy | NOT OF THIS EARTH by Michael Lewy | ANIMAL MAGNETISM by Colin Dickey | KEEPERS by Steph Burt | AMERICA OBSCURA by Andrew Hultkrans | HEATHCLIFF, FOR WHY? by Brandi Brown | DAILY DRUMPF by Rick Pinchera | BEDROOM AIRPORT by “Parson Edwards” | INTO THE VOID by Charlie Jane Anders | WE REABSORB & ENLIVEN by Matthew Battles | BRAINIAC by Joshua Glenn | COMICALLY VINTAGE by Comically Vintage | BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh | WINDS OF MAGIC by James Parker | MUSEUM OF FEMORIBILIA by Lynn Peril | ROBOTS + MONSTERS by Joe Alterio | MONSTOBER by Rick Pinchera | POP WITH A SHOTGUN by Devin McKinney | FEEDBACK by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FTW by John Hilgart | ANNOTATED GIF by Kerry Callen | FANCHILD by Adam McGovern | BOOKFUTURISM by James Bridle | NOMADBROW by Erik Davis | SCREEN TIME by Jacob Mikanowski | FALSE MACHINE by Patrick Stuart | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 MORE DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE (AGAIN) | ANOTHER 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | UNBORED MANIFESTO by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen | H IS FOR HOBO by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FRIDAY by guest curators