Enchufar redux

It’s been a long time since I introduced the subject of electrical outlets in Uruguay. A visit to the hospital reminded me of their wonderful weirdness here.

Shuko is common in Europe; “Inclinado” the standard in neighboring Argentina, and “Tres en linea,” my favorite, apparently the standard in Uruguay. But when your whole country is 3-1/2 million people, who – meaning people manufacturing electrical appliances for worldwide sales – particularly cares?

And of course, if you’re installing signs in Uruguay, who particularly cares that you glue the capital B to the wall upside and backwards?

Which perhaps has you thinking, I want to visit your wonderful little country. What should I do about my electrical needs?

The obvious answer is to throw your hands up in despair, and leave all your damned gadgets at home.

Or just stop by our place.

I probably have your needs covered.

The receipt

This receipt struck me as colorful and unusual, so I put it aside, seeing the bar code. I assumed it was something promotional from Tienda Inglesa, where you have to scan the receipt to get little stamps or something. Currently I think they’re doing a trip to New York. Were those clouds in the design? Whatever, later, unpack groceries….


Short answer: no. The new blue ink – hopefully less toxic – appears to be water soluble. And apparently something in my shopping bag was wet.

Oh well. It’s pretty, and mentally considerably less demanding than the thought of a (another) trip to New York.

Simply inexcusable

I saw this at Tienda Inglesa, and was absolutely appalled.

No, not that the ham was upside down. That only made it worse. Can you see it?

OK, let me give you a clue:

Ah yeah, you’ve got a point: that’s not much of a clue. That’s me in Tangiers, Morocco, in 1983. On the right. I have absolutely no memory of the photo being taken BTW (by someone named Lisa Ebright).

Having extricated myself from teaching at a vastly under-studented international school in Malta, I spent a few years working as a school yearbook rep out of West Germany, consuming multiple Eurail Passes with a job that took me to 14 countries.

Not bad, but: in the twilight of my 20s, in an “is this all there is?” moment, I signed up for a School of Visual Arts (New York) summer course in North Africa, whose teachers were Milton Glaser, Marshall Arisman, Ed Benguiat, and Eileen Hedy Schultz (not to be confused with Eileen Caddy, founder of Findhorn, whom I met a year or two later in Germany). All very cool people – well, for the first and most famous, perhaps that’s too strong an adjective – a couple of whom I later visited in New York.

Powerful stuff which, alas, did not exactly lead me down the path to a career in typography, illustration, graphic design, or stock photography, though all kept singing sweetly in the background over the next few years.

So, back to the ham, oddly less offensive now right side-up. But still egregious – what the hell is this? Do you let your ten year-old do package design?

Yes, I’m talking about kerning….

Foreign concepts

Taking up valuable space in our luggage back from ‘Murka: cotton tea towels that absorb moisture. Kitchen scouring sponges that don’t begin to disintegrate immediately with use.

I know. I can hear you already: why would you want those?