Saturday, March 31, 2007
Friday, March 30, 2007
School's out and apparently everyone travels. Buenos Aires is a popular destination (although the Argentine piqueteros plan to block all the bridges between the two countries). Others head to the beach; I've heard that it's the only week the campground at Santa Teresa National Park is completely full.
Various festivals compete to attract visitors:
Paysandu hosts the 42nd annual Semana de Cerveza.
Montevideo holds the 82nd Semana Criolla - at the Prado.
Durazno has their Semana de la Juventud and
Treinta y Tres has the Festival Mastro Ruben Lena .
Tacuarembo re-scheduled their 18th Fiesta de la Patricia Gaucha to be on Tourism Week.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Bacalao is certainly very popular in Spain and Portugal and in their former colonies. Author, Mark Kurlansky suggests that the Basque discovered the Americas long before Columbus, but kept it secret to protect their source of bacalao.
In the store it's hard and dry, so it has to be soaked before cooking. Cooked, I find it inoffensive, but I haven't eaten enough of it to develop a real desire to make it.
I've seen it several times in the last few weeks in Montevideo. I'm not sure if it's the season (Lent and Easter) or if I just happened to notice it more. I don't think we'll be cooking it at home.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Not just parrilla
The food was good. The kim-chee was probably the spiciest food I'd eaten since coming to Uruguay. My favorite dish was the fried dumplings. Pictured here is the carne with vegetables in spicy sauce.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Rally de Florida
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007
Huevo de Codorniz
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Power of the Press
From El Pais:
"Remesas a Uruguay fueron de U$S 115:
Se prevé que sigan creciendo; en 2006 subieron un 62%
El envío de remesas a Uruguay "continuará creciendo" en el futuro debido a la suba en la emigración y a la "propensión" de las personas fuera del país a volcar dinero hacia su país, según el estudio Remesas en Uruguay de los economistas Fernando Borraz y Susan Pozo a cuyas conclusiones accedió El País."
From El Espectador
AUMENTARON REMESAS DE URUGUAYOS
Lo bien que viene
Los uruguayos radicados en el extranjero enviaron a sus familias remesas por 115 millones de dólares en 2006, lo que significa un incremento del 62 por ciento en comparación con 2005, de acuerdo a un estudio difundido.
En 2005 las remesas enviadas desde el exterior por los uruguayos ascendieron a 71,3 millones de dólares.
Según el estudio realizado por los economistas Fernando Borraz y Susan Pozo y difundido por El Espectador, al menos en un 2 por ciento de los hogares uruguayos se reciben remesas.
My wife is a bit upset by the errors. She and her co-researcher spent a good part of the day trying to contact the media and make corrections, without much success.
EL Pais does plan a longer article on their research in a few weeks.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Happy Birthday Tito!
Monday, March 19, 2007
The device in the picture is a small heater that holds a wafer of insecticide and plugs into an ordinary wall socket. We went to the Tienda Inglesa after we read the news and found a small crowd purchasing various anti-mosquito chemicals. The warnings on the insecticide box make me wonder which is worse-- the small risk of getting dengue or the small health risk from being exposed to the insecticide.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Carnaval, the real end
Here's a short video from the tablado:
Saturday, March 17, 2007
St Patrick's Day
Historically, Uruguay was a big exporter of corned beef to the British Isles with a major processing plant at Fray Bentos, but the only corned beef I've seen in Montevideo is in cans.
Happy St. Paddy's!
Friday, March 16, 2007
My in-laws just arrived in Uruguay and they brought replacement battery chargers for my cameras. The originals were "lost" from my checked baggage on an Aerolineas Argentinas flight between Ushuaia and El Calafate. After reading this post, I was happy I'd asked my relatives to carry them and I understood much better the tradition of pedidos.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Carnaval 2007 ends
The final performances of Carnaval were on Monday night. Yesterday was la noche de fallos when they determine the winners and losers. There was live TV coverage on two channels last night. It took hours to calculate all the points-- running into the early morning hours.
The winners were:
Murgas:Asaltantes con Patente
Humoristas: Sociedad Anónima
Negros y Lubolos: Yambo Kenia
I'd seen each of these groups at various tablados Here's a video of the first prize groups:
I'd already posted videos featuring Asaltantes con Patente
and Yambo Kenia. And one or more winning group appears in each of these videos: March 2 tablado, Tablado Tres Cruces, Carnaval Defensor Sporting and Tablado Defensor Sporting
More info? The official guide to Carnaval is a 75 page pdf file (in Spanish).
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Street corner marketing
The guys in the picture were part of the most sophisticated campaign I'd seen. They were at a traffic light near the beach and when the light changed they would enter the crosswalk and each of them would take a drink of Coke. Then they would turn to face the cars and their shirts would spell Ahhh! Then they held up their signs, saying "El lado Coca-Cola de la frescura" [The Coca-Cola side of freshness] all before the light changed. Then they'd go back to the sidewalk and wait for the next traffic cycle.
Monday, March 12, 2007
All the photos are shot from the air, usually from a helicopter. The exhibit is called "La Tierra Vista Desde El Cielo" [The earth seen from the sky]. There are pictures from all over the world, with a special section, running a block or so, of Uruguay photos.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Daylight Savings Time, otra vez
Bush was fairly well-received in Uruguay. In my neighborhood, people lined the sidewalks to watch him arrive. Most were simply curious to see "the most powerful man in the world" & didn't seem to be politically motivated one way or the other. There were protests downtown with Bush burned in effigy and McDonald's windows being smashed. (Some Uruguayans blamed the vandalism on Argentine agitators.) Uruguayans give Bush substantial credit for US financial assistance during Uruguay's 2002 economic crisis.
The meetings between Bush and Uruguay's president, Tabaré Vázquez, seemed very amiable but nothing of substance was announced. The two presidents ate parrilla de cordero (grilled lamb) at Vázquez's estancia. Bush brought a complete barbecue set as a gift to Uruguay's president. Vázquez's gifts to Bush included a gaucho belt and boots. As Bush left, he reportedly said to Vázquez, "If you need any help, grab the phone and call me."
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Palo Borracho in bloom
Friday, March 09, 2007
Bush visits Uruguay
Montevideans are talking a lot about US security for this visit. Apparently 2500 military and security people appeared in the city earlier this week. The Uruguayans describe them as "big, tall, and fat." Lots of military hardware arrived in huge cargo planes. I'm told that US air power, for this temporary visit, outdoes the Uruguayan Air Force.
Bush isn't popular in Uruguay but there's not much anti-American sentiment here. (Of course, Bush is not popular in the US either.) His visit is an attempt to repair US relations with Latin America and to reduce the influence of Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
And I have a photo album of various carnival events.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Years ago, in Spain, we discovered the incompatibility between European video tapes and US video tapes. A few days ago, in Uruguay, I discovered the modern equivalent-- DVD regions. Unlike the older problem, DVD incompatibilites were created intentionally by Hollywood and forced on hardware manufacturers around the world.
We joined a video club in Montevideo and had rented a few DVDs and watched them on our laptop, without problem. My daughter selected another movie recently and when we put it in the computer, it didn't play. Instead, a warning screen appeared saying she couldn't watch the movie since it was from the wrong region.
But, no problem, the screen would let us switch to Region 4 (Latin America and Australia) with the click of a button. But there was a catch-- a significant catch-- the region could only be changed 4 times and then our computer's DVD drive would be locked into that region. This meant that in less than a week, switching between DVDs we'd brought from the US and the local rental ones, we could cripple our computer forever.
At first I thought this was a Microsoft issue and that I could just download a patch to fix the region problem, but the restrictive code is built into the hardware (firmware) so patches are risky. I wondered if this would be another reason to buy an Apple computer, but Apple computers have the same problem.
This is a strange way to treat legitimate customers-- prevent them from using your product. Paranoia over piracy seems to have caused Hollywood to decide that all of its customers are criminals.
Is this a good business model? I don't think so. For me, it means we won't buy any DVDs for the rest of the year-- either from the US or from Uruguay. The Uruguay ones won't work when we move back to the US and the US ones won't work here.
Does it prevent piracy? No, not in the least. In fact it probably encourages it. It's easier and probably cheaper to buy pirated DVDs at the Feria Tristán Narvaja than it is to rent them at my neighborhood video store. Or just download anything using BitTorrent. By making it so hard for customers to watch movies legally, the companies create big incentives to become pirates.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Kids and Carnaval
At Friday's tablado at Club Defensor Sporting the kids were having their faces painted during the pausa.
Here's a short video:
Monday, March 05, 2007
Tablado otra vez
I left around 1 am, after the fourth group, trying to make an early night of it. I got to my car just as it started to rain hard. I turned the key only to discover I had forgotten to turn off the headlights when I parked and the battery was dead.
I walked to a nearby gas station but they couldn't help, so I walked home in the rain, woke up my wife and she called an auxilio. Then I caught a cab back to Defensor Sporting and waited for the tow truck. The driver was friendly and helpful and my car started easily. 250 pesos seemed like a good deal.
The tablado featured La Margarita, Bafo y sus Mulatas, Sociedad Anonima, and Falta y Resto. Here's a short video:
La Margarita was the opening group at Saturday's tablado at Defensor Sporting Club.
See this short video from their performance:
Gran Premio del Uruguay
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Falta y Resto
See the Falto y Resto website.
They were back at Defensor Sporting club on Saturday, so I had the opportunity to watch their whole set.
Here's a video of their despedido:
Agarrate Catalina was the closing act at Friday's tablado at Defensor Sporting Club. I'd enjoyed seeing them at the Teatro de Verano and I also liked seeing them on the neighborhood stage. It's a different experience being close enough to see their expressions.
Here's my video of Agarrate Catalina.
Here's a video from Friday's tablado at Defensor Sporting club:
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Tren del Fin del Mundo
Friday, March 02, 2007
I think these are Chilean Flamingos. There are two other species of flamingo that live in the Andes.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
The prison closed in the 1940s and the building now holds the Museo Maritimo, with various exhibits in the small cells. The old prison railway, used to transport prisoners to the nearby forests to cut lumber, has been rebuilt as a tourist attraction complete with workers in period uniforms.
Tourism is now the main industry, with a substantial number of Antarctic cruises leaving from Ushuaia's port.
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