Lesson #270: Uruguay

Such a broad topic, I know, but I can’t very well write a blog post on the awesomeness that is Diego Forlan’s hair.*

I have never been to Uruguay. And to be perfectly honest, until last summer, I had never given Uruguay more than a passing thought. But I’m a sucker for the underdog, so their surprising run at the World Cup (a fourth place finish in a very exciting — far more exciting than the final — very tight match with Germany) and the aforementioned fantastic hair drew me in and now I apparently spend my Saturday evenings watching Copa America matches with Spanish commentary. So yes…Argentina and Urugay in a match that had me doing my very best imitation of me watching playoff hockey. Good times.

It’s probably better that I live alone.

Having spent the last year being an only slightly more than casual Uruguay fan — and having threatened to one of my closest friends from the Eastern European capital I used to live in that I was going to run away to Montevideo to figure out my life, which I clearly haven’t done — I have decided I should maybe learn a bit more about it than that they were the hosts and winners of the first ever World Cup in 1930. So here we go…

Uruguay has a population of about 3.4 million, 1.3 million of whom live in the capital of Montevideo. It has a literacy rate of 98% (!) and the average life expectancy is 75 years. The Uruguayan unit of currency is the peso and the major religion (unsurprisingly, one feels) is Roman Catholic. The country “consists mostly of low, rolling grasslands” and the major agriculture is rice (huh!), wheat, corn, barley, livestock and fish (duh). The country’s economy is largely dependent on agriculture and its major exports are meat, rice (still surprising), leather products, wool and vehicles.

And that’s really all you need to know for your cursory knowledge of Uruguay. Oh, and they also won the World Cup in 1950.

Most of that information can be found at National Geographic’s website. The stuff about the World Cup, you’re going to have to look up on your own if you don’t trust me, but I promise you it’s accurate.

Oh, and if you care, Uruguay won on penalties, so the scoreline was 1-1 (4-5). And a red card apiece. The one to Uruguay was on a ridiculous dive by the Argentinian player. And they had a goal called back that shouldn’t have been. But it’s a win, so they’ll meet Peru in the semifinals on Tuesday.

*But seriously, it *is* awesome. I am inexplicably captivated by it. It’s got magic powers or something.

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