El puente peatonal

Poorly deisigned pedestrian bridge, Atlántida, Uruguay

I noticed some school girls running up the pedestrian bridge yesterday. That bridge and another are some of a number of improvements we’ve seen in almost seven years in Uruguay. Granted, sometimes nothing is budgeted for repair or maintenance (see here and (yikes!) here). And the engineering — well, perhaps that’s too strong a word — leaves something to be desired.

Early this morning, I took the-dog-that-cannot-get-too-much-exercise with me to leave our car for an oil change. An excellent opportunity to experience that bridge for the first time (and very exciting for the dog!).

Poorly deisigned pedestrian bridge, Atlántida, Uruguay

Alas, the Uruguayan acceptance of mediocracy rears its ugly head again. Yes, that’s a puddle. On a dry day.

But the bridge appears to be solid, which can’t be said of much of the decades-old infrastructure where I came from. Just before we moved to Uruguay, the History Channel did a 2-hour piece on the infrastructure of the United States. It’s the only long video on Youtube I’ve actually watched from beginning to end in one sitting. Highly recommended: The Crumbling of America.

Takes away all the fun

After losing the closest trash container to fire three times, and the next closest once, and both at the same time most recently, we were glad to see them replaced. In our case, however, replaced with other beat-up plastic bins.

trash-containers

Meanwhile, closer to the beach, new metal ones have joined the aging plastic bins. They still have plastic tops which will no doubt rot in the Uruguayan sun, but at least the whole thing can’t be burned to the ground!

Previous posts about the “modern” garbage containers.

 

 

Update: basureros

Not sure what inspired them to get to work again, but they have.

beach-trash-1
Beach nice and clean again, even a liner in the “trash can.”
beach-trash-2
The street not as much, but still a major improvement. If there were any full-time residents living near this one, someone like me might take a shovel and finish the cleanup.

 

 

 

Not sure what’s up with the basureros

basura: trash
basureros: them wot spozed to quitar the basura

Overflowing trash containers, days before tourist season starts, Atlántida, Uruguay
The day before tourist season officially starts, it appears the basureros have decided not to work.
Overflowing trash containers, days before tourist season starts, Atlántida, Uruguay
When they resume, will they pick up all the overflow? Curiously, along the Rambla (beachfront road), the containers have been emptied. The two closest to us were burned to the ground (one for the third time) about a month ago. When I called the Intendencia to inquire, they explained that they were waiting for new, equally flammable (OK, they didn’t say that) containers, so at present had no replacements.

Overflowing trash bins on beach the day before tourist season starts, Atlántida, Uruguay
Meanwhile, the usually-diligent beach crew seems to have slacked off as well.

In case you’re curious, the breed of that hunkering creature in the background—who has gone from 10 kg to over 20 kg in less than two months—has finally been established. It’s a rare Oriental Spinkle-Faced Sand Hound.

More about the funky, UV-prone, flammable trash containers:

 

 

Cajun-style comadreja

Cajun-style comadreja, with essence of plastic

I’ve spoken of our trash collection system before.

Last night, for the third time, our closest container was burned. Yeah, it makes some kind of great sense to collect trash in flammable containers.

dumpster-burn-3

Just as it makes sense to purchase for Uruguay trash containers from a country with absolutely no UV problem: Germany. Plastic doesn’t fare well here.

However, the irony—or synchronicity—in this current destruction is that my wife took a shovel yesterday to remove the body of a dead possum (comadreja) from the road, and threw it in that container.

So the little critter got a proper cremation.

Well, almost. From the attention our garbage-hound Gita gave today, apparently there are some Cajun tidbits still edible by her standards (shared by almost no other living thing besides ants and bacteria).

 

 

 

Southern winds

We’ve had several days now of persistent, on-shore wind. Here in Uruguay, off-shore points to Antarctica. Yeah, it’s been chilly. And I’m finally feeling righteous about finally having a proper winter jacket! (Purchased last November in Miami, when we were heading into summer here.) And so, for the first time in six years, we had a wonderfully mild winter, one that barely required a winter jacket.

I’m not implying causality, for the record. But, erm, uh … Uruguay, thank me if you will. It’s been pleasant, no? But this cold wind….

The Rambla (beachfront road) in Parque del Plata has always had a ridiculous stretch that half-fills with sand during the winter. Prior to tourist season, a front-end loader and dump truck appear, scoop up the offending dunes and deposit them upstream in the Solís Chico river, making a nice little beach for the locals. Which can then wash back down the river, into the sea, and — OK, let’s not go there.

This year, they have their work cut out for them, thanks to these cold southern winds.

dune-road
OK, you can’t see it, but the sign says “Calle Cerrado,” which means … well, it’s not the name of the street.

Meanwhile, the dune — above the boardwalk built to prevent further erosion of dunes — has gotten high enough that today I walked through the neighboring gap instead. Sort of like the gap where they built the boardwalk. But, hey.

buried-walkway
Today I approached through the gap to the right, rather than expend the effort to surmount the dune formed above the gap the boardwalk was built to “solve.”

Except for a 6-month amazing stint in Lincoln City, Oregon (1986-7), I have never lived near a beach, until the last six years, and the constant changes fascinate me.

Unlike my father, I’m not an engineer. Nor as smart. But I don’t think I’m thus unqualified to ask, what exactly are we not “getting” here?

OK, forget it: nature is amazing.