Benji’s new collar

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Benji has managed to lose two (or is it three?) collars in his crazed running around on walks. Once was on the beach. I retraced our entire route and couldn’t find it! Most recently, it was secured with a safety pin. Which worked really well — until it didn’t.

So, new collar, safety pins.

Green dog collar and safety pins

Benji was so excited to have a new collar he immediately wanted to model it for you.

Seriously, this is what he did as soon as I put it on — not moving, just lying there.

Turns out the safety pin wasn’t such a great idea. It came loose almost immediately. So I sewed a few stitches into it. Ya veremos — we’ll see.




Close call for a cutter ant

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Leaf cutter ants are annoying. They’re worse than annoying; they’re horrible. They can strip a tree of all its leaves overnight, as I have seen more than once with young trees I have planted in Uruguay.

At the same time, they are rather awesome to watch up close.

Leaf cutter ants in action, Uruguay

We were particularly impressed with a procession of fresh eucalyptus harvest that crossed our path today. Check out the ant with the flower in particular.

And check out how close he came to not making it across the path!


The wine prescription

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I had to go the doctor to get a piece of paper documenting the dog bite on my leg, sustained when three loose dogs tried to attack Benji, who was on a leash. The paper adds weight to my denuncia filed at the local police station. The bite was superficial, and from my dog (again), but I didn’t share that detail. Not important. Those dogs should not be loose.

The doctor was concerned about my blood pressure, and took his time so that he could measure again. We talked about a few things, and he asked me if I smoked — no — or drank — yes — and he asked white wine? Curious question because yes, I do like white wine, and very few locals do. So he asked me what I thought of Uruguayan wines. Not much; I prefer one from Chile.

Oh, he said, have you tried this and this and this? All sold at Tienda Inglesa, and he even told me the prices. I asked him to write them down, and so he did.

wine prescription

On a prescription pad.



Love your new house!

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Mind if we put up this piece of shit ten meters from your back door?

New cell tower, Atlántida, Uruguay

Actually, that’s just a rhetorical question. We could care less what you think.

New cell tower, Atlántida, Uruguay

And who is we?

My neighbor Wayne tipped me off to this. I hadn’t been by recently, but know it well. This house is new, and this radiation tower even newer, and all of a quarter mile (.4 km) from the one installed a year and a half ago.

316 meters (1,034 feet) from our front door. The previous is 544 meters (1,785 feet) away.

In contrast to when I posted before, I now have a smart phone, and took these pictures with it. It has less bulk than my digital camera, many more capabilities, and is a great help traveling: Lyft, AirBnB, etc. However, generally when I carry it it’s in airplane mode. I don’t consider more radiation a good thing.

As I don’t consider another, closer radiation tower a good thing.


Much’ agua

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While watching organic fruits and vegetables harvested to order today — lettuce, swiss chard, celery, carrots, arugula, grapefruit — from the greenhouse I noticed something I’d never before seen to the east: water.

Not the ocean, but the Río Solís Chico. I asked Ricardo about it. Sí, hay much’ agua. So I had to check on our tajamar (pond), and wow, yeah, lots of water.

full pond, Uruguay

From our little country place — just a few hundred meters from Pilar’s, where the every-other-week feria organica happens, I could also see the river. That surprised me. I consider myself relatively observant, and if the river was visible from our place, I’d certainly never seen it before.

Much’ agua.

Since we first lived here at the mouth of the Río Solís Chico in Parque del Plata, and ever since loving its constantly changing paths as it hits the beach, I thought it might be worth checking out the water flow at the mouth of the river.

Solís Chico, Parque del Plata, Uruguay

Indeed! Hard to do justice in one photo, but in normal times the width of the water separating these two groups of people would be about one half this. You can get an idea here. In that video, all of the foreground beach was underwater today!

Much’ agua.


Flooded beach

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Flooded beach, Atlántida, Uruguay

We had a lot of rain overnight and this morning.

Flooded beach, Atlántida, Uruguay

All the more water for Benji to splash around in. Here he takes a brief confused time out, attention divided between the head of cabbage he quickly lost interest in tearing apart, the stick I had been throwing for him drifting away, and something else. We were the only ones on the beach, so who knows what the something else might have been.



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Waiting for the muffler on the car to be replaced, I walked back into town, which included crossing the highway on foot, something I almost never do.

Lo and behold, I see this below me. What’s it trying to say?

road repair pattern


Retrograde Uruguay

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Mercury goes retrograde today, through 5 September, so beware travel plans, contracts, don’t buy electronics or vehicles, and expect communications to be fouled up. If you’re new to this, please do pay attention: read more here.

What does that have to do with my day in Uruguay? Well, Mercury, nothing, but the other — retrograde. Uruguay does sometimes does appear to be traveling backward through the universe. Take this latest marketing “innovation” at Tienda Inglesa:

Uruguay checkout stamps - onward into the '80s

At checkout, you get little strips of stickers that you can put in little booklets — aha! If you grew up in the United States in the 1960s or 1970s, you probably remember S&H Green Stamps. You would lick them and stick them into little booklets to redeem for merchandise from their store or catalog. Still can, in fact, even though they ended in the 1980s.

Well, at Tienda Inglesa, this little trip down memory lane is  only good for a discount on one brand of cutlery.

But it gets “better:” the little strip of stickers has to be counted out by the cashier. But every fifth sticker is gray, so this can be quick. You know, 5, 10, 15, 20…? No, in fact on our most recent visit, the cashier counted them out by twos. I kid you not.

Of course, this un-streamlines checkout considerably. In addition to the grueling process of counting, occasionally a customer in front of you will require an explanation of how the whole new-fangled thing works.

So, while we’re waiting for our stickers to be counted out by twos: you know what a checkout divider is — the little rectangular or triangular thing that makes checkout more efficient by separating customers’ items? You did know that? Congratulations! Perhaps not 1 in 100 Uruguayans does. In addition to having  always only one, and even when printed with Proximo Cliente (next customer), the cashier uses it simply to block the “electric eye” that starts and stops the checkout conveyor belt, and might get quite huffy if you try to use it as a checkout divider.

So it was with some pleasure that on that most recent visit, before watching the by-two sticker counting, we were able to get our hands on the checkout divider, and use it as a checkout divider. What a concept!.

So what did the Uruguayan behind us do? He waited until every single item of ours was off the conveyor and the checkout divider had stopped the conveyor, before he would put a single item on the now-empty belt.

I suppose you could make this stuff up. But you’d have to be in a retrograde state of mind, no?