Learning Uruguay

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What’s hot in Montevideo II

Posted by urufish on June 12, 2007

el-oferton-small.png

Yesterday, we went over the seasonal advertisemens in The Gallito, ‘El Oferton’ section.  Today, we look at the non seasonals, the ones that show up in El Oferton all the time. 

  • Mattresses (colchons).  Lots of ads, week after week, after week.  The two main kinds are spring mattresses and foam.  Our first mattress we bought here (eons ago), was a spring mattress.  Didn’t spend a lot of money on it and the result was predictable.  Several years we bought a good quality foam mattress and we like them a whole lot more.  Sizes aren’t exactly the same as back home.  Although the call them the same thing, we’ve put sheets from home on the same name and usually, the sheet is too big.  I’m no expert but I think a single here can be 0.80/0.90 x 1.85/1.90.  A double, 1.40 x 1.90.  I believe a king is 2.0 x 2.0.   Thicknesses vary too.  There are thin, 13cm foam mattresses.  The average mattress is 20cm thick.  1.40 x 1.90x .20 spring sets average USD$200.  Mattress alone, USD$135.   Orthopedic foam with a 60cm depth average USD$300 per mattress.  High end, premium sets go for USD$550.  Bottom of the line 13cm foam with base can be found for under USD$100.  Good quality mattresses here come with a 3 year guarantee.   For the past 3 years, we have bought all of our mattresses/springs at Divino (www.divino.com).  This is the closest store we have found to northern standards for quality and selection.

colchones.jpg  Mattress (colchones) examples

  • Flooring.  Piso Flotante is huge here.  This is stripwood flooring with an interlocking mechanism (like tongue/groove with a twist) that you put together over a thin, polyfoam sheet base.  It goes right over concrete.  It’s quite durable.  It comes in many colours and grains.  It goes in FAST.  It’s not that expensive, installed, USD$16/square meter at 8mm, about USD$1.60/square foot.  Parquet is also very popular here.  Whenever you are doing flooring, ask for Lapacho or Curupay.  I havent seen ads for Lapacho but I have them for Curupay.  Both are very strong woods with some resistance to water damage.  Wall to wall carpet (broadloom for our Canaian readers), is practically speaking, non existant here.  Area rugs can be bought cheaply (Chinese knockoffs).  We bought some throw rugs in the supermaket.  Tienda Inglesa (www.tinglesa.com.uy) frequently has some great looking rugs that last about as long as you’d expect from the price. 
  •  Computers and electronics.  These are advertised everywhere.  There are 2 markets in Uruguay.  The biggest is used computers.  The cheapest I’ve seen to date is USD$70 for an IBM system.  I’d say an average price for a used system is around USD$200 now.  New systems start around $350 and go up from there.  Used laptops are sold in Uruguay now but there were none in this El Oferton.  New laptops run USD$850 and up.  I’d say they average around USD$1150.  I have NEVER seen an English OS here where I’ve been shopping.  I was never able to get an English keyboard so I brought several spares from home in the container.  MP3 players go as low as USD$25 for a 256mb unit.  There are tons of Ipod knockoffs here for around USD$70 for 1gb. 

computers-cut.jpg Examples of used computers

  • Cellphones.  Lots of cellphones here.  Nowhere near the selection in the US or Canada, but penetration is higher here (higher % of Uruguayans have cellphones).  I read somewhere that in the next 18 months, there will be more ACTIVE cellpones in Uruguay than people.  All the mainstream models are here from Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, etc.  There are Chinese brands here you’ve never seen back home.  Blackberry finally got here last year.  Oveall coverage is excellent in urban areas with Antel.  Movistar is not as good.  CTI is not as good as Movistar.  Rates are not competitive here.  If you’re a power user, be prepared to pay a lot more here than in the US. 
  • Furniture.   Besides the regular stuff we’re familiar with like sofas, kitchen sets and beds, bunk beds are unusually popular here and something else I rarely saw up north, Placares.  Bedrooms in Uruguay are usually much smaller than up north.  It’s unusual to find enough space for dressers in many important bedrooms.  Closets often have shelves and drawers for that purpose.  But many bedrooms dont have a closet, so you use a ‘placard’ instead.   Interestingly enough, I couldn’t find a meaningful definition of the word placard or placares in online Spanish dictionaries.  We bought one and put it in the basement to hang winter clothes and my wife’s long dresses. 

placares.jpg Placares examples

  • Windows, roofs, paint, garage door openers, electric fences, etc. are also found in the ‘El Oferton’.  The many kinds of roofs are represented every week.  A lot more homes in Carrasco are putting in electric fences.  I have never seen one in Pocitos, not yet anyway. 
  • Prices…  for those of you interested in random prices for random things, I have cast my finger over the El Oferto and come up with the following.. in no particular order or organization…  plaster mouldings 70x48mm, $100 per meter.  fluorescent lighting assembly  for drop ceiling $189/sq.m., chainsaw USD119.  powerwash, 2hp, USD75.  potbelly stove USD150, tires 165/70/13-USD50, 175/70/13-USD53, 195/75/15-USD112, waterproof paint (for concrete roof), $1250/20kg.  utility trailer to pull behind car, 1.12x172x.5-USD695, burglar bars-$565/sq.m, alarm system-free + $488/mo+IVA, espresso machine-USD179, regular coffeemaker USD35, a complete bathroom with sink, toilet and of course, bidet-USD300, waterproof membrane for roof-USD4.50/sq.m, office chair with gas cylinder-USD50, pool heater-USD740, 29″ colour TV-USD258, universal gym-USD242, 100cc motorcycle-USD565, microwave-USD68, kitcen faucet-$590, wood oven for bakery-USD660 (does 160 baguettes on 6kg of wood), 1hp pump-$1900, standalone metal fireplace-$18,200; car battery 12v-70A-$950, commercial pool table USD2000, brake job (discs) $740, oil 20lts-$1850, wood kitchen set with 6 chairs-USD275, panic room door (metal) with 3 way locks-USD315, orthodontic braces (robomouth) USD500 plus USD45/mo until treatment finished, regular filling USD15, (that would scare the hell out of my old dentist), xerox 3117 printer-USD136, PAPER DEHUMIDIFIER-no price given, spray paint can and gun-USD19.90, socks-$4, watches-$19 (pesos), girls shoes-$80, dvd players-USD59, refrigerator-USD419, electric sheets-$792,
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10 Responses to “What’s hot in Montevideo II”

  1. Brazzie said

    Great info, I’ll bookmark this post for future reference.

    By the way, we have been sleeping on a foam mattress for years and prefer it over spring ones. Cheaper, lighter, more comfortable, easier to flip over – hard to beat.

    The last item in your list, electric sheets (not blankets), reminds me of my childhood. For some reason, central heating is extremely rare in southern Brazil (even though it can be as cold as in MVD). Electric sheets made going to bed a pleasure. Hmm, toasty 🙂

  2. urufish said

    That may be a subject in itself. In my youth I remember electric heating blankets. Many years later, when my wife wanted to buy one in Toronto for her monther (back in Uruguay), I found electric mattress pads and thought they made a whole lot more sense because heat rises.
    Dont know about now, but when I tried it first, I could feel the wires for a few minutes and then the body ignores them.
    I think she still uses it to this day. Now, they’re avaiable here in Uruguay. I hear they’re as cheap as $350 pesos.
    I cant imagine any Canadian ever thinking any place in Brazil needs a heating blanket or pad, including me. Even though I live here and common sense tells me if it’s 1 degree here at night, it couldn’t be that much warmer a couple of hundred miles north of here.

  3. Futurexpat said

    I’m 6’5″ tall, and have been told by Uruguayans that I’m practically a giant by that country’s standards. Does anybody know if a Queen sized mattress purchased in Uruguay would be as long as one purchased in the USA? I can’t sleep if my feet are hanging over the end 🙂

  4. urufish said

    Independant confirmation… you are a giant here.

    I just measured the king we brought from Canada. I get 2.10 on my tape. Is that what your queen is now?

    We bought a queen here last year. I’ll measure it for you tomorrow and let you know.

  5. Futurexpat said

    Urufish: Many thanks for your effort! Based on your measurement of 2.1, I believe I would fit. Please note that I am a gentle giant! 🙂

  6. urufish said

    The 2.1 is from the king I brought from Toronto. Tomorrow, I’ll measure the queen from Uruguay. Hopefully, it’s 2.1 also..

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