Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Buen ano!

Tonights the big night! Montevideo will be ablaze in fireworks, wish
everyone could be here and see it! I see a cruise ship that I had seen
on a travel show pull into port today. During the show the ship was at
Punta del Este for New Years eve, looks like this time it's Montevideo.

I am going to the same place for a party and fireworks from the
rooftop. The lady hosting the party showed me her arsenal and wow! She
has these rockets that look like 40 ounce beer bottles attached to 3
foot sticks! I asked if I could contribute but she said no, just bring
more fireworks! So I went around the corner and bought a couple
packages of smaller bottle rockets.

Wish I had someway of videotaping the mayhem tonight, but alas I am
without a camera.

Till next year!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Another long walk and refreshing rain

Took another long walk to Mercado del Puerto, really don't know exactly
how far it is. Hot, sunny, I should have worn sunscreen. The city was
a ghost town compared to the last time I did the walk. Why? Everyone
took Friday off and went to Punta del Este, the beach resort.

We had a short rain shower today, nice, cooled off the temperature and
there was this nice clean smelling breeze that came through the apartment.

Just relaxing now.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas in Montevideo

Feliz Navidad! It's 10:30am local time (GMT -2) and it's 77 degrees and
cloudy. Last night went to a Christmas party complete with great
international food, fireworks and a potato gun, huh?

I had never seen a potato gun myself, here are the directions
We went to the beach, loaded up the spuds, sprayed in the hairspray and
screwed in the igniter, FIRE IN THE HOLE! goes the cry, plop, goes the
spud. The someone shouts, "It's Uruguayan hair spray!", LOL, didn't
have enough flammable content. Swapping to some better hair spray and
the spud flew several hundred yards to the water! It was very funny.
Eventually the igniter gave out on us and the fun was over.

The fireworks were funny as well, we called them "Chinese knock offs of
Chinese fireworks", some of them just did the most crazy things.

Come midnight the entire city erupted in fireworks, we walked to the
beach and we could see the fireworks at Punta del Este almost 50 miles away!

The Southern Cross was visible last night over the water. It was a nice
night, mostly.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Feliz Fiestas!

80 degrees and sunny, Christmas eve in Montevideo. The fireworks are
beginning to pop here and there, tonight the fireworks will be in full
force. I know, Christmas eve fireworks? I guess it's a South American

We got off work early today, good thing as it was a ghost town. Small
party around close of business, there will be others. In fact I am
getting ready to go to one now. There will be good food, and then hours
of Rock Band on Wii!

Oh, Feliz Fiestas, yep, Happy Parties, thats another thing they say here!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The ladies at the hair salon

I go to a small hair salon around the corner from my apartment once a
month for a haircut. Always funny as I don't speak Spanish well and
they don't speak English. I do know they talk about me as I hear them
say "He doesn't speak Spanish" and they wonder if I'm Chinese. Today
the lady cutting my asked me if I spoke "any" Spanish to which told her
a little. Well as it turns out a lady at the hair salon spoke English
and now the ladies who worked there finally had their chance to ask me
questions, any kids, where am I from (Of course), where do I work. It
made the awkward silence I usually spend there much easier.

Book corner - Finished Reading

This Man's Army - A Soldiers Story From the Front Lines of the War on
Terrorism by Andrew Exum
Paperback 248 pages

I was expecting an action packed book full of good war stories, instead
it just seemed like a book full of an officer in a boys club. Not
worth reading at all.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Book corner - Finished reading

The OSS Double Agents by W.E.N Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV
Paperback 426 pages

I liked this book. The authors took some little known facts from WWII
and weaved them into this novel that carried just enough suspense,
intrigue and romance to have you flipping pages all night! Worth
reading : )

You may have noticed by now that I'm not exactly a book critic.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The air conditioner comes on!

I had managed to live without turning on my air conditioners until
today. Hot, really hot! In fact I drew the curtains, brought in the
cats and turned on the frio!
It was in the low 80's today, right now it's 74F.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Magic cat

As I'm getting ready to go to bed I do a cursory look around the bedroom
for any cats and I shut the door. The bedroom door squeaks a bit along
the frame when you shut it or open it when it's shut. I lie down, pick
up my book and look down and there's Tawny. Strange, but I guess I
missed her. Picked her up opened the door "squeak", put her out, shut
the door "squeak". Get in bed, pick up my paperback and look down and
there's Tawny! I felt goosebumps, I actually questioned my sanity for a
second. I picked her up, opened the door "squeak", put her and shut the
door "squeak". I told myself, I definitely closed the door, I did hear
it squeak.
Got in bed, picked up my book and looked down and there's Tawny! Now,
I'm really freaking out, whats going on? To which I finally realized
there had to be a logical explanation, oh like the sliding glass door
was open! Every time I put her out she went to the living room, went
through that sliding glass door, and back to the bedroom. Usually when
I have the bedroom door open I hear street noise and shut it, but last
night nothing.

Magic cat indeed!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Book corner - finished reading

Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward
Hardcover - 466 pages

An interesting look into the behind the scenes look of the plans for the
Operation Iraqi Freedom. Worth reading for you history buffs.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Seventysix trombones in the big parade

Well maybe not that many. I walked to the rambla last night to see the
fireworks, which pretty much is Noche de las luces. The crowds were big
and migrating towards Poictos, but some people just grabbing some lawn
and settling in. The sound of sirens, could it be the start of the
parade? People get up and walk to the street and wait, no it's just
police motorcycles escorting an ambulance, but why go sit down, maybe
the parade will start soon. Minutes go by and more sirens, could this
be it? Here comes a police on a motorcycle, then a Coca Cola delivery
truck with a big Feliz Navidad ad the side with Papa Noel drinking Coca
Cola, then comes a large truck with people dressed as elves and Papa
Noel waving, then two more large trucks with platforms and large
speakers, one would think that there would have been entertainers, but
no, just empty platforms, then came the Channel 11 news truck.

Fortunately the fireworks were very nice, it was very windy and some of
the fireworks flew very close where I was. I brought my binoculars so I
could see the fireworks close up.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Doc's big adventure

Yesterday I started off the weekend with a Christmas party at the big
guys house. Was pretty neat complete with an opera singer who sand
Christmas songs. It was beautiful when she sang Silent Night in
Spanish. The food was great and wasn't a very long night.

Went home and slept fairly well, waking up around 3:30 in the morning
and proceeded to watch TV. One of my favorite movies came on, Eternal
Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I watched it and went to bed, slept in late.

Today decided to go for a walk to Mercado del Puerto which is at the
other end of the city. Those of you who have kept up with my blog know
I have done this before. It was a nice walk, not much different than a
walk back home on the boardwalk, less the dog poop and dead chicken
(Sangria sacrifice).

Arrived at Mercado del Puerto is was very busy. I had no intention of
eating there as it's rather expensive. Thought it was funny that the
largest crowd of young people was at the last vendor inside, empanada's
(Think little Hot Pockets) for 25 pesos, LOL!

Walked into the old city and the first thing that greeted me was dancers
in traditional clothing of some unknown country and live band. The
dancing was wonderful but they sure looked hot. I felt sorry for them
as they only had a little bottle of water that they were sharing amongst
each other in little dixie cups! My best guess is they were Paraguayan,
possibly Peruvian. I am going to research the outfits.

Walking further into the old city I came across the museum of Uruguay.
Spent some time there, it was free : )

Stumbled upon a park with vendors setup everywhere selling everything
from crafts to old things. There was also a country band and line
dancers, rather unique to Montevideo.

I caught the 104 bus wanting to see how close it went to my apartment, I
figured I at least knew one of it's stops, problem was it didn't go that
way. That's okay, I rode it to the end of the line which stopped at a
shopping center I had never visited. It's the largest store in
Montevideo, much like Wal Mart. I didn't go inside but grabbed a
chirico sandwich and drink from a vendor and caught another bus back to
the old city.

Walked around some more and got an ice cream. Saw some people sitting
in the middle of the main drag, blocking one of the lanes but at a
location that traffic could go around by turning right and going around
a park. That was nice of them. Of course curiosity got the best of me,
wanted to know what they were protesting. All I know is that they were
Communist youth, enough for me!

Caught another bus going the other direction, rode it to the end of the
line, it took me to Playa Pocitos. It was packed, people getting a good
place for the fireworks at 9:30 (It was 7:00). I would have waited but
there was a bit of a chill in the air and my feet was killing me. The
rambla was closed so no buses that took that route. I grabbed a taxi
and went home.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Noche de las Luces - festival-of-the-lights manana

It's going to be crazy and I plan to be there! Last year the rambla was
packed solid and the fireworks went on forever. This time I'm going to
leave a little earlier. Wish I was invited to one of the folks who live
in an apartment on the rambla! Best view in the house and don't have to
deal with the crowds.

Blonde's need not apply

I was talking to a lady from work who is very blond, much more blond
than any Uruguayan! So she tells me that she is going to stop walking
to and from work as she has been harassed to many times and she was
concerned for her safety. When she told me where she mostly gets
harassed I was surprised, the hill by the engineering school. In the
mornings I occasionally see some transients when I walk to work, they
are usually sleeping or just waking up, mostly there are taxi drivers in
the parking lot waiting for a dispatch and talking. In the afternoon
though it can be anything. Kids smoking pot, people relaxing in shady
spots, friends just getting together.
Mix all those people together and a very blond American woman walks by,
I can foresee some catcalls etc. from the peanut gallery.

It's to bad as she enjoys walking to work.

In the entire time I've been here I have only been approached once and
that was for a light.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Effortless Tomatos

Another year of very small tomatoes and absolutely no effort put into
growing them. In fact, I didn't even pick them. If my housekeeper
hadn't picked them and brought them in I wouldn't have even known I had
any! They are about the size of peas though, LOL!
My Dad has a green thumb, I wonder if I have the gene?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Opera 10.0 Beta musings

I am testing Opera 10.0 Beta, first thing I noticed is that it wiped out
all of my RSS feeds, that was a bummer the other thing is the Yahoo
homepage doesn't like it, won't recognize it!

I went to to see how that showed up, does anyone even go to anymore? Funny thing I found on the bottom of the page an offer
for MSN dial up, first month free then $17.95 a month!


The cruise ships arrive

This morning I saw a cruise ship pulling into port as I walked into
work, really is a neat sight. Apparently a Norwegian Cruise Lines
arrived yesterday.
Sometimes I see them and think I'd really like to be on board, relaxing,
eating, reading. Someday!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Crazy bites or scratches on my arm

I have no idea where they came from but my right arm has scratches or
bites from the back of my hand to my elbow. It isn't itchy, I don't
recall any of the cats doing it. Just weird!

Balcony weather and street weather

How to guess the weather? If I go out onto my balcony (Facing the
street) it always appears cooler than it is, go down to the street and
that's the real deal.
From my balcony today one would have thought I needed a long sleeved
shirt, not so when I went to the street! Sunny and hot!
Went to Parque Rodo to find a shady spot top read. Why shady spot?
Because I got sunburned yesterday on the beach!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Nice day to relax on the beach

I took the day off as I had some compensatory hours due to me. Nice day
to take too! Sunny, warm and not to windy. Walked to the beach with
one of the books I'm reading and stayed for awhile. Some tourist kids
showed up, not Uruguayan, possibly Paraguayan, they didn't look
Uruguayan or Argentine. They were enjoying the beach as were four stray
dogs chasing each other up and down the beach. Two of the dogs were
very nice looking, two were mutts. I wouldn't be surprised if someone
was looking for any or all of them.

I saw a cruise ship out in the distance the other day, probably be a
common site soon,