Classy may be too strong a word, but Tienda Inglesa has been for me the best of the handful of “large” (remember, Uruguay is small) supermarket chains in Uruguay. Back in 2012, Tienda Inglesa sold LED lights imported by Renovables S.A., a wide-ranging and impressive Uruguayan renewable energy business. The owner, Rolando Ringeltaube, told me how carefully their company monitored quality control in China. And, he told me, LED bulbs should have a life of 20 years. Which, considering the history of incandescent light bulbs, seems an unlikely…Continue Reading “Tienda Inglesa: from class to trash”

Yesterday evening, a Namibian farmer of German descent who relocated here showed me how the thorny branches of the two orange trees salvaged from my failed country growing attempt were in fact suckers, growing from the root stock, and would never contribute anything. I had no idea that orange trees were grafted! So those bits went away first thing this morning. Then to start the rounds: butcher, vegetable stand, plant some squash plants in the campo, report to the glass people that the window they…Continue Reading “A busy 24 hours”

I spent enough years in the USA to be predisposed to a gung-ho, get-it-done attitude, and a respect for quality products and services, so a couple of things here stand out for me. Tolerance of mediocrity: Chinese electric hand tools with a two-month warranty that cease operating after three, for example. Well, you might say, it’s poor country. And you’d be right. But you won’t find anyone here who disagrees that lo barato sale caro — false economy: cheap things end up being expensive. *Shrug*…Continue Reading “Es lo que hay, ¡Uruguay!”

No, not Bernie. I’m making another 1-meter hanging shelf for under the kitchen cabinets. I bought a piece of 1″ x 10″ pine, a bit longer than needed (so I can trim the ends square with my table saw, since the good ol’ boys at the aserradero don’t quite grasp the concept of “right angles”). Then, of course, there’s lots of sanding to get rid of various planer marks. Fortunately, I have a hand-held belt sander that makes quick work of such chores. At least until…Continue Reading “Sanders: my experience”

We bought a used gas barbecue grill without a functioning lighter. So I bought one of these for a few bucks. I was amazed how quickly it ran out of gas. Taking it apart, I see that, even though it has room for a regular lighter’s worth of gas, they’ve made the tank smaller. Because they can. Because you can’t see it. What a rip! So I’m back to turning on the gas and throwing a match through grill. *POOOMP*