10th May 1833

Las Minas
During this days ride, there was not much interest, excepting from the novelty of this manner of travelling. — The country is the much the same; more uneven & hilly; a sort of miniature alpine district; the whole surface, however with the exception of the bare rock is covered with a short green turf. — And this indeed is the picture of all which I saw: — it sounds very delightful riding over so much turf; but positively I at last became so tired of the endless green hills that I thought with pleasure of iron-shod horses & dusty roads. It is very rare to meet a single individual, and we did not till close to Las Minas. This night we stopped at a Pulperia or drinking shop, which also sells a few other things. The evening was very tiresome as we were obliged to remain the whole time amongst a set of drinking strangers before the counter & with scarcely a place to sit down. This was however the only night, in which we did not sleep at private houses.

During the evening a great number of young Gauchos came in to drink spirits & smoke cigars. They are a singularly striking looking set of men; generally tall, very handsome, but with a most proud, dissolute expression. They wear their moustachios & long black hair curling down their necks. With their bright coloured robes; great spurs clanking on their heels & a knife, stuck (& often used) as a dagger at their waist, they look a very different race of men from our working countrymen. Their politeness is excessive, they never drink their spirits, without expecting you to taste it; but as they make their exceedingly good bow, they seem quite ready, if occasion offered, to cut your throat at the same time.
The town of Las Minas is considerably smaller than Maldonado, & of the usual symetrical figure. it is seated in the plain of the Rio St. Francisco, & is surrounded on all sides by the low rocky mountains. It has rather a pretty appearance, with its church in the middle. The outskirting houses all arise out of the plain, like isolated beings, without the usual (to our eyes) accompaniment of a garden or court. This is the case with all the houses in the country, & gives to them an unsociable appearance. —

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