Get personal advice on Uruguay living and travel – Now at Plansify!

We at Uruguay Expat Life & Uruguay For Me enjoy sharing our experiences, creating internet communities where other folks considering life in Uruguay gather to chat, and meeting and conversing with other expats, immigrants, slow travelers, who may be wondering if Uruguay is for them. That’s why we created and offer so many different free options for online community, like all the ones in our menu up top. Including the very popular Uruguay Expat Life Community on the Google social platform. We will continue to curate and encourage these communities, post our own observations here at the heart of our site network and on our social media sites, and encourage everyone to contribute. Lisa Mercer and I also get a lot of emails, private messages, and contact form responses, and we’re happy to give some quick info.

Sometimes what you need is more than just public social media and blog discussions, more than a short general reply to an email. When it comes to asking “Is Uruguay for me?”, that requires research, perspective, advice, and on-the-ground knowledge. Same with figuring out all the various travel alternatives and ways to maximize frequent flyer programs and schemes to afford the multiple trips you really should do before committing to live here. Now we have a way to help you with those details, via Plansify.

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I (Mark Mercer) am thrilled and honored to have been invited by famous travel blogger / entrepreneur “Wandering Earl” to be one of the Travel Advisors at Plansify.com, and it’s now live! You can book your consultation with me right now. Continue reading Get personal advice on Uruguay living and travel – Now at Plansify!

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

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.

Reblogging a great “culture clash” post from “I Was an Expat Wife”

Reblogging this from an expat blog I just discovered via the WordPress.com Reader category feed. We’re self-hosted, not at WordPress.com, but we integrate with them. I was scanning their “Expat Life” blogs topic stream, and came across a blog named I Was an Expat Wife. Now normally I wouldn’t read that kind of expat blog, because A) We don’t really cater here to the “Trailing Spouse” expat type, we’re more the DIY low-budget expat/immersion audience, and B) usually I find that type of title is from a bloggy whiner about how she misses her washing machine from back in the UK or Australia, or everything in Uruguay is crap except for Punta del Este. Or both.

stock photo of woman looking through binoculars directly at viewerBut that’s not the case with Maria Foley’s blog – it’s quite self-aware, helpful, non-home-culture-centric, and a fun, informative read. Her post I’m sharing is aptly titled, The illusion of the “similar culture”. I recommend anybody thinking about expatriation, emigration to a new land as a immigrant, or immersion travel, give it a read.

Great examination of the culture shock of expatriation, even if to a same-language culture. Or from your home “Western” culture to another, hey, how hard could it be? Former “expat wife” Maria gives examples of exactly how hard it can be. As do her commenters, be sure to read them!

I’ll add a handful of Uruguay culture examples Continue reading Reblogging a great “culture clash” post from “I Was an Expat Wife”

Uruguay is Going Green – with Red Animals!

I love our new country, and most everything about the lifestyle and pace of living. However, Uruguay has not always been “green” in the ecological sense, compared to some countries.

Many “green shoots” however, including this exhibit of fantastic scuptures of animals with water bottles and various other eco-gear on them, made from recycled plastics. The dogs, cats, and frogs invaded Montevideo’s Carrasco International Airport last spring in November. I took these photos when I was there waiting for the rental car to arrive.

Eco-pop art at the airport

 

Reusing bags, repurposing disposable packaging, making recycling available, and doing something about the damn fumes from uncontrolled diesel emissions are some areas that still need work. When our friend Julie R. Butler wrote her book Nine Months in Uruguay: Past, Present, Progress, she mentioned that in La Paloma’s supermarket, they looked at her funny and joked when she went their with their reusable shopping bags.

Lisa Marie and I spent some time in La Paloma as part of our Uruguay Reality-Check Trip™ and shopped in that store. Nope, no reusable bags. But that was May 2011. Continue reading Uruguay is Going Green – with Red Animals!