Learning Uruguay

Every day brings ????

We’re home

Posted by urufish on August 18, 2007


Immediately after writing the title for this post, I thought about what I’d said.  Is this really home… or were we just home?  They say the first thing that comes into your mind is the real truth.. so that means Uruguay really is home to us now.  Of course, it would have been a nicer homecoming if it was 30+ degrees outside, but we’ll wait. 

The trip back was the longest one yet.  The previous record was many, many years ago when we would route through NYC.  In total, just under 30 hours…  But it felt longer because we left just before midnight… and we’d been up since 8am Thursday morning.  Didn’t get much sleep on the plane either.  Unfortunately for me, every movie in the Hollywood section was one I wanted to see.  Too bad I’d left half of one movie to the Santiago-BA leg.  Even though there’s enough airtime, they dont turn them on til almost 30 minutes into the flight and they turn them off about 20 minutes before we land.  So I dont know how it ends.  Guess we have to buy the DVD.  Darn…

Buqeubus was so much fun this time.  We had way too much luggage to lug to Aeroparque and we didn’t see a connection option for us in EZE.  So did what we usually do, we booked the Buqeubus.  This was the first time we booked on line and it will be the last.  When I booked, we were supposed to leave Wednesday, boat over on Thusday.  But a day after we made the reservation, our agent said we would leave Thursday.  I went to change the reservation from Toronto, but you cant do that without the confirming email.  It’s supposed to come within 48 hours..   It’s been about a week.  We’re still waiting.  After several days waiting for the email that will never come, we got panicky and had friends here in Montevideo go to Buquebus and change the reservation. 

Buquebus said they never heard of us.  Not quite unexpected.. but the 2nd part was worse.  This was a long weekend.  The buquebus we wanted to change our reservation to had filled a couple of days before.  We would have to take one that they added at 8:30pm.  Told our friends to take it and we’d fight with Buquebus when we got into BA. 

We arrived at the port in BA around 4pm and fought with them for an hour.  They insisted we weren’t reserved but we told them that would be odd because Buqeubus had already charged our VISA card the day after the non-existant reservation was made.  Ahahah.. with the credit card number they were able to find it. 

That was followed by an apology but when we asked if they would put us on the 19:30 Buqebus they said no, there was no space.  We could take a credit or cash.  If we took cash, we would have to pay 30% penalty for missing the boat.  Missing the boat for which we never received a confirmation.  Ah well, this is Argentina/Uruguay where the customer is always wrong, even if he’s right..   So we took the credit and wished them well. 

The boat trip was eventful.  We have never ferried to Colonia before on the return trip from Canada.  We always took the boat directly to Montevideo.  This was a learning experience.  The water was rough.  The boat was small.  The guys in the duty free had to keep righting the perfume bottles as they tumbled whenever we hit a large wave, which averaged every minute or two. 

The water part is fast.  Around an hour.  The customs guys are more thorough than anywhere else I’ve been here.  They went through everything, 4 guys, 10 minutes..  That’s a lot of going through.  They found a circuit board that they gleefully passed around to each other.  I said sorry guys, this wasn’t military hardware.  The electrician who installed our dryer kind of made a mistake.  This was the board we already brought into Uruguay, brought back to Canada for repair.  After another few minutes of rummaging around, one of them discovered my ‘backup’ cellphone I bought in Toronto.  The chief guy had enough of this.  He told them to close me up and get out of there.  We obliged. 

The bus ride from Colonia to Montevideo was interesting.  The driver appeared awake.  The traffic was light.  The only thing that bothered me was the idiot in the 2nd seat, who kept taking flash pictures of the road through the driver’s window.  I guess he kept taking them because he wasn’t getting enough light on the road from the flash, through the windshield, to make a good picture.  If i was the driver, I would have smashed his camera.  But our driver was polite and just smiled. 

When we got out at Tres Cruces, the weather was a little brisk.  I have taken to wearing shorts and shoes without socks the past couple of weeks.  I gave in on the short, but still cling to sockfree shoeing.  I have discovered you dont need socks to keep your feet warm…  I’ve been fine all day. 

When we got home, we noticed the fountain in the front of our house was somewhat different.  Some dingaling actually tried to steal it a few days ago.  I guess he didn’t realize a) it was very, very heavy and b) it was cemented to the ground.  He managed to get the top off but couldn’t quite figure out how to get it over the fence.  I guess he hadn’t considered he’d weight 2-3 times more on the way back.  So he left it there on the front lawn.  One of our friends took it inside which is where it remains until the weather warms up a bit. 

I wonder what new and exciting adventures this coming week will bring? 


2 Responses to “We’re home”

  1. dsc said

    A bunch of thoughts..

    1.) Hope you had a nice visit with friends and family back in Canada. That you identified UY as home now must meant you went through “reverse culture shock”. It’s kind of funny — I was just reading about this elsewhere before I read your post..

    2.) Guess I won’t be booking the Buquebus online to & from BA. Glad I read this post. Might have saved me a bunch of hassle. On the other hand, I planned on leaving on a weekday to MVD on purpose to avoid any rush on the service. I leave for home from EZE on a Saturday, but I already planned on leaving a day before from MVD (lest I encounter any BS). Glad to see I was correct in my thinking.

    3.) Seems like there is lots of home break-ins in MVD. It’s a little disconcerting. Can’t say it especially warms me up to UY as a potential spot to expat to, quite frankly. Sure you can take certain steps to safekeep your most valued items, but geesh…

  2. Anonymous said

    I dont think it’s ‘home’ enough to do culture shock in Canada… but I did have a few ‘touristy’ feelings…

    Buquebus is fine when you book in person. We always have–either through friends or via phone call. This was the first time we went 100% online. Another board member booked around the same day we did. He hasn’t received his email either. I dont think they pay much attention to their web business.

    Break and enter is the main crime here for ex-pats. Having 20+ years in electronic security and dealing with 2 B&E’s on average per day, gives one a different viewpoint about these things. So I’m not particularly concerned by it.

    As a tourist in a decent hotel, you dont have any more to worry about than back home. Odds are low. As an ex-pat, it would depend on where you live, physical security, electronic security and the steps you take to protect important things.

    We didnt worry much about the front of the house. Our table/chairs are chained to concrete and the fountain (as you can see), is not particularly easy to remove. Even if was removed, it isn’t costly to replace. When we go away, small valuables are put somewhere safe. Larger items (like flat screen TV’s and electronic games) are moved to a more secure area of the house. B&E is all about randomness… if it’s your time, it’s your time. But you can do a lot to make it someone else’s time.

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