I made an interesting discovery today. Dispatched to the “hyper” market to pick up crackers, among other things, I saw that my wife wrote “two types.” This caused me to look more thoroughly than usual on the “cracker aisle” (as did the fact that an employee stocking shelves, and two women chatting, blocked further progress).

Low and behold, on the bottom shelf I find flour tortillas, and not the type we’ve been buying, locally produced with the Mexican-licensed “Bimbo” (gotta love it) brand:

From the Tienda Inglesa web site. Note that accessories are not included ūüėČ

So here we have “Azteca Wraps” ‚Äď kind of fun, because I’ve never seen sandwiches called “wraps” in Uruguay (but they may exist somewhere).

commercial flour torillas

But a glance at the back reveals they’re not just intended for Uruguayans. And they’re not from Mexico, despite the Aztec implication. They’re made in Spain, and the back of the package presents info in twelve languages.

commercial flour torillas

So let’s compare. The product produced an hour away weighs 360 grams.¬†The product produced in Spain, shipped across the Atlantic Ocean, weighs 420 grams, or 17% more.¬†Which do you think is more expensive?

Well, if you’re familiar with how things roll in the socialist paradise of Uruguay, you’ll recognize this as a trick question. Of course the local product, smaller, will be more expensive! In fact¬†63% more expensive!

And, comparing price per gram, almost exactly 100% more expensive as the imported product.

Better? Hard to imagine. The local Bimbo tortillas are not special in any way.



Two gifts today

For a couple years I’ve walked with Syd and his dogs in a large piece of undeveloped land near his house in Villa Argentina. I’ve blogged many times about our finds there. (Tag: dog walk.)

aerial view of undeveloped land

We’ve stopped now. Benji’s aggression toward other dogs has been getting progressively worse. After a hiatus because of Mocha’s broken leg, we resumed walking together, and Benji attacked Jordan, Syd’s only male dog, three days in a row, despite our changing walking and meeting/sniffing protocol (latter for the dogs only, just to be clear here).

two dogs inside
Benji (“what me, hurt a flea?”) and Mocha

At this point I don’t dare let Benji off-leash around any dog but Mocha. So I’ve been taking them to our Uruguay “mini-farm” every couple days, where I can walk the property and they can run around like beheaded chickens. It’s about 1.2 km — 3/4 mile for me, only half the Villa Argentina walk, but the dogs make up for it by chasing imaginary rabbits.

I did at one point watch several of the neighbor’s dogs chase a hare there, so they exist. It seemed a goner but somehow escaped. No idea how, but I did watch a couple of amazing rabbit chases in Villa Argentina.

About Villa Argentina: though usually we have had the place to ourselves, you can imagine that those sandy trails appeal to horseback riders, motorcyclists, and four-wheeler enthusiasts, all of whom Benji likes to chase. And in fact, during one of our recent visits to¬†the¬†campo,¬†neighbor’s horses were grazing near the house adjacent to the dog-fenced area (thanks to¬†Burkhard the Model A-and-now-T guy). Benji went batshit crazy. I tried to restrain him with force and yelling, to absolutely no avail.

aerial view rural property Uruguay

So today we arrive, ready to walk out of the dog-fenced area, and I see five horses between us and the stream that runs through the middle of the property — the stream we need to cross to go to the back of the property. From the start, I’ve allowed the neighbor access for his cows (I can pretend I’m rich when I arrive and see “my” cattle). But today it’s a gift: a dog training opportunity! I tie Benji to the fence, go back to the car, get the key to the barn, retrieve a 20-foot piece of rope, attach it to the leash, and head toward the horses. Mocha runs over and says hello to the horses; he’s no problem. But Benji….

As we head in, the horses start to head toward us, because I’m being deliberately as calm as possible ‚ÄĒ don’t think I’ve had horses walk towards me before! I ask them not to come too close: don’t want to push it. Benji is calm, occasionally looking to me for guidance. When the closest is about 5 meters away, I turn my back to it (signaling “no threat/no interest” to Benji), and crouch down to investigate a fallen leaf that is suddenly fascinating. We continue toward the stream, horses following. Across the stream, before the horses have crossed, I drop the lead and let Benji run ahead, dragging it behind him. Halfway to the back fence, I take it off. Later, halfway back to the stream, I put it back on, because the horses have now followed us into the “back 40.” Mocha runs over to them, and Benji makes a couple of tentative tugs on the loose 20-foot lead. Does a shake, meaning he’s relaxed. We get past the horses, 100 meters past the stream, and I let Benji off the lead.

Back in the dog-fenced area, a horse is tethered outside on the road (roughly near the arrowhead above). I put Benji back on the lead, and we walk toward it. Mocha runs over to it a couple times; Benji is content, even lies down in the grass with the horse not far away.

Which brings me to the other gift, why the horses are a gift: theonlinedogtrainer.com (if you’re just remembering it, note “the” at the beginning; without is a bogus site). I don’t remember what led me to it; Universe tends to work that way, but if you are a dog lover, with any concerns ‚Äď aggression, behavior, separation anxiety ‚Äď Doggie Dan is simply amazing.

I can’t say for sure I’ve reversed Benji’s behavior toward horses in a half hour. But I know why he acted the way he did, in response to the incredible change in our relationship in the last week. I’m now encouraged to expand the training to cows (yeah, those were a problem in Villa Argentina as well), chickens. And strange dogs as well. Since the neighbor’s daughter is a vet and boards dogs, they have stranger-dogs, plus cattle and fowl, all easy to arrange.

One dollar for three day’s access, during which you can easily learn the basics. I’ve upped for a month, and will probably do more: this stuff is simply amazing!


Unhappy day in Uruguay

I refer, of course, to Uruguay getting booted out of the 2018 World Cup by France. Cavani didn’t play.

And it’s been kind of cold. And overcast: dreary.

But my new bath brush arrived from China!¬† It’s been almost three months since it was shipped.

body scrub brush

It’s also almost exactly three years from the first replacement. This time I paid $5.29 instead of $4.02. Before this order, I paid the same for two brushes, but mistakenly sent them to our official U.S. address. So now my¬†my sister-in-law has two bath brushes.

body scrub brush

The condition of the old one is surprisingly similar to the last time. Interesting that the earlier one arrived in three weeks instead of three months, and the second arrived within days of three years after the first.

That numbers thing again?


Happy day in Uruguay

This is the third world cup since we’ve lived in Uruguay. While previous ones have been exciting, I was never impressed with the actual playing. Not so this year in Russia. Today Uruguay beat Portugal to move to the quarter-finals, and though I only watched the second half,* it was fine playing. Especially, from my viewpoint, considering how Portugal’s shots on goal almost all went spectacularly wide or high. The Uruguay defense was fabulous, and both its goals were scored, not by superstar Luis Su√°rez, but by¬†Edinson Cavani. Of course a joint effort: the two strikers are quite amazing together.

Screen shot from FIFA site

Since I haven’t been walking with Syd lately because of training issues with my dogs, I subsequently took them to our¬†chacra (mini farm) and walked the property. This gave them a chance to run around like crazy in the muddy fields, splash into the stream, and further the transition of our new Renault Duster from “new car” smell to “wet dog” smell. Whatever.

When we returned to Atl√°ntida, I had to go on side streets because the main road was still choked — almost two hours after the game — with cars full of people waving flags and blaring horns.

Uruguay next faces France, the leader in terms of salaries of players on the national team: USD 1.1 billion versus Uruguay USD 330 million or so. France advanced to the quarters after beating Argentina 4-3. I can’t speak for Uruguayans, but I think there might be a little schadenfreude at seeing Argentina eliminated.

When the game started, I was trying to collect yet another Western Union transfer I had sent myself. I heard the first goal — seven minutes in — on the radio while waiting for an inexplicable 15 minute delay from them. Then WU cancelled my transfer inexplicably. And locked me out of their site, and claimed-to but didn’t send me a chance to reset my password. I called them, then emailed a section with no phone access, for an explanation. I hate to come across as a grumpy old bastard, but after the recent experiences with Mercado Libre (previous posts), I’m getting pretty fed up with business that promise but don’t deliver. Add Western Union to the shit list.

It begins: the wheels

Immediately after I posted yesterday, Burkhard sent me current photos. I think maybe he’s having some fun with me, because the last one is definitely smaller than the next two, and even accounting for perspective, the closest looks bigger.

Model T wheels

I’m not sure why he feels a need to fix them — it’s just a few bug holes and Model Ts don’t go very fast.

Model T wheel closeup

But he’s picky. No doubt will insist on new tires as well.

Model T wheels pre-restoration

I think that’s a front hub below. You can actually buy one new for USD 289.95. Might make a nice coffee table conversation piece.¬†The new spokes will be made from¬†fresno, or ash, used for ax handles up north (along with hickory).

Rims and hubs, ready to go for refurbishing. Local cost to put each wheel back together with new spokes is USD 100, which seems like a good deal now that I’ve looked online.

Model T wheel disassembled

And meanwhile, some new antique firewood!

Model T spokes for firewood