Currency value decline a.k.a. inflation

I stopped by the butcher to get menudos (giblets) and corazón (beef heart) for the dogs. To my surprise, prices had jumped significantly from the last time I looked at a receipt a couple weeks ago:


That’s a 25% and 10% increase respectively.

Same thing at Tienda Inglesa:


Mushrooms have gone up 22% in the last two weeks.

In our little local store, the price of eggs has gone up 8% in the last two weeks.

This is not a case of higher prices for tourist season. All of the price hikes have happened in the last week or two, as tourist season ends. And the USD exchange rate has been steady for the last several months (although the highest since we’ve lived here).

I don’t pay attention to too many prices, although I do recall when we first moved here, our son liked to order entrecot (boneless ribeye steak) at Don Vito. It cost 245 pesos, which seemed expensive – at least compared to what we ordered. Here’s where we are with that at the moment:


Granted, it’s been almost ten years, so that’s not entirely unexpected. I remember being appalled when red peppers hit 99 pesos/kilo. Now you’re lucky if the price gets that low. And of course produce varies with the season.

But all these significant price jumps in a very short time, given my expectation of 10-12% per year, have definitely got my attention.

Impala, Méhari

Like the fuel to run them, cars are ridiculously expensive in Uruguay. I’ve talked about that before.

1960s Impala, Citroen Méhali in Uruguay

Here’s a decades-old Chevy Impala (I have been unable to determine the year) for sale. Not in very good shape; I don’t even want to know what they’re asking for it.

Approaching is the quintessential cheap-ass-looking Citroen beach buggy, called a Méhari. They were actually produced in Uruguay from 1971 to 1979. So you can probably pick one up cheap, right? As we say in Spanish, jajajajajajaja!

Interestingly, both are named after African animals, albeit two unlikely to cross paths.



Maseratis in Uruguay

Maserati on display, Conrad Hilton, Punta del Este, Uruguay

You can buy a Maserati in Uruguay in only one place, Punta del Este (natch). Two Ghiblis were on display when we went for the buffet lunch at the Conrad Hilton Sunday (USD 55, but 45 when you pay with foreign credit card and they deduct the “value added” tax of 22% or so — noice!).

So what would one of these beasts set you back in Uruguay?

Maserati Ghibli 350 3.0 V6 A/T – U$S 174.990
Maserati Ghibli S Q4 3.0 V6 A/T – U$S 197.490

Well, considering things like Ferraris and Lamborghinis, those prices didn’t sound too outlandish — until I looked up the prices in the United States (bold):

Maserati Ghibli 350 3.0 V6 A/T – U$S 174.990 starting from $70,600
Maserati Ghibli S Q4 3.0 V6 A/T – U$S 197.490 starting from $78,550

I can’t do an apples-to-apples comparison, not knowing the customization involved with the UY prices.

Being someone who, at age 17, owned a Volkswagen bus at a time when his friends were wet-dreaming Porsches, I can’t imagine any scenario in which I would throw $70-80K at a freaking car. (For the record, we had hella more fun in Bus than any of my friends “cool” pseudo-sports cars.)

But, 150% markup? Where’s the extra going? I’ll give you a clue: starts with a “g.”


I will stop whinging about prices. For a moment, anyway.

Coconut oil for sale, Atlántida, Uruguay


Five years ago, edible coconut oil simply was not available in Uruguay. Couple years ago, you could find it in health -oriented stores. Now you can buy it in Tienda Inglesa.

I took this picture because it seemed appallingly expensive. Turns out that yes, you can get it cheaper on the USA, but you can also pay more.




Géant — bargain shopping in Uruguay!

In case you hadn‘t guessed from my last post, I‘m being sarcastic. But that horrible restaurant‘s location in Carrasco does provide a key to bargain hunting: it‘s near the airport,* where you can catch a flight to Miami (or ironically cheaper, New York).

Though I don‘t normally talk about ridiculous prices in Uruguay (but yes, occasionally), even after five years I still find myself amazed by things like this (I trust you‘ll recognize the first as Amazon):



This is Géant, the French WalMart in Carrasco. I have pointed out the stupidity of their shopping cart system,  then mistakenly praised them  a few days ago(for something that was probably there all along, though I hadn‘t noticed it).

Yesterday I parked near the front end of the shopping-cart area, thinking I‘d be helpful and do as they say, taking a cart from the parking lot and returning it.

Géant shopping carts: hooked on LIFO

But no — apparently LIFO is still alive and well at Géant: you have to back a cart out from the other side. This is how people think here; people regularly “back out” carts at the local Tienda Inglesa, disrupting everyone in the store‘s worst checkpoint (on average; restocking employees regularly block aisles), rather than walk four meters further and take one from the front.

The good news: these carts with the chain through them will probably be in great condition ten years from now, having never been used!


* As we left the horrible “Chinese” restaurant, we saw the plane overhead carrying our friend to London, giving whom a ride to the airport was the reason for being there in the first place 😉