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Friday 26 August 2016

Pictures From Uruguay

Time for some more pictures from Uruguay!

So, all of these pics today are from the corner about a block from The Abbey (for any newcomers, that's the name of my current stately manor).

First off, the corner flower stall:

You see these type of flower stalls all over town, and of course, all the flowers are local from the region.

Next up, the building behind it on the first picture.  That's the Esmeralda:

The Esmeralda is a "Confiteria", a place that specializes in sandwiches, drinks, and especially pastries. The Esmeralda is one of the most famous in town. Its sandwiches are good, it's little pastries are amazing, and they have a lunch known as a 'picada' (a selection of little dishes with a variety of different cold and hot foods) that is just amazing.  For many years, they were also known as "the place with the black waiter". That sounds pretty awful, but I suppose several decades ago it was unheard of to have a black man working as a waiter in a fancy confiteria, and the Esmeralda was the first one to do so.  The waiter is still there. Nice guy.

Next up, the corner of the Esmeralda, and a street performer:

This guy has been juggling in this exact same corner, sometimes dressed up in a clown costume and sometimes not, for at least 13 years.  How do I know? See the blue building in the background to the right? That's the Midas Building, which was the first place I lived when I got to Uruguay. And this dude has been busking in that corner from way back then.

A note about this neighborhood, the Cordon (which I may have already said in this series, but I'll repeat it again): when I got here, this was the first neighborhood I lived in.  Back then, it was a very quiet place, with a population of mostly old people.  Everyone I ever mentioned my address to would tell me "oh, my grandma lives around there"! I was surrounded by grandmas.

After a few years, I moved away, to my second place, a penthouse in the Andes Building, downtown. I lived there for several years, but then finally decided to buy a place, and settled on The Abbey, back in the Cordon, less than two blocks from my old apartment. But I found that the neighborhood had changed dramatically!  Now it was full of 20- and 30-somethings, young mostly middle-class artsy types who wanted to be closer to the downtown core than their parents' places, and came over in droves to the the refurbished quirky old houses (like The Abbey).  They started opening up restaurants, clubs, second-hand stores, art and craft stores, bookstores, yoga studios, cafes, artisanal ice-creameries and more. Now it seems like there's a new business opening here every week, and while the Cordon still has its share of grannies, it's seeing more bearded hipsters on bicycles riding around its streets every day. It has become Montevideo's answer to Brooklyn.

Some of the old ladies complain about the noise around the bars at night, but I'm pretty damn pleased. It's become much closer to the type of neighborhoods I always liked to live in, and the trendiness has undoubtedly helped out the property value of The Abbey too.

So next up, notice those weird poles in the background of the last picture?

That's what the Commie city hall considers "art".  When I lived in the Midas building, that spot had a large signpost that featured an alternating digital-clock/thermometer, which was very convenient as I could look out my window and know the time, and especially, how hot or cold it was outside. But a few years ago City Hall decided that this wasn't "cultural" enough, so they tore that down and put up that bunch of metal rods that passes for "art". Fuck's sake.

Thank Christ for street art, which shows actual fucking creativity. If we had to depend on the marxists we'd be screwed.


Currently Smoking: Italian Redbark + Argento Latakia

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