Random Cultural Observations about everyday life in Uruguay

Four or five years in, some everyday culture observations about life in Uruguay. Nothing earth-shattering, maybe not even important, but some hopefully-useful, “Hmm, that’s a little different, wonder if I’ll like that?” points. These are, by nature of who we are and where we’re from originally, from the perspective of “Northerners”, “Westerners”, and that particular part of that often called (and inaccurately overstated as) “Americans”. As in, “USAians”, for which while  there is no real word in English, there is the perfectly good and accurate “estadosunidense” en español.

A off-the-cuff post, to relaunch our much-delayed resumed publishing here on the site (we’ve been plenty active on our various Social Media parts of the Uruguay Expat Life & Uruguay For Me network – all available from the menu and sidebar for you to discover and join in!)

Here we go, in no particular order: Continue reading Random Cultural Observations about everyday life in Uruguay

Crime increasing in Uruguay, expect electoral consequences

Brazen Crime Increasing:

Like it or not, the “rightwing” party is likely to win Uruguay’s presidential election in October, and here’s more evidence why: Increasing street crime in Uruguay, especially in and around the capital, Montevideo. In the latest brazen event, the Ambassador of Paraguay, out on his late-afternoon walk on the Rambla (the seaside walk) in a very posh section of Montevideo, was robbed and seriously injured.

Entryway of the Paraguay embassy, showing a wooden stairway to a recessed door on a white stucco building, with the flag of Paraguay to the right side of the stairway
Embassy of Paraguay in Montevideo, Uruguay. ©El Pais

 

Article is from Uruguay’s leading paper, El País.

Our Election Analysis:

Why do we at the Uruguay Expat Life / Uruguay For Me site network, share this and make that observation on what we think the election outcome will be? Not because El País has a traditional-rightwing editorial view, because this is a news report, not editorial, and is quite objective and factual. Rather, because there’s an increasing disgust in Uruguay among Uruguayans themselves about the level of street crime and home invasion crime. Like it or not, when crime goes up, the party in power gets blamed. The Frente Amplio has been in control of the Presidency for nearly 10 years now, two full terms, and in control of the congress as well.

The candidate standing, dressed in a dark suit and open-neck white shirt, wearing a Uruguayan flag lapel pin.
Frente Amplio Candidate Tabaré Vásquez.
©Fabio Pozzebom/ABr – Agência Brasil via Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-3.0-br

Plus, the official policy of outgoing-in-March President Mujica, as well as still leading-in-polls candidate, the FA’s Tabaré Vázquez (First president from the FA in the 2005-2010 term from the 2009 campaign), is to oppose lowering of the “Age of Impunity”*- the age of criminal responsibility as an adult, down to 16 from its present 18.

Whether in USA, Australia, UK, or here in Uruguay, when crimes get so violent and increase in prevalence, people want punishment. Even if these perpetrators (one is in detention) are over 18 (unknown from this article), it adds to the “FA soft on crime, Blancos tough on crime” mindset. Continue reading Crime increasing in Uruguay, expect electoral consequences

A Lovely Fall Day Wrapping Up Tourism Week

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Beautiful Saturday of the weekend wrapping up Tourism Week. That’s what secular Uruguay calls Holy Week, because we actually have full separation of religion from government here.

Edit: more context on Uruguay as secular nation. Which means all are free to worship, or not, as they see fit. None may impose on others, especially not the government and the general culture. Our friends at the relatively new and excellent blog Guru’guay explain why Uruguay calls it Tourism Week.

Even with our country being secular, the Catholic, Protestant, Anglican, Mormon Churches will be full of Easter celebrants. Whilst not making agnostics, atheists, pagans, nontheistic faith believers such as Buddhists and Taoists, or followers of other branches of the monotheistic Abrahamic faiths uncomfortable from pushing a majority culture onto them. Uruguay does have small but active Jewish, Islamic, and Bahá’í Faith communities, which are the other three major parts of the Abrahamic monotheistic faith traditions in addition to the various flavors of Christianity. A Buddhist temple in the interior. Not to forget the many worshipers of Iemanja, goddess of the sea. Seems eminently respectful and downright “love thy neighbor” to me, to keep things officially secular. Everyone gets to choose.

We still have flowers on some of the lovely decorative trees and bushes in the neighborhood. The weather here in coastal Uruguay has been a bit chilly at night (enough with the “It’s not Chile, it’s Uruguay” bit, Lisa!) – as low as 8C, but about 15-20 days still. Think mid-60s during the day, if you’re from Fahrenheit-ville. The seasons are definitely changing, but it’s still lovely most of the time.

Edit: Added a few more pix that I had on my phone. The phone’s WordPress app is a little bit skittish about multi-photo posts. Added them from the computer. In the gallery after the break. Continue reading A Lovely Fall Day Wrapping Up Tourism Week

Fall punctuated by rainbow

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Autumn is definitely here in Uruguay. Sun setting early evening and light at low angle by mid-afternoon. Chilly at night and sometimes by day. I used the Supergas-fired estufa, large non-electric space heater, for the first time this year today when I got up, to take the chill off the living room. We’ve had the split aire acondicionado on in mild heating “Auto” mode the last few nights.

But sometimes there is beauty in the onset of the darkness. Continue reading Fall punctuated by rainbow

Today on Uruguay Flooded Life

Car nose-down in flooded and overlflowing drainage ditch
That’s the end of block, right at the corner of our shared yard.

The rains continue. Tormenta electrica sin fin. The drainage canals along the main road at the end of our street are totally overflowed. And apparently Uruguayans are no better than Los Angeles residents at driving in rain.
Continue reading Today on Uruguay Flooded Life