Friday, November 13, 2015


Taxis. In Buenos Aires they're those little yellow and black thingys which are quite distinctive and are all over the place.

Except when it rains. Then they are extinct rather than distinctive. With a booking for Steaks by Luis at 8:45pm last night we thought we'd venture out and find a taxi at about 8:15pm. Plenty of time to get to our destination. But alas, no taxis. Not one. But with Alan's resourcefulness and his determination to get there, we eventually made it. Too bad about the appetisers and bubbly we missed and the salad that had seen better salad days -- and the drenched shoes, socks and jeans -- but at least we made it. Late. By about thirty years. Two old geezers at a table of thirty-somethings from around the world. But hey, we got there. And they did give us an enthusiastic round of applause for making it against all odds.

The best part of the night for me was the rum with Alan once we got back to the comfort of our apartment and shed our wet clothes.

So then to bed. But again the weather had better ideas than to just let us sleep.  In the very early hours of the morning up came the wind. And some. Right outside our apartment there has been some painting/decorating works with loose cables and things and they all started banging and crashing. So sleep evaded us and we must hope for something better tonight (although I have to rise at 4:30 am to get to the airport).

We did rise though, to quite a treat. Here they have a different kind of 'busker'. Couples get dressed up in their best evening wear and perform the Argentine tango, sometimes just in the street, other times in restaurants. Right outside out apartment a couple did just that.

I would have joined in but I didn't have my dancing pumps on at the time.

Buenos Aires is a huge city and in the few days we've been here it has been impossible to see it all but Alan selected a couple of interesting areas for our last glimpse today.

The first was San Telmo and Plaza Dorrego where artisans sell their wares in the square and in small shops in a kind of arcade.  There is some interesting architecture here so we strolled around the streets for a while.  In doing so we found, as is often the case in South America, a beautiful church tucked away in a narrow street.

After that, it was off to another interesting part of the city, La Boca. Early settlers here came from Italy, mainly Genoa and there is a strong Italian influence even today.  Cobbled streets, colourfully painted houses, restaurants featuring tango dancers all blend to make this a delight of sight and sound.

When I think back to our first couple of days in Montevideo and what we've done since then, it feels like it was two months ago, not two weeks that we started out.  It has been a fantastic ride. But it's just about over now. Days Thirteen and Fourteen will be swallowed up with our long journeys home.

Over and out.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Well it had to rain didn't it. Uruguay was bright and sunny most days so I guess we were in for it once we hit Argentina.  However, our spirits have not been dampened.  Last night's dinner was at a favourite place of Alan's called El Mirasol.  I regret the cows didn't fare too well. The steaks were so large we decided to share one and it was, as Alan had promised, truly great.  I left space for dessert, or so I thought.  Then the waiter brought out a small mountain.

See. I kid you not. But being the good solider that I am, I went for it. Fortunately we walked home.

Today for our morning coffee we relaxed at the famous cafe, La Biela under the shade of a tree which is just slightly smaller than Tasmania.  Later we strolled through the Recoleta Cemetery. I was expecting to see tombstones, as you do in a cemetery.

Not quite. Here there are streets of mausoleums, some of them big enough to be churches. It is incredible. I'd hate to be here on All Souls Day. It must get very crowded. From live persons as well.

Compared to some, the mausoleum of Eva Peron (Evita) is rather humble.

She seems to get the most visitors but obviously wasn't home when we were there.

On an even sadder note, during the country's military rule between 1976 and 1982 the government set out to suppress those it saw as enemies. As a result some 30,000 people, mostly of college age, disappeared. Not even their bodies were ever found.  They are referred to as Los Desaparecidos (the disappeared ones) and most Thursdays at 3:30 pm their mothers parade at Plaza de Mayo demanding to know the truth. We went there but because of the rain they did not protest today.

But the true highlight of the day was the discovery, not far from our apartment, of a laundry. And it isn't self serve either. We'll probably have to use up the rest of our spending money to pay for it but it will be worth it. My socks were starting to walk about on their own so emergency action was called for.

Tonight it's Steaks By Luis.  This will be an experience. Whether it will be a positive one remains to be seen. You'll know tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


A big day for us today. After checking out of our hotel we spent a few hours having a final look at Colonia del Sacramento before checking in at the port for our ferry ride across the River Plate to Buenos Aires.

This is a pic of the Plaza de Toros (bullring). It was the kind of development yours truly would be likely to be involved in.  In 1911 some guys got together and built a fabulous stadium for bullfighting, then in 1912 the then government banned the 'sport'.  So, instant ruins. And they're still there, a testament to wise investments.

The ferry ride across to Argentina was uneventful, save that for a trip across the river that takes less than an hour we seemed to have spent several hours going through the process of boarding and disembarking.

Anyway we're here. The apartment is unbelievable. It is owned by a very nice guy called Carlos, an architect. It is in the upscale suburb of Recoleta right opposite the famous cemetery.  Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a balcony, designer Italian furniture. It is just great.

We're just getting ready walk to our restaurant for dinner. Yet another South American cow is about to bite the dust.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Our meal last night at the Narbona Winery was fantastic. We were in the oldest part of the restaurant, built in the early twentieth century, with rough brick, unclad walls giving it a genuine rustic feel. The food was great, the wine too. It rounded off a lovely stay at Four Seasons. The hotel only has 48 rooms and most of them must have been empty because everywhere we went we seemed to be the only people there. But then again, that's how you feel about Uruguay. So much space, so few inhabitants. No wonder the animals look happy. Even the cows.

And we know where they're going.

This has been our last full day in Uruguay. It's somewhat sad to be leaving, given how friendly everyone has been; not to mention all the good food and wine we've had but Alan assures me it will be even better in Argentina.

We'll see.

It was a fairly short drive from Carmelo eastward to Colonia del Sacramento. Obviously the countryside was the same as before, so rural, and spacious, and full of cows.  See what I mean:

Believe it or not, this is the most crowded we've seen Uruguay. And these black and white persons probably had hundreds of acres to choose from.

We took a slight diversion and went to the little village called Conchillas.  A British company established a quarry here in 1887, then around 1911 another Brit settled here and built up a large import-export business. There are streets of identical stone houses as well as warehouses, an old hotel a former Anglican church and a cemetery.  According to the guides the place is much the same now as it was a century ago.

So, on to Colonia del Sacramento.  This place has quite a history and as you can read about it yourself in any guide book or online, I'll keep my description brief. It was founded in 1680 by Manuel Lobo, Governor of Rio de Janeiro, to be a Portuguese rival to Buenos Aires, directly across the River Plate. It was fought over by Spain and Portugal for almost a century, changing hands seven times. Not to be left out of things, the British attacked it in 1763.

In 1750 it was awarded to Spain but the British, being British, tried again in 1807 to recapture it.  In 1818 the Portuguese seized it from pro-independence Artiguistas, and in 1826 a squadron drove off what were now Brazilian ships and bombarded the town but was unable to capture it.  Until 1828 when the Brazilians left this was a centre for smuggling, backed by the British, into Buenos Aires.

The town's trials and tribulations didn't end there but let's skip a few battles, skirmishes, bombardments and uprisings and let sleeping dogs lie.

In 1995 the town was addd to UNESCO's World Heritage List.  The old city is a gem with cobblestoned streets, stone buildings, boutique hotels and chic restaurants. We plan to see more tomorrow before we set sail for Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Meanwhile we have a nice room with a balcony with a splendid view of the River Plate and, so close you could just about swim the distance, Argentina.

Monday, November 9, 2015


This is a 'take it easy day' for us. We sure needed it after the journey yesterday. This time I'll try to upload a few photos just to keep you, dear reader, slightly above your boredom threshold.

This is part of our bathroom. I guess it's about an acre in size, room for a 9 hole golf course.  And just in case you feel you haven't got enough space, they've kindly provided an outdoor shower set in its own park.  Alan used it this morning while I used the more conventional method of showering. Boy, was that a sight to behold. There's just a tad too much glass in this place.

Here's a shot through the glass. This is what we wake up to. No buildings anywhere, just trees. Of course we have to keep the door locked and our automatic weapons ready in case of bears, snakes, alligators and, of course, drunken Australian tourists.

Over yonder is Argentina where we head the day after next. You know the big guy in the yellow top.

And of course, there's me. Posing this is called. I'm standing in the main square in Carmelo. It's a nice little town. Again, as always seems to be the case, the natives are friendly.

Tonight we're off to a nearby winery for dinner; tomorrow the Red Indian will take us to Colonia del Sacramento for one night only before heading the next day across the river to Buenos Aires.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


The Grand Hotel at Punta del Este was, as its name suggests, rather grand. Nicely situated across the road from the excellent beach it is very well appointed and it was a shame we were only there overnight. Only one drawback: they don't supply you with a dog.

Punta del Este was quite a nice surprise. It's apparently where the rich and famous go to let their hair down. Very chic. Of course the two of us, as rich and famous as we are, fitted in nicely.

Today was the longest Alan has had to drive. Virtually the entire day from the eastern side of the country to the far west. Our hotel is right on the River Plate and you can see Argentina across the other side.  It's a beautiful hotel. Just what the doctor ordered after such a long drive.

The countryside on our route was very similar to what you'd see in Australia or in many other parts of the world.

Now we're at our new hotel. And the best so far.  I'd post a photo but as it takes several hours to upload a photo using their wi fi I'll give it a miss for now. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


It's the end of the world as I know it -- I have Man Flu.  You know the kind guys, the one that women never get and never understand. And certainly never give you any sympathy for. But I have Dr Alan on hand so I'm soldiering on with the aid of some little coloured things he found in the bottom of his suitcase, just next to the dirty socks.

We checked out of Cabana Con Permiso right after breakfast, said goodbye to Nestor, our landlord, bid farewell to the third dog to visit us during our stay and headed back in the direction from whence we came. The good ol' Red Indian (for those not in the know that's our red coloured, Indian made car -- not unlike a Lincoln Continental, only a tad smaller).

We're now in the seaside resort of Punta del Este. It's a busy place and it's not even the season. I can just imagine what it will be like next month. Lots of hotels, restaurants, fast food places, holiday apartments (even The Donald is building one just a stone's throw from our hotel).

We're staying at the Grand Hotel. Any resemblance to Cabana Con Permiso is purely coincidental. Very posh but alas we don't have a suite. I'm thinking of changing travel agents.

Alan and I spent some leisure time having a light lunch down by the marina, watching the fishermen preparing for their night's work, checking out the shops each fishing vessel has attached to it and generally taking it easy.

Alan's gone off to watch the sunset so it's an opportune time for me to write these notes.

No photos today. I was just too busy blowing my nose and questioning why God could possibly do this to me.

Friday, November 6, 2015


Yesterday was a long 'un.  Poor Alan had to drive for about five hours. It would have been four but for the fact we took a couple of wrong turns and spent far too much time on dirt roads, literally in the middle of nowhere. Below is part of the reason we drove for far too long. Let's call it a Bridge Too Far. We both jumped up and down on it and it didn't collapse into the river below but when we got back into the car cold feet took over and we decided to give it a miss.

But eventually we found an oasis of sorts. Yes, another winery.  I'll tell you a bit about it and before you think I've suddenly become more proficient at writing, I'm quoting a lot of this from Alan's guide. In fact, let's put it in italics just to be sure:

Argentina's richest man, hydrocarbons tycoon Alejandro Bulgheroni, has bought a huge swathe of land immediately west of Pueblo Garzon with amazingly ambitious plans for producing wine and olive oil. Uruguay's wine industry has been trapped in its boutique niche, with no producer big enough to sell to foreign supermarkets rather than specialist retailers - but the situation is set to change.  Bodega Garzon's output should be both good enough and plentiful enough to break out when its huge new winery starts production in 2014.

It cost around $USM35 and is built to the highest levels of sustainability, with grass roofs, natural light and wind power; with 60ha of Tannat, Albarino and Petit Manseng plus smaller quantities of Gamaret, Marsellan, Calvadoc, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc, and Alberto Antonini (father of the Super-Tuscan blend) as consultant, there's huge potential.

You get the picture.

Speaking of pictures here's one of Alan at the winery:

In addition to memories I came away with a bottle of beautiful Pinot Grigio. And if I'm lucky, Alan will tear himself away from his bed and all the technology to make lunch and I'll have another glass of it.

Oh, and by the way, there's plenty of wildlife in the winery grounds.  You think you've seen a rat. THIS is a rat:

Now, you'll recall the accommodation we had in Montevideo: a suite at the Radisson, twelfth floor, great view, maid service, exquisite breakfast and so on. So I knew that Alan would have pulled off something equally miraculous for Punta del Diablo.

But THIS is where we ended up:

Well, at least it's two storey, with running water, a flushing toilet (though you do have to run outside and refill the tank every now and then) AND a resident dog thrown in free of charge.

We've been taking it easy today. Mainly because there's nothing much more to do in Punta del Diablo but take it easy.  But it is kinda idyllic. We're looking straight down onto the beach and we have the sound of the waves which is always a big plus for me. In the distance we can see Brazil, just 45 minutes driving time from here. It's great. Really.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


As I mentioned previously, last night we went to see a show called La Bicicleta Blanca at Teatro Solis. This theatre is very near to our hotel, and stands beside the Citadel gate where the city centre dies and the Old City begins. It is at one end of the Plaza de la Independence.  It is said to be the foremost theatre and opera house in Uruguay, reopened in 2005 after undergoing a process of restoration lasting several years.

The show was to a packed house and the singers, musicians and dancers received a lengthy standing ovation at its conclusion. It was interesting for me in particular as I had little knowledge of the music behind the tango and the best of the best were performing it.

If there was a downside it was that it was (for me) freezing outside and overheated inside. Here I was wearing a jumper. (I had scoffed at Alan wearing a colourful, almost Hawaiian shirt with nothing over it). So it was with a little relief when the curtain came down and I could once again return to the frozen exterior.

The interior of the theatre was amazing. It was almost like a smaller version of London's Royal Albert Hall.

Today we took it easy. We went to the Holocaust Memorial on La Rambla, a lengthy esplanade fronting the River Plate where there is a section dedicated to the Jewish community lost to the Holocaust.

This is yours truly standing by a small section of the memorial with the River Plate in the background.

We then walked back along La Rambla and eventually took a taxi to where we had lunch and for the first time since I arrived, I had the national dish, the chivito. It's a bit like a hamburger with steak, egg, salad, basically 'the works'. With fries, of course.

While we were there I took the above shot through the cafe window. You see a lot of horse and carts here.

During the day we also stumbled across the changing of the guards just outside our hotel. (Not quite like the London version!)

We're off to a highly recommended restaurant tonight then tomorrow morning we check out, take a car to the airport and collect our hire car for the drive to our next stop, Punta del Diablo. I'm not sure about the quality of the wi fi there so I'll catch up with this blog as soon as I can.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


We had an exceptional day today.  We hired a car and driver and headed out of the city, but not too far. It is amazing how close to Montevideo you can find some great wineries with a range of wines that equal the best the world has to offer.

Our first port of call was Bodegas Carrau, just 15 minutes out of Montevideo.  The Carrau family has been making wines since 1752.  They began in Catuluna, Spain but have been based in Uruguay since 1930.  The above shot is of Alan at the winery before our tour began.  Our tour was conducted by Marguerite, one of five siblings in the Carrau family who operate the company. She made us feel very welcome and the tour was informative and fascinating. We were joined by a few others from various parts of the world and the atmosphere was warm and friendly. And so were the wines. I'm restricted to white wine these days and the Chardonnay was the best I've had in years.  Alan loved the reds of course.  It was great to see first hand how the whole process is conducted, from the vines right through to the bottling and labelling.

At this point of the day we're both upright, no trace of a wobble. I'll exclude photos of us at the end of the day.

To my right is Marguerite and the range of wines of this winery. A marvellous lady. It was a joy to sample her hospitality as well as the wines.

Next stop was Bodega Bouza, only minutes away by car.  We didn't do the tour here, but had lunch. Alan did some more wine tasting of their reds but I didn't push my luck. I did, though enjoy a glass of white with my meal. We both had lamb and as seems to be a feature of meat in this country, it melted in our mouths. How do they do this?? As they had apple strudel on the dessert menu I just had to try it and it didn't disappoint. But I swore to Alan there was no way I'd be eating that night. Our waiter was a local and spoke excellent English so we had a great commentary on the wine and food as we went along.

As an additional treat, the waiter let us into a locked area so we could view the winery owner's collection of classic cars. I counted twenty-six or twenty-eight. I imagine the total value would run into millions of dollars.  I don't think I've ever seen a private collection of this size. All cars were in near perfect condition. There's also a collection of motor cycles and scooters.

The final stop of the day was at H. Stagnari winery.  We arrived pretty late in the day but twenty-year-old Franco let us in and we sampled yet more extraordinary wines. The young man's knowledge of wines for his age was remarkable. He spoke excellent English and was well travelled. I gave him my card as he is threatening to come to Australia.

Monday, November 2, 2015


This is the theatre Alan and I are booked into tomorrow night to see a show entitled La Bicicleta Blanca (which my extremely limited knowledge of Spanish suggests to me means "The White Bicycle").  It is apparently the music behind the Argentine tango. I'm looking forward to that. A little bit of culture won't do any harm. Besides, it will mean a couple of hours when I'm not eating or drinking so that's good.

Alan and I had lunch in a nearby restaurant similar to the one in this photo. The Uruguayans have a rather unique way of barbecuing meat and you might just make this out in the background. The people who barbecue are regarded as professionals. There is quite an art to it. Whatever they're doing, they're doing it right. The steaks were unbelievably good. They virtually melt in your mouth. As an added bonus we found today that if us foreigners pay by a non-Uruguayan card at the till they automatically deduct the tax which made a cheap meal cheaper still. I suspect we'll be eating a few more steaks before we leave here.

At this stage I don't know what this building is but it was reputedly the tallest building in the South America at the time it was constructed. Very unusual architecture. This is on the square in front of our hotel. The photo immediately  below is, I think, the presidential offices and is also in the square in front of out hotel.


It has been a great journey so far. It was nice to catch up with my dear friends Peter and Bob in Sydney on my stop-over in Sydney.  Rydges Hotel at Sydney International Airport was a good move. Beautifully quiet and so convenient for a stop-over. Nice breakfast too before I set out for the long haul to Montevideo.

The first bit of good news was getting exit seats on the LAN Dreamliner from Sydney to Santiago, Chile.  The seats are a little narrow but as I haven't got a wide arse that didn't matter so much. It's the leg room that makes all the difference.

The next thing was, we pulled away at precisely 11:30 am as scheduled. Talk about Swiss timing.

The staff on the ground for LAN were great. Very friendly and accommodating. Same in the air with the cabin crew.  They get a lot of bad reviews on various websites but considering I was only in economy I thought they stood up to the best of them. The Dreamliner provided an ultra smooth ride. There was barely any turbulence too. The only downside to flying LAN from Sydney all the way to Montevideo is the fact you must land in Auckland. It adds hours onto your travelling time. Anyway who would want to land in New Zealand??? It full of frickin' kiwis. And never one to resist a cliche I turned out the lights before we left.

Everything went smoothly in Santiago.  They have a dedicated transit section so you don't have to enter Chile and pay their $US100 reciprocity fee. They were equally efficient to us when it came to security and so forth. I should mention my landing coming in to Santiago. At one stage I looked out the window and there were the Andes covered in snow. A truly remarkable sight.

The last leg, two hours ten minutes from Santiago to Montevideo was a big change from the Dreamliner. Just a rattling 320 Airbus. Everything goes quiet for the ascent over the Andes but we managed to get across okay.

Montevideo was a smooth entry. It's a small airport not unlike Santiago and we went through formalities without a hitch. And blow me down, my luggage arrived direct from Sydney! The man and car I had pre-booked were waiting for me and it was a very pleasant ride into the old city, some thirty five minutes. There is only a small section close to the airport where it is industrial. The rest of the ride was through quite expensive looking housing.

Montevideo itself is beautiful. Nice parks, gardens, colonial buildings and the Old City is magnificent. I plan to see a lot of it today.  They even have a sandy beach.  Only downside so far is a little too much graffiti for my liking. But then I have a thing about graffiti.

More to follow.

Friday, October 9, 2015


The following comments are from a reader of my legal thriller Sleeping With Angels:

A story showing the dark, seamy side of life in a brothel for male prostitutes and the acts they must perform; the abuse they receive just to make a living.  On the other hand, life in a big law firm in the city. Some scandalous behaviour (while appearing to be within the law) in that area too.

And the people who have the moral fibre to stand up to the bullies, have the nerve to see it through till the criminals are put under lock and key.

A riveting read – a real page turner – interesting sentence structures and well composed paragraphs. The tension level was up till the very end.

I’ll never look at that pink legal tape in the same way again!

LB, Broadbeach

Thursday, October 8, 2015


My fifth published novel A Dragon In The Snow is now published.  It is the third book to be published by Custom Book Publications, Hong Kong.

It is available both in hard copy and as a Kindle download from Amazon as well as numerous other online booksellers.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


I've had another review for my second published novel, Calvus. It can be found on  Text is as follows:

Wow, well when I decided to take a chance on Calvus I had no idea what a thrill ride I was about to let myself in for. It is a fascinating crime/thriller. British police procedural with a plot line that has implications that date back thousands of years. I guess if I had to make a comparison with a more widely known writer I would say Dan Brown, but to be honest I enjoyed this way more than The DaVince Code. The writing is tight but pacy and despite the complex subject matter you're never confused as to what is going on as the exposition is dealt out in manageable bite sized chunks. I loved it, and look forward to reading more by Darryl Greer.


Monday, March 23, 2015


Just a reminder that my next author talk entitled Get Noticed, Get Published will be tomorrow Wednesday 25 March at 10:00 am at Broadbeach Library, 61 Sunshine Boulevard, Mermaid Waters.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


My next novel A Dragon In The Snow will be published soon by Custom Book Publications, Hong Kong. Check out a preview on my website at:


I will be giving a talk at Broadbeach Library at 10:00 am on Wednesday 25 March entitled Get Noticed, Get Published.  I will also use the opportunity to speak about one of my published books, Calvus.  

It has been a while since I've done an author talk so I'm really looking forward to it.