Learning Uruguay

Every day brings ????

Mobile Internet in Uruguay

Posted by urufish on February 28, 2008

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For the past several months, I’ve noticed an article here and there on the new mobile internet services being offered in Uruguay.  Movistar and CTI both offer this service. 

Mobile internet is a 3rd way of getting internet service in Uruguay.  The first provider in Uruguay was Antel with dialup.  Then it introduced ADSL.  Dedicado opened up shop with point to point microwave internet.  Antel’s ADSL service works through a telephone line.  Dedicado uses point-to-point microwave.  You get a small antenna which is pointed at their antennas.  Mobile internet is also wireless, but you dont need an antenna pointed at theirs.  You just need a small USB device.  It can be a plug in, like a jump drive or it can be a small remote USB modem.   Both are shown below.

globesurfer.jpg   e226.jpg

The differences between CTI and Movistar as of today are several.  Let’s start with the way they promote it.  Movistar advertises it on their website.  CTI doesn’t.  Pricing is considerably different.  CTI launched the service at almost USD50 per month.  It’s now down to USD25.  Movistar is about the same, but not for the same service.  CTI offers unlimited use for that USD25 per month.  Movistar limits you to 10gb for USD25. 

Coverage is also different.  Whereas CTI supposedly claims coverage across the country, Movistar is a little more conservative, showing coverage in most of Montevideo, Colonia and Maldonado (Punta del Este).  If you go to CTI and look at their written promotion, it says the service is available in Montevideo, Zona America (I assume that’s Zonamerica-Canelones), Atlantida, Piriapolis, Jose Ignacio, Punta Del Este, Maldonado, Shangrilah and Solymar.  It says that more site are coming.  

The obvious advantage of mobile internet over fixed internet (as in cable, telephone line, microwave) is that you can take it with you, assuming that there is service where you’re going.  Not everyone needs this but for those that do, this is the answer to your mobile needs.  Not only can you take CTI with you here in Uruguay to Punta or up to Colonia, you can take it with you to Argentina, (eg. Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Cordoba, etc.) and to Brazil (Sao Paolo, Rio, Florianopolis, etc.) and Paraguay, (Ascunsion, etc.).  No roaming charges.  If Movistar lets you do this too, you can add Chile to the list. 

We went out tonight and purchased service from CTI.  Movistar was out because our summer house is atop San Antonio in Piria.  That’s the main reason we bought the service–so we could have internet in Piriapolis.  

I was somewhat prepared for CTI because of Wilbur’s (jajaja) post on totaluruguay.com, but like they say, you’re never fully prepared for anything in Uruguay.  We went to CTI’s Punta Carretas branch around 7:45pm.  There was no line.  We were served within a few minutes.  Before we could ask any questions, the girl went through a list of things we should know.  The service was up to 2mb but there was no guarantee what we’d get.  If you use it inside, the speed is usually slower than outside.  You had to take a contract for 2 years.  Your first month is free.  You had to pay for the modem–$1799 (pesos).  Then we got to ask our first question, ‘Is there service in Piriapolis’.  That caused a delay as our salesgirl asked her boss who went inside and asked someone else.  After 5-6 minutes we were told that ‘it says it works in Piriapolis’  That didn’t warm my heart but considering there was no alternative, I accepted that at face value.

We then asked what the return policy was if it didn’t work in Piriapolis.  We were told we had 5 days to return the product for full refund.  There was one catch though.  If we connected to the internet, that meant that we accepted that it worked and there would be no return possible.  I explained that if we connected to the internet for a few seconds, then it went away and then it came back and this went on, that wouldn’t constitute a reasonable service.  That was answered with a blank stare.  So I said, well what if the service is so poor, that we get a very poor connection speed.  The supervisor said it wont connect under 256kbps.   Impasse. 

After a minute of indecision, we decided I knew enough to stay out of trouble so we said OK, we’ll take it.  That’s when she asked for a cedula and a phone, water, electricity bill.  Uh oh.  It’s been so long since I dealt with a new vendor, I forgot that you need to show that you actually have a contract with any company in Uruguay.  You could show them your Black American Express card and they’d still refuse to service you unless you show them an Antel, OSE, UTE or Montevideo Gas bill.  I went home to get one while my wife looked around. 

When I got back, there was a bit of a line, so we had to wait 10 minutes to see the girl who originally served us.  She smiled and took the Antel bill.  Then she printed out a 5 or 6 page document which my wife dutifully signed.  While she was doing that, I got a chance to read the posters in the store.  I guess I was bored because I read the fine print on the bottom of the mobile internet poster.  And that’s where I saw the published coverage.  There was Piriapolis… I was happy. 

After we signed all the forms, they asked us how we intended to pay.  As soon as my wife said ‘by credit card’ the girl said ‘it cant be an international card’.  This goes back to Wilbur’s post when he got frustrated, tore up his contract and walked out.  We were OK because we use our local credit card for small stuff in Uruguay.  When we told the girl we had a ‘national’ credit card, she was genuinely relieved.  I guess after hearing my wife and myself talking in English, she feared the worse. 

She gave us all the forms and we went upstairs to the cashier who stamped everything.  We went back downstairs and picked up the modem. 

When we came home, I opened up the box, took out the modem and looked at the manual.  One of the very few I’ve seen in Uruguay that come from China that aren’t in English.  Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem but there was a description of how to read the lights and another question in my mind about the cable.  I always resort to English when a misunderstanding could cause damage.  Checked on the internet for the manual in English.  The model we had, the E226 wasn’t there but the E220 was.  I figured that was good enough.  It was. 

The question I had with the cable was that it had 3 ends.  One for the device and what looked like 2 USB connections for the computer.  At first thought I figured it was to share another device if you only have one USB port on your computer.  But, believe it or not, it isn’t.  This device actually needs two USB ports on your computer.  One for data and one for power.  Maybe I’ve been away from the hardware side of the business too long but in all my years in IT,  I never saw a device that needed 2 connections to work. 

A device that requires 2 ports presents a dilemna for my wife.  She uses a Dell miniature laptop which has only one port.  I will have to give her my full size dell notebook to use in Piria.  It has 2 ports.  Or maybe I’ll purchase an external USB hub with a power supply.  Decisions.  Decisions.  Decisions. 

As of now, the chip is in the modem and it’s ready to go to Piria tomorrow evening.  I will have to bring my box of electronics with me in case I need to modify or fix something to overcome a glitch.  I’d do it here, but if I connect to the internet tonight, I cant return it if it doesn’t connect tomorrow.  This is typical of the kind of annoying problems you face in Uruguay that are unheard of (for at least the last 50 years) in North America. 

On Monday, I’ll write about the 2nd half of this project… Getting it to work. 

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Posted in Technology | 8 Comments »

Shopping can be exciting

Posted by urufish on February 18, 2008

hiperpiria.jpg  Devoto Piria – scene of the ‘almost’ crime 

Note:  If you have no patience and want to get to the ‘exciting’ part right away – go to the 2nd last paragraph now.   

This was the first weekend of the year that we were able to get away for most of the weekend.  A family friend dropped by from BA on Friday so we took to the opportunity to go to Piria for Sat/Sun.

We left on Saturday morning for Piriapolis.  The traffic was light.  We only had to go back once because we forgot something.  When we arrived, everything looked beautiful.  A local friend volunteered to drive to the house every night and water the lawn and plants.  They really looked spectacular.  The best part was the new pool.  Last time we were there, it looked like Arrancopelito’s in the beginning–pea soup.  No matter how much chlorine I put in it, it was still green.  But like her pool, ours is now clear because she gave us her pool guy.  Yes, he really does a great job.  We could see the pattern in the floor clearly for the first time.  

That afternoon, we drove around quite a bit, showing our friend all the changes (she was born and lived here before she married and moved to BA).  We drove out towards Arrancopelito’s house, passing by Punta Fria, Punta Colorada and Punta Negra. Lots and lots of new houses…  Punta Colorada is fast becoming a very nice seaside resort. 

Everywhere we looked we saw signs for beachfront lots for sale.  Hopefully, a lot of people buy them and when we go next year, it will look even more fantastic.  I like the way the sand dunes move onto the road and everyone is zigging and zagging to stay out of them.  It’s great when the guy coming towards you is zigging when you are.  Always liked to play chicken.  My wife didn’t care much for it though.. You guys know how women get when we play these games 🙂

When we were almost at Arrancopelito’s place, we turned and drove onto to the beach.  We had Mordy, the dobie with us.  We wanted to let him run free–and run he did!!!  He just took off and ran from one end of the horizon to the other, almost knocking me over a few times.  This beach could aptly be called a ‘wild’ beach because it’s completely empty in both directions.  No wonder she likes this place.  We hung around there for a half hour or so.  Then headed back home.  Dropped the dog off on the balcony to guard the ‘casa’ and we went to the big Devoto in town.

We parked across the street because the lot was full (as often is this time of the year).  I thought the place was full but not quite.  The meat and cold cuts and dairy sections were jammed, but the boxed and canned food section was nearly empty.  That was unfortunate for my poor wife.  Like most American husbands, I headed for the part of the store that interested me while she did the boring stuff.. like buying food. I spent some time in the beer, wine and liquor section and then I moved to electrical, plumbing and finally, briefly, the AV section. After about a half hour, I went looking for her. 

I found her in the soups section. BTW, soups here are not what we think of back home.  I haven’t seen a can of soup since I got here.  I’m talking about vacuum sealed pouches soup section.  Anyway, when I came up to her, she was red in the face and looked ill.  Before I could ask what happened, she said something about smelling ether really strong and it made her sick to her stomach.  She said some guy walked past her or was near her and that he smelled really bad, like ether.  Now she had a horrifible headache.  Our friend was there and she said she smelled it too but by time she caught up to my wife, it wasn’t very strong.  I took her out front and sat her down and she was saying her ears felt like they were going to explode and she had this horrible headache and she was pissed.  We thought nothing of it until this afternoon, when her brother came to visit and she told him the story. 

He asked her to describe the guy and what he was doing when she smelled the ether.  She said he had some kind of pouch and he was putting something into it when the smell hit her.  Turns out this is a method used by the ‘bad guy’s to steal from people on the street and most recently, in supermarkets.  They carry ether in a spray can.  They spray it near someone like my wife.  The reason he chose her is that no one was on that aisle and she had her purse on the cart.  If her friend hadn’t come around the corner when she did, he would have taken the purse and gone.  Apparently, a lot of them use this technique but spray something in your eyes–which blinds you temporarily (not seriously), but you still end up losing your purse or whatever it was the thief wanted. 

The story ended well.  She woke up this morning without a headache.. And of course, thanks to our friend, with her purse intact.

Posted in Daily life, Shopping | 2 Comments »

It’s summer

Posted by urufish on February 14, 2008

Today I thought it would  be good to put up a few pictures now that our grass has taken root.

pa150003-medium.jpg  Looking out the front of the house, notice our frequent police guy. 

pa150002-medium.jpg Looking up the side of the house to the fountain which we put back together again after the robbers were unscuessful at removing it this past winter.

pa150001-medium.jpg  Looking out the side of the house from the bedroom.  There’s our friendly dumpster. 

Posted in Daily life, Real Estate | 2 Comments »

The sound of horse hooves

Posted by urufish on January 17, 2008

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Having a little trouble getting time to write in the blog lately….  Am trying a new approach… short, pointed posts…

At 8am this morning I awoke to the sound of the Toronto phone ringing.  Being that I work on Toronto time, I dont get up until 8:30 (5:30am Toronto).  It was a nurse calling from the hospital where my mother has been for the past month.  She said they’re moving her back to ICU.  I told them I’d call back later and speak with her doctor.

It was 25 degrees at 8am.  I opened the windows to get some cool air in and took a quick shower.  While dressing I heard the distinctive sound of hooves on pavement.  One of the many recycle guys, (the guys who jump into the dumpsters and remove things of value), was visiting the one on our corner.   

If someone had told me I’d hear the sounds of horses’ hooves while sitting in my bedroom, I would never have believed them.  Welcome to the life of living in a house in Pocitos. 

Posted in Attitudes, Daily life | 4 Comments »

Much ado about nothing

Posted by urufish on January 3, 2008

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For the first time in my life, someone gave me a planner.   Maybe it’s a hint 🙂   I’ve never used one before but I understand the principle behind them.  Nowadays, many schools sell these types of books to students (fundraising) and lots of my friends have used them for years.  My daughter was addicted to hers while in highschool in Toronto.  So today I opened mine up and after making a couple of entries for tomorrow, I decided to thumb through the beginning of the book.  There’s a ton of information there about Uruguay.  I decided to share some of it here.  If you’re into trivia, you may find this interesting. 

There’s a cryptic entry on the very first page…  ‘Remember Luxux Hard’   I wonder if that has a hidden meaning? 

The first few pages have entries for all sorts of good things… specifically Uruguayan I believe.. like both numbers for your hospital insurer and your emergency response insurer and places for your account number.  They’ve got a whole section for professionales.  Your lawyer, doctor, accountant, architect, dentist, escribano and very Pocitish… your veterinarian and chiropractor. 

For home maintenance, (a large % of Uruguayans own their own homes/apartments), at the top of the list is of course the albanil (the guy who works with blocks, plaster, cement, etc.. you get the idea), followed by carpenter, lock guy, electrician, iron guy (lots of iron bars here), gardener, painter, plumber and of of course, the TV technician. 

Under recreational, they of course have your local barkeep’s number, gym club, auto mechanic, hairdresser, both your preferred taxi AND limo driver and for those of us who remember what it ‘was’ like to have teeth, our acompanante. 

There’s a half page devoted to calendars with all the holidays for Uruguay, Venezuela, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Chile.  The Uruguayan exodus of the 60’s although worldwide in scope, had a lot of people stay on the continent.  In addition, there are the US holidays and believe it or not, Israeli holidays. 

 I found the population figures very interesting.  I knew the country was around 3mil (about half of the metro city area I come from) and I knew Montevideo was about 40% of that (at 1.3mil).  I didn’t know the number of homes–1.3mil countrywide.  456K in Montevideo.  The book’s census figures drilled into that even deeper. 

I found out that where I live, (Pocitos), is the biggest neighbourhood in Montevideo with 70K people and 30K homes.  Carrasco, the upscale, closest to American suburbia neighbourhood in Montevideo ranks as smallest with 16K people and 4.6k homes.  

Some other interesting numbers.   Some expats live in Colonia Valdense.  No wonder you dont lock your doors.  You’ve got 3000 neighbours living in 1000 homes.  If there was a bad egg, I guess everyone would know who he was 🙂    The number 2 province/state in Uruguay is Canelones.  It’s got nearly a half million people.  Many of them commute to Montevideo to work.  We have a house there but I cant find our town of Salinas on the census.  I guess we’re too small. 

Punta del Este checks in with 7300 full timers in 2943 homes, just a hair behind Piriapolis at 7900 and 2800 homes.  We have more people but they have more money 🙂   The town of Maldonado makes a strong showing with 54K people and 18K houses.  Someone has to cut the grass and service all those vacant houses during the off season plus be ready to cater to the hordes of tourists in the summer.  Sorry to my other friends.  You’re in my Salinas boat.  Punta del Diablo didn’t score but La Paloma did sneak in there with 3200 people living in 1100 homes.  My wife’s birthplace (Castillos) came in with 7600 people and almost 3000 houses… I guess those folks like their space. 

 Under banks, the international community is well represented.  Foreign banks total 12.  Big names like ABN Amro, BBVA, Itau, Citibank, Discount, HSBC, Lloyds and Leumi are all here servicing both Uruguayans and itinerant Argentinos. 

The section on government offices is of course, very large.  Uruguayans love working for the government.  Most of the world’s countries are represented in Montvideo with official diplomatic missions.  Some of the more obscure are Albania, Angola, Libya, etc.  Heck, even Malta has a mission here.. Go Mary go.  They also list all the Urugayan embassies abroad.  My favourite is of course, Canada’s.  But they dont show the consulates so I dont get to see my most favourite, Toronto’s. 

There’s an outstanding graph that follows the peso vs. the USD.  We’ll know when the USD has really tanked when they change this graph to the peso vs. the Euro. But for now, it’s still the USD.  I like the graph a lot because it start in 1977… just a few years before I started coming here.  So it’s my history I’m seeing.  One day I’ll study it to see how much I really remember and how much I made up.   🙂

 There’s anothe graph on what they call the Unidad Readjustable.  I think its supposed to represent an inflation index.  But the way governments manipulate this data, not sure how accurate it will be.  For instance, the adjusted rate of inflation for 06/07 was 8.25–which strangley enough, does sound right.  One day, I’ll get this out with one of my accountants here and he’ll explain it to me. 

The graph tracking the national interest rate in pesos is scary.  It’s been pretty good for the past 3 years but before that, during the crisis of early 2000’s, comercial paper ran from 40% to 120% at the peak. 

Foreign income is mostly associated with animal and plant exports with cattle leading the way.   If anything were to happen to the beef industry, like a boycot due to something like Mad Cow syndrome, the shock to the country would be unimagineable.  Uruguay, like many countries in the world, has been running a balance of trade deficit for many years. 

Unlike the USA and very much like Canada, Uruguay looks outward – on a global scale.  You can see it in the agenda as well as on the street.  Holidays, distances, populations, economic data from all over the world is represented in a personal agenda. 

Posted in Daily life, Information | 5 Comments »

Holiday Season

Posted by urufish on January 2, 2008

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For the 24th or 25th year in a row, we celebrated Christmas in Maldonado with my in-laws, the San Martin’s and New Years, on top of San Antonio in our place.

As we get older, kids grow up and some even move away… at least to Montevideo…  So this year’s Christmas gathering was a little smaller than last year’s, which was a little smaller than the year before.  When the weather’s hot and there’s no chance of rain, we have Christmas dinner outside.  This year we were worried a bit about rain, so we held it in the garage.  Urugayans are very creative.  My inlaws dont have big tables, so they take doors off their hinges and use them for table tops.  Not sure what’s holding them up.  My brother-in-law is a carpenter.  Could be he made boxhorses years ago he still uses. 

The garage is my nephew’s (his son’s) automotive shop.  So the walls are decorated with SnapOn tools.  The dinner was great, as always. 

We plan dinner to end around midnight and that’s when everyone pulls out their fireworks and light them off for 10-15 minutes.  My nephews have never outgrown their childhood.  They still prefer those ultra loud bangers.  Wouldn’t be that much of a problem up north, but here, everything’s close together and it’s all concrete block.  My ears hurt until 12:30am.  This year we couldn’t even find the family dog.  He took off and hid around 23:30. 

After the fireworks, we open the presents.  Uruguay is odd that way.  We open presents after the fireworks.  Everyone gets presents.  Even the kids.  I say even because the serious day for presents for children isn’t Christmas.  It’s Kings Day.  January the 6th.  So if you celebrate Christmas and come to Uruguay, keep those two differences in mind. 

After the presents were opened, Delia and I drove to Piriapolis for the night.  We didn’t want to drive all the way back to Montevideo.  We’ve used the house so rarely this year, it’s a treat for us to sleep over. 

When we got to the house, we got to use our new automatic gates and garage opener.  The front door has been changed.   There’s an alcove there now and you cant see the door itself until you get out of the car and leave the garage.  When we got to the door, we got the surprise of our lives.  There was a big, black dog lying there.  Good thing he was a friendly dog.   Scared the hell out of us.  

Earlier in the day, we’d stopped off in Piriapolis on the way to Maldonado and left our dog upstairs on the balcony.  He didn’t seem to be upset at all that this dog was there.  Figured that meant the dog was a she – not a he.  Anyway, the dog wanted to stay and we wanted ‘her’ to go.  So we opened the back of the car and she jumped inside for a ride down the mountain.  We went to the port and opened the back of the station wagon up and she jumped out.  We drove back to the house, unloaded our car and as we were about to enter the house, the dog was back… panting like mad.    We think it ran all the way up the mountain. 

So we tried to get her back into the car to take her further away but she clearly figured out what were up to and didn’t cooperate this time.  But we kept trying and finally, she jumped in for the ride and off we went.  We debated which direction to take her in… Should it be towards Arrancopelito’s place (Puerto Suelo) or Pan D’Azucar.  Pan D’Acuar won out and off we went.  We dropped her off just outside San Carlos.  When we opened the back door up, she refused to get out.   So I went into the driver’s seat while my wife coaxed her out the back.  As she stood there, refusing to leave, I pressed the gas and out she went.   I slowed down so my wife could get in but the dog came after the back door so I had to go up the street, close the door, turn around and come back for Delia.  We got back to the house and waited a half hour.  No dog.  Whew…. 

When we woke up the next morning, there was no dog.    Hopefully, she made some nice friends in San Carlos. 

We drove back to Montevideo and I worked the rest of the week and prepared for New Years eve which was to be at our house. 

New Years eve….

After shopping to provision the house for the season, we left for Piriapolis around 4pm.  We had our nephew purchase 2 piglets for the main course and you have to start roasting them about 6 hours before dinner.  We arranged for him to get the house around 5pm and start the parilla.  Unfortunately, he didn’t have any money so he couldn’t buy the wood.  We ended up buying it after we got there so the piggies started roasting a bit late. 

Around 9pm, I took my daughter down to the town to buy some stuff and fireworks.  Unfortunately, everything closed at 9pm this year so we could only buy fireworks.  About 100 bucks later, we were on our way up to the house again. 

When we got there, guess who was in the back of the house?  Yup.. the black dog.  My wife speculates that when she hears fireworks, she comes to our place.   Yah.. I couldn’t figure that out either.. but that’s what she says and my wife’s like Dr Doolittle…   I dont question her communication skills with animals. 

The dog had thick, matted black fur and I didn’t know what she was carrying around with her but I didn’t like the idea of her hanging around the parilla.  So I strung a long run of galvanized wire between two trees in the backyard and put a choke on her and let her slide back and forth up there all night.  We brought her food and water so she got to watch everything, comfortably, but from a distance.  Our dog didn’t seem to mind her presence there at all.   When we went to sleep, I took her off the choke and she went to sleep at the front door.  When we got up in the morning she was gone.  Mystery dog. 

The pool was working great and my nephews got to swim for several hours.  Later that evening, a friend of my nephew dropped by.  He’s the chief of the highway patrol for Maldonado and probably Rocha.  Guess what he says to me when he sees me?  ‘Driver license and registation please’..  in nearly perfect English.  It seems the only English he knows 🙂   When he was leaving, my nephew and him got into a little bit of wrestling–a little too close to the pool–and both fell in.   

 After dinner, we shot off all those fireworks…   If you ever get a chance to come to the top of San Antonio at Christmas or New Years, it’s a great place to watch fireworks.  You can see everything on all the beaches towards Montevideo.  If you go to the backside of San Antonio, you can see all the fireworks along all the beach towns up to and including Punta.  Great view!  Some people even drive up to the top of San Antonio and set off their own fireworks. 

This New Years eve, everyone went home about 2am.   On New Year’s day, we got up late and I did a bunch of handiwork around the house to finish it up for the season.  Didn’t see any Tarantulas.  I guess they were still hiding from the fireworks the night before. 

As bad as you’d think the traffic should be coming back from a 4 day weekend, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it used to be driving south to Toronto all those summers we lived there. 

Posted in Attitudes, Daily life, Fiestas | 1 Comment »

House for Rent in Piriapolis (2 of 2)

Posted by urufish on December 20, 2007

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Summer’s is here and our friend Cristina asked us to post her 2nd house for rent on this site.  Here it is in pictures.  It’s pretty, clean and closer to San Antonio than the other house, which is closer to the bus terminal. 

pic_0002-medium.jpg  pic_0004-medium.jpg pic_0006-medium.jpg pic_0025-medium.jpg pic_0029-medium.jpg pic_0034-medium.jpg

Posted in Real Estate, Rentals | 5 Comments »

Channukah in Pocitos

Posted by urufish on December 6, 2007

menorah-in-trouville-park-wide-shot.jpg

I took this picture of the park in front of our Rambla apartment this morning.  The name of the park is Punta Trouville park, but the local Jewish population sometimes calls it parque de los judios (park of the jews).  I’m not sure if that’s because a good portion of Montevideo’s Jewish population lives in this general area or because the city encouraged the display of the menorah during the Festival of Lights…  Hannukah. 

Speaking of the Festival of Lights, here’s a picture I copied from David’s blogsite http://www.uruguayliving.com/, from his post on Piriapolis vs. Noche de las Luces. 

festival-of-the-lights.jpg

I remember seeing the menorah last year.  I was out on the balcony one evening and I noticed several lights going.  A light (candle) is lit each night starting with the beginning of the festival.  It’s brought out about a week before the festival starts and is removed shortly after it ends. 

Uruguay is sometimes described as a country that is overwhelmingly catholic at birth.  Another way of putting this is that the vast, vast majority of people are catholic – non practicing.  This clearly translates itself into a country that is overwhelmingly tolerant of others’ beliefs and faiths.  This is a perfect example. 

Posted in Attitudes, Daily life, Fiestas | 2 Comments »

Motorcycles and Montevideo

Posted by urufish on December 3, 2007

winnermoto.jpg  The new Winner $450 moto from Motociclo

The title is a bit misleading.  It should read 2 wheeled motorized vehicles and Uruguay but it’s not as snappy. 

Since I started reading blogs about Uruguay (and writing in my own), there have been many motorcycle stories.  Southron.net has tons of discussions on the subject.  The long and the short of it is that most of us agree that driving motos around here is a high risk activity. 

I think I’m up to 5 fatalities now, (and several PI’s).   That includes one in Piriapolis last year but does not include my wife’s run in with a moto a few years back because that was before we moved here permanently. 

If I include the years when we just vacationed here, there are 2 of my own, (I still cant scratch my back with my right hand), and at least a dozen to the credit of close friends and family.  Fortunately, none off them were fatal… but close.. oh yes.. 

Anyway, I thougtht I’d seen it all.  Crashes at intersections, crashes into walls, culverts, other stationary cars, buses, even one police car.  But Sunday morning’s was definitely the best so far.   Our ‘handy-man’ and friend Leo was coming to our house on Sunday morning to drive with us to Piriapolis where he was going to wash the walls with chloric acid (removes the algae that accumulates on the white walls in the winter).  Around 8:15am, we got a text message from Leo.   He said he’d been in an accident with a horse and he was waiting in emergency.  He’d let us know later on. 

Leo lives in Montevideo as do we.  The idea of him driving into a horse at 8:00 am on a Sunday in Montevideo was so bizarre, but Leo doesn’t exaggerate…  So we drove out to Piria, (and met Steve and his other half Chris), met the family and did some chores.  On the way home, Leo sent us a more detailed text message.  Turns out he was driving along a street and as he was going by a horse-cart, the horse decides to turn to the left–into him.  He says he separated his shoulder but he should be good as new in a couple of days.

So when someone tells you that Montevideo is not a safe place to drive motorcycles, they aren’t kidding.  Even the horses pull in front of motos. 

Posted in Driving | 4 Comments »

Antel has online bill payment (sort of)

Posted by urufish on December 3, 2007

 antel.jpg

Today, I was doing my December budget when I noticed that my daughter’s phone bill never showed up in November.   Up until this month, Antel held the distinction of being the only utility that always mails invoices, more or less on time.  So now we have a clean sweep.   All the utilities are into the 10% multa scam. 

 I decided to go on line and print the invoice… http://www.antel.com.uy/portal/hgxpp001.aspx?2,358,539,O,S,0,MNU;E;278;1;MNU;,

While there, I noticed that Antel has added the ability to pay on line if you have a major credit card.  Oh good.  So I clicked on the link…  http://www.antel.com.uy/portal/hgxpp001.aspx?2,358,539,O,S,0

At this point, you enter your account number (cuente), you click the link and unfortunately, that’s the end of the journey.  If it does work, I dont have enough hours in the day to wait for the link…

I’ll try it again next month.  It could be working by then.  In the meantime, I printed the bill and will take it to the Abitab around the corner later today. 

Posted in Banking, Daily life, Technology | 4 Comments »