Learning Uruguay

Every day brings ????

Little shops

Posted by urufish on June 6, 2007

  In Brazzie’s most recent post (http://uruguaydreaming.com/2007/06/05/ten-things-i-love-about-montevideo/) he says:

Small shops. Small businesses are sprinkled throughout the city and you can shop for 90% of what you need without needing to walk more than six blocks. The remaining 10%, they deliver, for free. In most other countries, the small shop system has virtually disappeared.

He’s right.  This is a very unusual and very important thing to know (and to experience) about living in Montevideo.  This is true to a degree all over Uruguay, but it’s the big city where it really stands out.  I’ve said so many times you never have to walk more than 4 blocks in Pocitos to find what you want.  His description (above) says 6 blocks, but the point is, no matter what you need, it’s a short walk. 

In honour of Brazzie’s work, here are some of the shops that are within 6 blocks of where I live. 

Within 6 blocks there are (at least) 4 laundries, 2 drycleaners, 4 paper stores, several used childrens clothing/accessories, 6 mini-markets  (notice the Mini-Macro delivery truck below), 2 large supermarkets, (all markets/supermarkets have home delivery.. some have websites to order from), 8 x 5/10 cent stores, 9 drugstores (including one open 24/7), 6 women’s clothing stores, 4 pizza parlors, 5 good restaurants including one of the best steak houses in Montevideo, 2 empanada stores, 2 chiviterias, 3 bars, 2 x 365day/yr ice cream shops, 4 hardware shops, 3 private schools, several trades colleges, 6 banks, (2 with multiple branches), 7 shops to pay bills at (like Abitab/RedPago), 5 real estates, 4 vets, 2 car dealerships (Peugeot y Audi), gymnasiums, karate/taekwando/judo schools, 4 24/7 gas stations with stores, museums, sports stores, bicycle and motorcycle shops, MacDonalds, cambios, 2 synagogues, 1 church, kiosks, jewllery stores, shoe stores, viveria, 3 clinics, 3 retirement homes, 2 home theatre shops, lamps, furniture, mattresses, cybercafes, pc repair/sale, antiques, etc. 


laundry-small.jpg laundry2-small.jpg

Stationery stores

 papeleria2-small.jpg papeleria-small.jpg

Childrens clothing/accessories 

 usedkids-small.jpg usedkidsstore-small.jpg 2ndhand-small.jpg cutekids-small.jpg 

Mini and Supermarkets and delivery.   When I worked at 3003 21 de Setiembre, I would go to the MicroMacro (below) every evening for a Milka Chocolate Bar.. the one with the bubbles – like Aero.  The last picture is my closest minimarket.  There is an iron barred door that the lady closes when it starts to get dark.  You come to the door and tell her what you want and she brings it to you.  She’s the owner.  She works alone. 

cmarket-small.jpg macromicro-small.jpg   market2-small.jpg 

5/10 cent stores.  See the guy in the long coat looing in the store on the left.  I must have shot this picture quickly because just above, you’ll see him coming out of the Micro Macro.  The guy in the next photo is happy to have his picture taken.  I just bought two AA batteries from him for the camera. 

5-10store-small.jpg typical5-10store-small.jpg  

Drugstores.  In Montevideo’s free zone (well it’s not quite in Montevideo), when you want to open a company, you buy one from another company that makes ’empty’ companies for a living.  When I was there at the official transfer, their accountant asked where I lived and I said 21 y la Rambla.  He asked if I knew the farmacia in the first picture.  I said yes.  My wife used to go there to get injections (here, a pharmacist can give you a needle.. yes, it’s true).  Only the owner was trained to do that.  He said that was his father.  Small country isn’t it.  The Trouville (the 2nd one) is where my daughter buys her makeup and we fill most of our prescriptions there.  You get 25-30% discount on all prescription drugs in most pharmacies in Montevideo.  I am amazed at how many promotions the drug companies have here.  In my 18 months, I’ve run into two.  In one, you bring back 2 empty packages of medication and the distributor gives you one for free… That’s on top of the 25-30% discount at the drugstore.  In the 2nd case, you fill out a form, get a card and for the first purchase, you get 75% off.  After that, you get 50% off.  Never saw those deals back home.  Seems like prices are about 20% less here overall than back home for prescription drugs. 


Womens/ladies clothing stores 


Dining/Eateries.  The 2nd restaurant below is the famous ‘Tranquilo’ bar.  It sits directly in front of 3003 21 de Setiembre. That’s the building where Thorn is living now.  We have the floor below him.  The name of the bar is kind of funny because when everyone’s partying outside, it’s not ‘tranquilo’.  The green sign is from a little healthfood place just a few houses to the East of our house.  The restaurant you see for rent below with the Alquila sign is famous.  The owner was sent to jail for repeated and wreckless defiance of the nationwide smoking ban in public places.


Liquor and books.   Immediately below is a liquor store.  The next is a great used book store, cybercafe and movie rental place.  It smells like old books..  Wonderful smell if you like that musty odour of books long stored in someones basement. 


 Hair salons..  Uruguay has a huge service sector.  There are so many shops catering to women’s hair and beauty needs in our 6 blocks, it’s impossible to count them all. 


 Assorted.  Hardware store.  Our dog’s veterinary store.  The lady that sews everything around the corner.  Does a great job on shears and all kinds of drapes. 


Financial.  This is one of many foreign banks in Uruguay.  The majority of banks here are foreign owned.  Next is the Abitab.  That’s where you pay all your bills that you cant or dont want to put on autodebit. 


 Real estate, private course college and private school.  There are many private schools in this area.  Most have English (as in England) or French names.   These are small residential streeets and the traffic is amazing when the kids are coming or going. 



4 Responses to “Little shops”

  1. Enzo said

    Fabulous photos. It is great to see the street life and the neighborhood stores. I love it. I even glimpsed a couple reflections of you taking the photos, I wonder what the shop clerks thought. A+ another great post. Made me feel like I was walking the streets there.

  2. Brazzie said

    Wow, you managed to bring to life what I had been thinking in so much more detail.

    The pictures are fabulous. Great job.

  3. urufish said

    Heheh.. I wondered if anyone would notice me in those windows.. You can tell I never took a course. They teach you to keep out of the reflections… or confuse yor image in the vegetation… Forget the shop clerks, you should see the people on the street.. Someone stopping every 50 feet and taking picures of all things – stores!!! Loco gringo.

  4. selecting personalized gifts

    Little shops

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