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

21 reasons for Uruguay, or 8 why it’s not all that?

A follower of our Uruguay Expat Life page on Facebook asked me to comment on this Global Post article 8 reasons Uruguay’s not all that; as a counterpoint to the Buzzfeed 21 reasons to move to Uruguay one that went viral last month.

Other than that he was kind of setting up the strawman fallacy, with that “in light of the Buzzfeed”, because I never said I really liked that Buzzfeed. I don’t. The Buzzfeed piece was a snarky silly goof article on unimportant stuff, because, Buzzfeed. I made fun of it at the time in various places, on some networks shared it much like a “Mujica smoking out in sandals” goof. Lisa and I shared it, but for fun. The articles shared about ratings on peace, freedom, economic stability, the Economist country of the year, the Economist’s good but not top level rank on countries likely to have protests – sure, serious discussions. But that Buzzfeed 21 reasons most involving pot, sandals, and what’s ol’ Tio Pepe growing out on his flower farm? But this Global post article is nearly as bogus non-serious as that. Or if the author of it, currently living in Uruguay, is, I have to say, “Surely you can’t be serious” about some of his complaint. Not all, but, the Post Office lines? Using this picture as argument?

A bunch of packages, 3 people, and actually nobody waiting in line.
Post offices everywhere. This one happens to be in Uruguay. That’s your argument?

I actually agree with much of this Global Post piece. But it, itself, is also a bit of a strawman fallacy. Which is why I don’t like all of it, but it’s a good “Whiny part-BS article” counterpoint to “Silly part-BS article”. Continue reading 21 reasons for Uruguay, or 8 why it’s not all that?

Smells like Uruguay, feels like home

Reblogging this to our Uruguay Expat Life site from my personal Author Hub blog, Falling Off the Hemisphere. This will fit, somewhere, in my forthcoming book of the same title. Which is, for your info, highly political and opinionated, more so than what I normally post here or at our other sites within our Uruguay Expat Life / Uruguay For Me site network. But you can’t really discuss reasons for feeling more or less at home, reasons for expatriation/immigration, reasons why a place once visited becomes a place called “home”, without touching on the politico-economic issues of the Global North and the emerging Global South.

Here’s a snippet, with the rest at the link: http://www.fallingoffthehemisphere.com/2013/09/uruguay-feels-like-home/

When you come to Uruguay, it seems foreign. More so than the busy place from which you arrive here.

Deco/Fascist Progress-style mural of naked man and woman forging the tools and edifices of "Modern Civilization"

Welcome to Colonia and Glorious Uruguayan Progress, Compañeros!

Most English-speaking visitors get their first taste of my new country from a day-trip by ferry out of Buenos Aires, that chaotic, dirty, noisy, uproarious, wonderfully gigantic capital of tango and drama.

As such, the quiet cobblestone streets, the Portuguese colonization ruins, even the Deco-like naked female muse of a mural on the main street of the new part of Colonia del Sacramento, feel like stepping into “the real South America”, some gringo daydream of “the other”. The pervasive smell of the wood fires, from richly pungent woods like eucalyptus and “leña colorada”, burning year-round for both cooking and heating, making it “smell like Uruguay”, as a uruguaya friend of my family once said.

But that’s judging the USA by Plimouth Plantation or Colonial Williamsburg, sans period-costume actors doing “recreations”…

Continue reading at FallingOffTheHemisphere.com.

Get your dancin’ shoes on! It’s “Noche de Nostalgia” in Uruguay!

Every August 24, Uruguay celebrates the Night of Nostalgia. Filled with dancing and lots of “American Oldies”. No, I have no idea why! Other than it’s the night before our National Independence Day. (Well, before one of them. Uruguayan independence was a bit tricky…) So hey, party!

Image of promotional announcement:
Nostalgia Night 2013 at the Atántida Country Club, from their Facebook Page

It’s origins are vague, as this Wikipedia article on Nostalgia Night notes. But it’s fun. Continue reading Get your dancin’ shoes on! It’s “Noche de Nostalgia” in Uruguay!

Big Mamma Cafe Montevideo

As much as I whine about leaving the tranquility of Atlantida and taking the never-ending bus ride into the big city, we always find a new restaurant that makes it worth the trip. Read about the Big Momma Cafe and Bar in Montevideo! And while you’re at it, learn about Uruguayan poet and writer Mario Benedetti.

a picture of a Montevideo restaurant interior
Big Momma Cafe celebrates Mario Benedetti