Reaching for…

This morning, in my maybe-sorta dare-you-to-grow garden, an ambitious squash plant aspires to — what? A penthouse apartment in the avocado trees?

Ambitious squash plant, Uruguay

Most noteworthy about this image is what it lacks: shadows. After weeks of blistering sun, the temperature dropped dramatically overnight (90s – 70s F, 30s – 20s C). Unlike the last few weeks of forecast nonexistent thunderstorms, this time they got it right. We’re delighted, though reminded that *sigh* winter in Uruguay comes not far behind.




A weed shop in Montevideo

Cañabis Protectio shop, Montevideo, Uruguay

No, not selling weed. Seeds, paraphernalia, maybe growing supplies. I didn’t even bother to look inside. I was showing some visitors around.

Uruguay legalized marijuana — sort of — in 2013.

You can legally grow six plants at home, but you’re supposed to register with the government, an idea which for some reason weed users (and people who remember the military rule) don’t universally embrace. You can join a cooperative and grow up to 99 plants. But no weed is available through pharmacies, as planned, because many pharmacies oppose the idea. (Because marijuana is so unhealthy, don’t you know.)

Cannabis medicine
Between 1850 and 1942, Big Pharma did not exist. Thanks @hemprojectsocial on Facespook.

Unlike Jamaica, Uruguay has decided not to sell marijuana, if and when it’s ever available, to non-residents and non-citizens. However,

Montevideo is now littered with shops selling weed paraphernalia to both locals and tourists. A biscuit firm is marketing alfajores – the country’s national snack, two chocolate biscuits sandwiching a layer of dulce de leche – at dope users suffering the munchies. Its yellow “Marley” packaging seems to be in almost every convenience store, complete with a lion waving a Rastafarian flag and a large dope leaf. [source]

Alfajores Marley

Needless to say, I’ve never seen one. Must be a Montevideo thing. Reminds me of the Macarena: the U.S. nationwide song craze that no one outside the Washington Beltway had ever heard of. But I digress.

Uruguay’s laudable marijuana initiative will hopefully pan out. Meanwhile, it’s looking — to me at least — as a well-meant, and welcome, move, that can only come to fruition through a miracle: the government bureaucracy actually allowing human beings to thrive. Here, as everywhere else, they seem to revel in doing the exact opposite.




The elementary school experience in Uruguay

Newcomers from California have posted a blog entry about their experience with rural Uruguayan elementary school. I’ve posted before about the umm, unusual school uniforms here. Here’s the explanation.

Elementary school uniforms in Uruguay
“The public school uniform in Uruguay has been like this since the beginning of the century, with every child wearing the white dust cover and the blue bow.  The reason for the uniform is to make it almost impossible to make fun or to comment about the quality, level of maintenance, or brand of the clothing underneath. It was a democratic and egalitarian effort to make every child look the same way with non-expensive clothes, and equalize opportunities. That is the spirit even today. The size of the bows, is just a tradition. Private schools do not follow this same tradition, but do each have their own uniforms.” 

We absolutely love the tradition.  Our kids don’t feel embarrassed wearing them since all the other children wear them.  They do take them off as soon as we get home, but it’s nice not to have to worry about what they are going to wear at school.

I highly recommend reading the whole article: Escuela Rural on the Waystages blog.<


sunset, sumer and winter solstice, Atlántida Urugyuay

Just because I remembered this year 😉

We’re at 34’46” south, roughly equivalent to Charlotte, North Carolina, Bakersfield California, southern Cyprus, Kabul, Hiroshima in the north.