While in the States in September, I got to thinking about the pobre Meriva,as our worker referred to our Chevy minivan after seeing the loads it carried. (I wanted to get a four-door pickup when we arrived in Uruguay; wife nixed that idea.) We got it in early 2010. Paint’s fading, windshield best replaced because of scratches from volcanic ash from Chile a few years ago. But it runs well, and the prospect of shopping for anything in Uruguay is generally dreary. So when I got back, I got some repairs done: replaced the serpentine belt in the engine at 90,000 km (supposed to have been changed at 45,000), body pained, and maybe the windshield one day soon.
Quite a few weeks after the paint job, I noticed the strip between the top of the doors and the roof was looking pretty bad.
I took it back to the shop (taller) and showed it to the owner. He walked around the car. Whoever painted it simply skipped that area. No problem, he said. Of course, to finish the job will now take another three (Uruguay: read four) days.
While waiting in the garage, I became fascinated with the packaging of a replacement door.
The strings aren’t added afterward. They’re an integral part of the design. They wrap around little round plastic fasteners.
What an elegant (in the engineering sense) solution!
Time to replace the ceiling fan in our bedroom, a job I was not going to do myself — too high. The electrician brought a four-part folding ladder that wasn’t tall enough, and neither would my extension ladder work. By itself.
Since I had just started a massage in the next room when he arrived shortly after 2 PM (having said he’d be there at 10 AM), he poked around in my workshop, found rope and wire, and assembled this. My ladder is on the left; his is folded over it. Rope, many pieces of wire….
Hey, it worked!
But how did he transport a ladder on a motorbike?
Easy! Notice the tool box balanced in front of him as well.
Germany must have changed since I lived there. I don’t remember hot dogs, much less American Hot Dog Sauce, which appears to be mustard, for which the Germans do have a word, senf. Pretty sure I never encountered BBQ Sauce either.
One of the pleasures of having live in Uruguay a while is not having to set up your life here. Having to buy furniture and appliances in Uruguay brings little joy. In fact, shopping in general brings little joy: selection is limited, quality dubious, and prices in general exorbitant.
But, with little pressure, and various changes and upgrades, should be better, no? We plan to furnish and perhaps rent our little country house, which gives us an opportunity to buy a better stove for our house in Atlántida, and means moving beds around, so maybe we can buy a better mattress (for the record, I find no fault in our existing one). Also, if we can find a reasonably priced washing machine, that would be nice to provide to a country renter as well.
So, today we were off to “close” Montevideo, half the distance to “far” Montevideo, first checking out stores in Costa Urbana Shopping, the newest mall, which straddles the Ruta Interbalnearia.
We wandered into Multi Ahorro, where a salesgirl provided all kinds of useful information and advice. I made notes. Then we walked into Divino across the way, a large mostly-furniture store.
The first thing we noticed was that the mattress measurements didn’t correspond with what we are putatively trying to replace. It may be that the bed we bought, from an American, had originated in the United States, hence weird metrics, but perhaps measurements changed here at some point? After all, we bought it eight years ago; he and his wife had been here seven before that.
So, why not ask an employee? Well, perhaps because the first one walking toward us abruptly seated herself at a computer with her back to us. Wandering past her toward a group of three employees, I watched them kid around with each other, and then walk away. Well, one walked past us, studiously avoiding eye contact, though we were clearly potential customers and clearly needing some attention.
In the end, a total of seven floor employees managed to completely ignore us, happy with their little chats and kidding around.
Welcome to Uruguay!
On the way back from dog walking, I stopped by the shop of Daniel, our herrero (blacksmith), with a little challenge. We have this pot we use almost daily: Susan boiling eggs, me making oatmeal. But the handle, though connected, moves, and I have not been able to remove the screw that attaches it.
I’m pretty strong, but the reluctant screw yielded quickly to Daniel’s efforts, which then included straightening the sheet-metal mounting point, reaming it (or something), re-mounting the handle, and — voilá! — good as new.
Granted, Daniel just made our new fence and gate, but I expect, given our history, the upshot would have been the same nonetheless: no thought of charging me for this service.