I’ve been running longer than usual lately, so I’ll revert to “short and…” – well, come to think of it, talking about septic systems probably doesn’t qualify as “sweet.” In fact, it wasn’t at all when someone finally stayed in our little refurbished farm house and had to cover the bathroom floor drain with plastic wrap because of the smell. When we finally got around to examining the mechanics, the problem was quite obvious. The toilet (which of course has a water trap built into…Continue Reading “A simple plumbing solution”

Resolving a little plumbing issue in the country yesterday set off a cascading series of Uruguayan plumbing memories. Some involve sheer incompetence, some … well, let’s start with the incompetence. If you’ve been with me a while, you might remember this gem from jack-of-all-trades Nestor (because anyone in Uruguay who sort of knows one trade thinks he knows every trade). The lower patch fills the first hole he made for the horizontal vent pipe above. A few years ago, a newcomer trenchantly reflected on Uruguayan…Continue Reading “Plumbing in Uruguay”

Fiber optic cable coverage in Uruguay, courtesy of ANTEL, the national phone/internet company: http://www.antel.com.uy/personas-y-hogares/internet/fibra-optica/zonas-de-instalacion* Picking on nonfunctional web sites in Uruguay is almost no fun, like shooting fish in a barrel. Exactly 2-1/2 years after I posted this, ANCAP‘s web site still requires you to type “www.” * tested with 7 different browsers

And in case we needed another reminder where we are — well, let me put this another way. Do you think that a person who makes his living installing windows should know how to install windows? If you answered yes, clearly you haven’t spent much time in Uruguay.   What makes this even “better” — the guy who installed it has already been back once to fix the leaks. And this is not BK Aluminios, an incredibly bad but high-profile business. It’s a little mom-and-pop shop…Continue Reading “Christmas drear”

—Several years ago, getting a quote on a large order, I complemented the local lighting store on their prices, which were much better than another place I’d just been. The kid behind the counter said, ”Sometimes they’re more expensive. Sometimes we’re more expensive. There’s no real competition here.” He used the word competencia. And today his statement was again proven true (with a twist, twice!) with a phone bill address and delivery.