I sometimes think this country’s motto should be Welcome to Uruguay. Please take a number. Because everywhere you go, you take a number. Even in the feria, the street market.

number dispenser

Overall, it’s a good thing. I recall my nephew’s amazement at the civility of our ferias, compared to their chaos in Guatemala, where he taught at an international school.

In the local ferretería (hardware store), where everyone knows my name, I have for years responded “42” and waved my paper in the air when the clerk calls out my actual number, which is of course never 42.

Alas, inquiring about property taxes in the intendencia the other day, I did get number 42. But there was no line, and no number called out, no number to turn in. What a waste!


So why 42, you wonder? Glad you asked.


From asado to barbecue to…

I explained asado some time ago, the painfully slow way (from a northern point of view) of cooking meat over glowing coals. Fine when you have a group and plenty of time. When the objective is to cook something outside in hot weather, a gas barbecue grill is not perfect, but tremendously more efficient.

But the prices here are double you’d expect to pay in North America, and quality poorer, so it’s hard to justify buying one new.

You might recall we bought a used one and fixed it up.

altered BBQ grill, Uruguay

The other night, I went to fire it up, and the left burner lit up and immediately went out, as if the valve had broken. The right side hissed as if gas was coming through, but wouldn’t light.  So, on to the next alternative: a single gas burner we haven’t used in years, and our largest skillet, which doesn’t have a lid (hence the pizza pan).

I might try taking off the valve and looking at it, but given the grill’s age can’t count on replacement parts. More likely the gas burner will end up inside, perhaps with a second burner. One of those projects one has to be in the right frame of mind for; hands get filthy.


It’s back to looking like a plain old barbecue grill,

From asado to barbecue to...

but under the hood it’s become a gas stove. Which means less heat inside the house!

From asado to barbecue to...
Yes, those are bricks holding up the rear legs.


Back to the beach

I haven’t been to the beach with Benji frequently since we started walking with Syd and his five dogs in the wastelands (literally) of Villa Argentina norte. Variety of reasons: conversations with Syd tend to be considerably more interesting than conversations with Benji; Benji usually gets more sustained running given all the other dogs including rabbit scout Jordy; and I don’t have to throw a stick into the waves 20 or 30 times in succession.

But from time to time I am reminded of the age-honored saying that location is everything.

As in, we encounter no cows on the beach.

Back to the beach

This was Benji yesterday, halfway through our walk. It may be just the exaggerated olfactory experience, but Syd and both thought Benji stayed closer to us for the rest of the walk than he ever has before. Excruciatingly close. Being able to see and not smell this, I must say he achieved a remarkable extent of coverage.

After two soap bath yesterday evening, and 20-30 plunges into the waves to retrieve a stick, it was only after he dried off that our living room didn’t smell like a barn.

So, what’s new on the beach?

Back to the beach

I have posted before about the boardwalks that were poorly designed and maintenance-free. Now in Las Toscas (we live on the border) appears one built with posts that extend vertically to a metal handrail. Progress!

Back to the beach

Meanwhile, at the end of Calle 3B, the boardwalk solution (B) has become unusable, while problem it addressed (A) has grown 2-3 times larger.

Back to the beach

Seen from the other side: the boardwalk (B) is completely buried, while beyond (A) the dunes are completely blown away because of traffic through the gap.

Back to the beach

Coming back from the beach, I note a number of wine cartons at the overflowing recycling bin — all with corks carefully replaced. Which means that someone at the recycling center will have to remove them, one by one, so the glass can be recycled.

Back to the beach

Over the past couple months, trucks have dumped dirt at the park we pass through on the way back. Red arrows mark the vertical poles that are all that remains of the goal posts. The person who cuts the grass has carefully mowed around the mound of dirt (and rubble).

Is it to fix the field? Ya veremos — we’ll see.



Day 4

Part playmate, part plaything — dogs will be dogs. When Benji came into our lives, Gita played with him, but, being somewhat matronly, had her limits. Which I thought delightfully karmic, since it reminded me of her introduction into our lives, and how patiently our then-matronly dog Karma put up with Gita (Bhagavad nothing; short for Dogita, and properly spelled Guita), who equally more or less terrorized Karma. And invoked karma.


FWIW, this is my 1,000th blog post. How time flies when you spend it documenting trivialities!