What goes around

Setting out to do a good deed, I end up needing one

Ah, it gets complicated. Buckle up.

Starts with a WhatsApp call from Fernanda in Montevideo, an Urguaya whom we met at a recent asado (barbecue) of Jerry, our American country neighbor.

She has sold her apartment in Montevideo (we knew) but still needed to retrieve a few things. Apparently locks had been changed and Jerry’s Uruguaya “secretary” had arranged to meet her and help out, then showed up at the wrong time with the wrong keys, and blamed it all on Chuck.

Chuck is Jerry’s longtime friend, who unbeknownst to me was now at Jerry’s place here, while Jerry is in Miami, heading off on a cruise to Cuba. Turns out the keys he gave were the ones Jerry told him to give.

Fernanda leaves for Spain on Friday, needs a solution. Surely I have a number for Chuck somewhere — ? No, I don’t.

But then remember I need to pick up the charged battery from local ANCAP service station after failed jump-start of Mike and Michelle’s 18-year-old Ford yesterday. So, why not drive a few miles more and talk to Chuck?

Might have worked had I not first turned off after the Ruta Interbalnearia bridge, to the ANCAP station. The Interbalneria is bumper-to-bumper, with lots of people now exiting to take Ruta 11 in my direction, so it seemed to make more sense than stopping there on the way back.

At ANCAP, I learn that Mike had earlier retrieved the battery on foot, and texted me. My current interpretation of smartphone being “camera,” I was offline and got nothing.

Oh well, let’s connect with Chuck.

Back-o-mind wondered if he might be driving into Atlántida for early supper.

Indeed. 100 meters short his drive, we passed. I waved. He waved. Because you wave at everyone, whether you know them or not. Didn’t occur to me that he couldn’t have seen me anyway, driving straight into the sun.

I waved my arm out the window after he passed. Beeped the horn. Nothing.

And so I thought, if I can just turn around and catch with him…. So, slam into reverse, aim for that last driveway, and fail, totally. Backing up in haste, in hurry, with limited vision given dusty windows and light (notice shadow), I quickly found myself in a not-insignificant ditch.

car in ditch, Uruguay
Stuck. As in, you ain’t goin’ nowhere.

Can’t even open the door. Crawl out the passenger side, call neighbor Mariana, whose father Manuel has hauled my car out of mud before with his tractor. Alas, she’s in Montevideo, and he’s not there. Let me call Abel, she says. Calls me back with good news.

Ten minutes later, a kindly white-haired man rolls up with a big John Deere tractor. We spend a few minutes finding a place to hook onto the car. Then, with no effort at all from the tractor, he gently pulls me out onto the road.

I try to give him some money, but he of course will have nothing to do with it. We’re neighbors, he says.




Another visit to Aquas Dulces

Location of Aguas Dulces, Uruguay

Strange structures seem to dance, witch-like, as we drive into Aguas Dulces. They turn out to be paja (straw), the local equivalent of quincho. However, here they also use paja in walls as well as roofs.

Another visit to Aquas Dulces

Starting my walk around town, I notice what must have once been a map but appears to have evolved into an existential statement:

Faded map in Aguas Dulces, Uruguay
“You are here”

A house that survived, inexplicably, the storm that destroyed so many others. I remembered this one being in much worse shape, and indeed: compare with the picture in the previous post. Somebody’s been busy!

Another visit to Aquas Dulces

Aguas Dulces, Uruguay, November 2016

Lovely afternoon light. There’s a cat in the picture, and several more nearby.

Another visit to Aquas Dulces

Next morning, an amazing breakfast in an amazing setting. The onshore wind blows back the top of  the waves. The face of the farthest break is at least  two meters high.

Another visit to Aquas Dulces

Funky beach, funky houses.

Funky beach houses in Aguas Dulces, Uruguay

brightly painted garage, Aguas Dulces, Uruguay

¡Hasta luego, Aguas Dulces!


Montevideo: faces on buildings

Running errands in Montevideo the other day, I saw a building that seemed to share my sentiments about the weather.

Montevideo: faces on buildings

Then, on Av. Italia, something I probably should have seen at some point but never have.

Teatro Cinematica 18, Av. 18 de Julio, Montevideo, Uruguay

But then, I note it wasn’t there in October 2015. And it’s not as though I’m on Avenida 18 de Julio driving, seeing as it’s one of my least favorite streets to drive on in Montevideo. Narrow lanes and lots of buses and pedestrians.

Teatro Cinematica 18, Montevideo, October 2915




Strange shadows

odd shadows on house, Uruguay

We walk by this house every day. Now at just the right time, and right time of year, for this bit of weirdness.

The Yacht Club

We had lunch the other day at a restaurant overlooking the Arroyo Solís Chico, opposite the Yacht Club Parque del Plata, near the statue of Ruperto. Several kids were learning to sail in tiny boats in the mild breeze.

Yacht Club Parque del Plata

You’ve probably guessed this already, but I has to walk around the back to see more. Not a Yacht in sight.

Yacht Club Parque del Plata

Curious to learn more about their activities, I discovered that they have a web site. There are no yachts there either. I’ve written before about the pathetic state of some web sites in Uruguay: take, for example, the national oil company. Try this link: ancap.com.uy. Now type www. at the beginning and hit return. Kinda takes ya back twenty years, no? That’s Uruguay.

But the Yacht Club Solis Chico takes the web to a new level: see for yourself!