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SHARKHUNTERS International
2016 "Hitler in Argentina"
     Expedition

Day 15     13 February
 

If you saw the movie "Romancing the Stone" you will remember the shabby, almost primitive village with terribly run down houses - sorry, I mean shacks.  This area was pretty much like that.

In the photo directly below we see our goal - a lighthouse at the hydroelectric station in the middle of nowhere.  Who builds a lighthouse hundreds of miles from the ocean?  And why?  But it was built here in 1938.  Security here was incredible for a simple hydroelectric plant built almost eight decades ago.

We were passed through the first gate with a guard.  Then we got to the interior security and in the photo below right we see the high chain link fence with three strands of barbed wire above it.  About two feet inside that fence is a high electrified fence.....a lot of security for such a place.

 
     
 
     
 

Here I am pointing at the lighthouse we want to see.  Note there is an array of solar panels behind me. This is a hydroelectric generating plant nowhere near an ocean - a lighthouse here?  Why would they also need solar panels here. Nobody could explain that.

 

Here I am with "Officer Dumb Ass" who refused to let us in.  He claimed there was a 'radiation leak'.....in an ancient hydroelectric plant.  Even he could not have thought we would believe that.  Martians maybe?  Space Aliens?  Maybe - but a radiation leak?

     
 

This facility was built by Germany in 1938 but once the war began in 1939, Uruguayan police raided the place and found photos of Adolf Hitler on the walls.  Where is the surprise?  The facility was built by Germany and he was the Chancellor.  In just about every country, you will find photos of the president or chancellor or prime minister or whatever hanging in all government buildings.  It is the norm.

They also suspected that the engineers and technicians working at this plant "had Nazi tendencies".  'Patriotic' might be another term for that as Germany was at the height of her rebirth.

We found another guard who didn't think he was guarding Fort Knox or a cache of nuclear weans and when we asked if we could go through, he said, "Why not?" and he opened the gate for us to drive in.

     
 

Once through the gate, this is the 'road' we had to drive on.  It was atop the dam itself and looked really rickety; then we remembered it was German built.  We drove the VW right down this one lane road.

 

Here we are looking waaaaaaay down at the complex which included offices, control stations and God knows what else in this compound.  It is a VERY long way down if the road fails.

     
 

This is what we came to see - one of the light bulbs for the lighthouse.  Note that the filament is in the shape of a Swastika.  Adolf Hitler sent a congratulatory letter to the directors of the facility in 1938.  Much as we tried, we could not get a copy of that letter......yet!

     

As we depart the facility, we had to shoot photos of the workers housing area.  There are houses, cantinas, grocery stores etc. in this closed community.

A point of local color - look at the yellow sign with the black image on it.  This indicates "Lomo de Burro" or "Lomados" in the shortened form.  It means the 'hump of the burro' but in layman's terms - we know it as a speed bump.  Look closely and just past the sign is the speed bump.

This place must have been beautiful when it was built, but neglect and age have crept up on this facility.

 
     
 

After we departed the hydroelectric plant with the 'radiation leak' we went into town to find a hotel as it was getting late.  Keep in mind the description of the town as compared to the one in the movie 'Romancing the Stone' and you get a good idea of what we were facing.  We looked all over, which did not take long as this is a very small village, for a hotel and there were NONE in the village.  We finally found a man who said he would rent an apartment to us for the night.........but he could not guarantee our safety!  He said that this apartment had been broken into several times and the people robbed.  Does not appear to have a four-star rating!

After talking with several people, including a truck driver, to ask about a town - ANY town - with a hotel, we headed back to Durazno some 60 kilometers (almost 40 miles) hoping to find a hotel.  It is getting late and we get bad news.  This is the last day of Carnival and we could not find a room.  It was looking like we were going to have to sleep in the Volkswagen.

I noticed the lady who ran the tourist information office just locking up to go home - it was 7pm.  I explained our situation and asked her if she would help us.  Okay, she opened the door and called absolutely every hotel in Durazno - no room at the inn!  It was looking more and more like we would spend the night in the VW!  She called hotels in the next town and good news; they were not celebrating Carnival there.  Bad news; there is a huge wedding there and ALMOST every room in town is taken.  There are only two rooms available in Trinidad.  RESERVE THEM we yelled.  The owner of the hotel said we had to be there within thirty minutes and Trinidad was 30 kilometers away.  No - the tourist office lady told her to hold the rooms for one hour and the owner agreed.  We thanked her profusely and dashed out the door!

This is a very nice Four-Star hotel and since we were in a jam, the owner charged us the most expensive price.  It was 3,200 Uruguayan Pesos......just over $100 Yankee Dollars from two nice rooms with an excellent breakfast.  It was very nice and a bit expensive, but it beat sleeping in the Volkswagen!

It was 10pm by the time we got into our rooms and even though I am on the 5th floor, the wedding celebration is in the plaza outside our hotel and it is damned loud.  Didn't matter - I was so tired they could have been celebrating in my room and I would have slept through it.  This was a tough day - but I was to learn that there were tougher days ahead.

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