March 16, 2006
Well, now I'm really annoyed! It is becoming increasingly hard to remain skeptical when everything is working properly. Both ADSL lines are working (all we did to the first line was reposition the wireless router); the housekeeper has been coming in on time and doing a good job (at $2.10/hour inclusive), and we've been able to buy everything we need locally.
On top of that McDonalds delivers, as do the local mom & pop food shops. They seem to have a fleet of kids on motorbikes; and delivery usually takes no more than 10-15 minutes. We even got my big wheelchair refurbished locally--it needed new rear wheels.( I can't imagine why.) It took 1 day and $190 including pickup and delivery.(That is a good price anywhere.) I even found an Orthodox Church in Montevideo - what am I going to have left to complain about on Sunday mornings.
March 20, 2006
This is supposed to be one of the countries in the Undeveloped World, or is it now part of the Less Developed World. Maybe the correct term now is the Development-Challenged World. Third World fell out of vogue when the Second World, the Soviet Empire, imploded. Anyway, everyone with good sense knows that there is nothing anyone has that is better or more convenient that in the US, right?
I hate shopping. In particular, though I love their consumption, I hate buying groceries.
I rate it somewhere alongside inviting the Jehovah's Witnesses in for an intellectual chat or going to a Mormon Coffee klatch, or a Baptist Oktoberfest (I guess I've insulted enough people for now). Long boring rows of things you don't want, don't need or don't even have any idea for what it could be used - that's grocery shopping. In Costa Rica, I went once, in Montenegro, never. I have been once here and that is enough.
Anyway, back to the point. One can shop online for groceries here and they will deliver them the next day! You can also check prices of various items. Right now the Yankee Dollar (U$S or USD) will buy 24.25 UY Pesos (UYU). Here are two links for grocery delivery for you to review.
Copperhead and I personally prefer the first one, Tienda Inglesas.
Gotta go now. Today we're buying rocks on which to beat the laundry in the stream out back...
March 31, 2006
I think it was about 02:30 this morning.
I heard multiple gunshots in the street. When I carefully peered out the front windows I saw either troops or paramilitary police in a large group lined up and down the street. There was a helicopter overhead with searchlights…
…and then I woke up. What a nightmare!
But living here has decidedly NOT been a nightmare. It keeps on being…dare I say it…normal. This has been our week for involvement with the government here at a couple of levels. Yesterday we paid the quarterly property tax bill. Since the landlord lives in Buenos Aires, our agreement is that we pay it and deduct it from the rent. The amount was staggering $2880 for 3 months. Don’t get too shocked, remember, here the $ means Uruguayan Pesos. In Yankee dollars it was only U$S120.00, a far more acceptable number.
Paying the bill was very simple. In the local business district is a privately operated bill paying shop, hardly more than a kiosk. Copperhead took the tax bill in, they scanned the barcode on it, took his money, gave him a receipt, and thanked him. Three minutes flat in and out the door. (In a certain Central American Republic, which shall remain nameless, but the initials of which are CR, that would have taken half the morning.) Today, we paid our corporate tax bill for our 1 year old Uruguay company.
That set us back a whopping U$S7.50 - we already had some extra money on deposit with the accountant, so that didn’t even take any more effort than sending and receiving emails.
Lastly, we come to the post office—the bane of most people’s existence in the “development challenged” (is it the 2nd, 3rd or 4th—I forget) world. I had ordered 4 books online from Amazon.com. They shipped them by post to me here. It took only 9 days from the US.
The postman left notices in the mailbox, which I signed. Copperhead took them to the local post office, presented the signed notices, showed them his passport, collected the boxes and came home.
No duty, no endless forms, just “gracias señor” and back into the street “immediamente”. (In that previously unnamed Central American Republic it took 4 hours and 4 trips between the customs office and FedEx to collect 2 used golf shirts: total duty-U$S2.00, total taxi fare-U$S75,00.
In that same country the post office simply refused and returned a package of winter clothes I had left behind in Serbia-Montenegro.)
Let me see, we dealt with property tax, corporate income tax and the post office in two days without even causing me to curse.
Gee, I miss America…
A note about Southron and Copperhead My choice of Southron as a pen name has come under considerable abuse.
Southron is NOT the combination of Southerner and Moron;
Southron is NOT a place;
Southron is NOT synonymous with Southerner;
Southron is NOT a word I made up.
Southron is the term the citizens of the Confederate States of America applied to themselves in contradistinction to Southerner.
Someone from Kentucky was a Southerner, but not a Southron. The antonym of Southron is, of course, damnyankee (I was 14 before I found out it was 2 words--now I'm not sure it really is). A Copperhead is a Northern born supporter of the Southron Cause. I have bestowed this honorific on my long-suffering business partner.
Southron is a philosophical and perhaps political statement, Southerner is geographically descriptive. I use the word Southron to describe myself because, like the Southrons of old, I believe the United States Government has betrayed the constitutional principles on which it was based -I have therefore seceded, but informally and personally - at least up to this point…
Excerpted from "Montevideo, Uruguay: Diary of an Ex-Pat" in Escape From America Magazine, Issue 83.