After days of clear blue skies, their mood has definitely changed:
You may remember my posting about the massive noxious cloud that ANCAP, the national oil company, releases daily over the most densely populated region in the country.
Here it is, in all its glory, from the airport at 7:58 AM Wednesday morning. Probably 15-20 kilometers away, blowing over the heart of the city of Montevideo.
Uruguay Natural, indeed.
Last year it was on June 11th. As usual, after a clear night, and bright sun made quick work of it.
And yes, I did by mistake leave the car windows down last night.
Several months ago, Ralf and I (if I remember correctly), wandering far from the usual paths, encountered a little pond, apparently where someone at some point dug sand for construction. We’ve been fortunate to have decent rain this summer, so on this very hot and muggy day the dogs loved the stop. From left to right: Leah, Kiya, Sofia, Jordan (front), Benji, and what looks like a black lump in some grass, Lorena.
Further along, from one day to the next — in the middle of nowhere — appeared a pickup truck load of construction trash. Yes, even with abundant trash collection containers everywhere, some troglodytes decided the best way to deal with their trash would be to drive into a large empty area and start a trash pile there.
Which reminds me of a story. In nearby Parque del Plata, when the trash containers first appeared a few years ago, my friend Carlos and his wife embarked on the project of cleaning up the trash-dump empty lot diagonally across from them. They filled the “dumpster” over and over, until finally the lot was clean. Then Carlos spots a middle-aged man carrying a bag of garbage to the container. No, right past the container, to the middle of the lot, where he drops it on the ground. Carlos screams at him to use the trash container.
“But this is the way I’ve always done it,” he says.
Welcome to Uruguay.
Carlos, who is Uruguayan, tells me they did eventually “toilet train” that troglodyte.
It took the better part of a year.
The squall-like wind did not last long the other day, but it came from every direction, which is why I so thoroughly sealed the stairway windows.
In Atlántida, a rather majestic tree was uprooted, taking part of the sidewalk with it. I don’t think winching it back into place is an option. Too bad.
A few meters away, the roots of another tree that fell the same direction, but was cut up to clear the street.
On a less-traveled street, a red rag warns passersby of a downed cable.
You’ll recall that Christmas Day 2016 was dreary as could be.
So was New Year’s Day. I’m starting to wonder if this forecast “hot and dry” summer might end up looking like 2014.
I “repaired” the incompetent window installer’s botched fix (see first link above). Turns out when he smeared everything with silicon, he covered up the drain hole. Someone else advised me to drill holes on the outside channel every 20 cm or so, and I drilled through the aluminum — but forgot to cut away the silicon on the outside. Anyway, in the yesterday’s bad storm, it (finally) didn’t leak.
The rain cleared and we had a lovely sunset at 8:30,
and a clear view of the waxing moon.
The second of January didn’t bode well. I got bitten by a dog.
Alas, it was my own dog. Accosted by an obnoxious and too-often-loose dog, Benji and Syd’s five predictably went crazy. Apparently when I pulled Benji back quickly he assumed my leg was the enemy. No harm done.
And another lovely sunset.
Yesterday brought the unusual sight of a fake soccer ball in a ditch, not far from where I once saw two real soccer balls in the ditch.
And I noticed for the first time that the townhouses are finally rented after two-plus years of construction.
Today I noticed that one started ten months ago is finally finished.
Meanwhile at the beach, the saga of the buried boardwalk seems almost over.
The exposed part is getting a little dangerous to walk on (but could be worse),
and while the dune has regained its height on the left, burying the elevated boardwalk, the path of least resistance has once again become the breach in the dune, which is now larger than ever. For a fun comparison of its early days, see this from October 2013.
And a much-traveled beach throwing stick that now — after ten or more trips up and down the beach — probably deserves to be retired.
Finally, more rain is forecast. I’m ready!
No, these are not in progress. They are finished. They are above the stairs, where no one sees them, and even though I have repeated sealed them, after water pouring down the wall inside during yesterday’s rain/wind storm I said enough! The goop I happened to have on hand is white.
They don’t even open. I intend to replace them with glass blocks eventually.
And in case we needed another reminder where we are — well, let me put this another way. Do you think that a person who makes his living installing windows should know how to install windows? If you answered yes, clearly you haven’t spent much time in Uruguay.
What makes this even “better” — the guy who installed it has already been back once to fix the leaks.
And this is not BK Aluminios, an incredibly bad but high-profile business. It’s a little mom-and-pop shop that at least pretends to care.
We returned today from Aguas Dulces. I normally don’t like to post lots of photos, but I think in this case they will help you appreciate its aftermath.
From our friends’ deck. The lower right was their front yard.
Neighbor on the left: front third of house gone.
Neighbor on the right: no house anymore.
Meet your new front yard.
People scurrying in and out — salvaging furniture?
Meet your new front yard.
Meet your new front yard.
Meet your new front yard.
Meet your new front yard. Feel lucky.
No doubt a lot of people feeling this way. But dunes are built by wind and waves, moved and removed by winds and waves, and wind and waves have little regard for your desire to live with a view of wind and waves.
Meanwhile, the local “council” has suspended rubble cleanup after a court order. Seems they felt they could take into their own hands the destruction and removal of private buildings (on public land — ah, complicated).
The last big storm was 31 December, 1988. Expected storm surge is up to three meters. In this storm it was five meters above normal sea level.
On a lighter note, some imaginative decorations of other buildings in Aquas Dulces.
The door on the right says NO ESTACIONAR — NO PARKING 😉
OK, Halloween was yesterday, but according to my wife, in Mexico the Day of the Dead includes today, so….
Weird weather lately. Evening yesterday we drove into Montevideo for her eye tests, for vision problems resulting from going abruptly to 3,800 meters (12,500′) when we flew to Cusco, Peru, in July. (We have lived at sea level for seven years.) Left eye: she has had damage to it before going back to 1973, but superficial, not macular “puckering” (I’m serious). For a little over USD 100 we got very sophisticated tomographic tests done with fancy image printouts. I don’t quite understand it all, but as usual — here — they hand you the results you have paid for. Just as you go away with the x-rays or MRI scans or whatever here. Because you paid for them, they’re yours. ¡Que concepto!
Halfway into Montevideo, we experienced a brutal and unusual hail storm — deafening, and no shelter to pull into. I was grateful the windshield didn’t break! But in fact the metal body of the car wasn’t dented either. So I guess it wasn’t that bad.
In the midst of it, however, I could only assume damage was being done.
And then it was over, and everything was sweetness and light again.
Our beach, after the storm that rendered it impassable a couple days ago.
Lots of trash, very wide, and where the dunes gently sloped, walls.
I didn’t walk up near the dunes, since a certain dog wants me throwing a stick into the water the entire time, but some of the cuts appear 3 m (10 ft) high.
An unusually large dead crab — shell probably 12 cm (5″) across.
The storm hit worse, however, farther east.
Fortunately our friends’ house in Aguas Dulces (Sweet Waters seems a tad ironic now) was not harmed, but it is reported that 50 houses were destroyed there. You can see one of them going down in this 12-second video).
Photo source, Aguas Dulces: “In 30 years, I’ve never seen anything like this.”
If you review my photos from Aguas Dulces in June 2015, you’ll sense my fascination with previously abandoned and destroyed habitations. Building at the edge of the sea involves risk.
Our friends had recently spent about USD 10,000 to install a complex system of boulders, plastic sheeting, and sand bags in front of their place to protect it. Had they not, they might not now have their California-dream ocean-front house.
We hope to go back soon with them (invited next weekend but have to hang around here, in hope window installers will show up). Meanwhile, I think I can safely assume that the first picturesque stilted house in my little photo essay will not present another photo op.