The Same or Different?

The concept of borders has always seemed strange to me. They seem like a simple idea. They are the lines that separate one country from another. What seems strange about them is how they were decided. Who decided where to put that line on the map? It seems strange that so much can change when simply crossing a border. The distance between one country and another is not far, but when you cross over the boundary line, things can become very different. If countries share a lot in common, it can almost be forgotten that a border was even crossed. However, if the two countries are fairly different, than crossing the border is even more significant.

Thoughts about borders have been on my mind because a few days ago I found myself crossing the line that separates Argentina and Uruguay. My first stop in this new country was the capital, Montevideo. This city is only about a seven hour bus ride from Buenos Aires (Argentina’s capital) and before I arrived in Uruguay a lot of people talked to me about Montevideo. Most of the people I talked to were not travelers but natives of Buenos Aires who have traveled to Montevideo. They all seemed to have similar thoughts about Montevideo. They said that it was a good city but it is very similar to Buenos Aires. The only difference is that Montevideo is smaller, which in their eyes makes Buenos Aires better. After hearing about Montevideo I couldn’t wait to get there to see if it was as similar to Buenos Aires as people suggested. I had a hard time thinking it could be that similar since it was in an entirely different country.

All of these thoughts were going through my head when I started walking the streets of Montevideo, which made me even more aware of any similarities or differences in the two places. Even though I was trying to find what made it the same or different I still have a hard time piecing it altogether. While I understand why people say that it is similar to Buenos Aires, it is also different in some ways. Montevideo looks different. It has different plants and buildings all around. Even though they speak the same language, I feel like the people are different. The money in my pocket has changed along with the energy that is in the city. While it is similar to Buenos Aires, I feel like crossing over the border into Uruguay changes the way that Montevideo feels.

Here are a few photos from my first look at Uruguay.

 

10 responses to “The Same or Different?

  1. Interesting post, it certainly is hard not to compare new places to places you have visited before sometimes! Uruguay looks nice from the pics, thinking about adding it to the list!

  2. This is definitely true. It’s hard to understand how so much can change by an imaginary line. I felt the same way when I crossed over into Thailand from Laos. Good thoughts!

  3. I always find it odd that land borders can be almost entirely arbitrary and man-made, but within a few moments of crossing, everything feels almost entirely different.

  4. Interesting post. Borders can be quite a strange phenomenon. I have similar thoughts about countries I’ve visited in Asia. However some of them have some distinct differences. You brought up some great points with this post.

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