a journal of observations, obsessions and inspirations

musings on the artist's life

Posted in: Uruguay

Taxi! Taxi!

One day in Montevideo, my Spanish class ended two hours earlier than usual, at 3 pm. Generally, we just call for a taxi – that means Juan calls for a taxi, as talking on the phone is still beyond my skill level and ability to understand! – and several minutes later, there it is. But the shift ends at 3 for all the regular drivers, so none were available. It[…]

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Posted in: Uruguay

Stay safe, Montevideo

City sidewalk with broken sections, Montevideo, Uruguay

Have you traveled to large cities before? I’ve been to New York and Chicago, London and Barcelona and Moscow. I’ve never felt in any danger there, but I’m a careful traveler. Smart at home, too, whatever city that might be. Before my first trip to Uruguay, I read dozens of articles. A lot of blog posts. Many of them talked about safety, the crime rate in Montevideo, escalation of same,[…]

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Posted in: Uruguay

Montevideo’s distinctive architecture

architectural detail of elaborate door frame, Montevideo, Uruguay

City buildings are a mix of readily identifiable designs, spanning more than a century. As in any big city, sometimes you have to look for the treasure amid the everyday, but you don’t have to do it on your own. Guru’guay (the absolute best site for what’s going on and what’s recommended) has unearthed a little-known gem of an architectural guide to the city. Take a look at details about[…]

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Posted in: Uruguay

The feria

Wednesday, so it’s feria day in the part of town where I’m staying. The farmers market takes over the streets, starting about half a block from the house and extending 3 city blocks, both sides of the street. Trucks and hand trolleys, crates and canopies. Setup is underway by 9 in the morning, though that’s pretty early for Uruguayans. But it wasn’t overly crowded then so I could explore. Dozens[…]

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Posted in: Uruguay

The bookstore

Fue a la libreria. Had to ask for algunos libros en dos idiomas, on facing pages (suggested by my teacher) so got the Dickens and London short stories, with corresponding CD. Muy importante leer y escuchar. Also picking up some young person’s books, age 6 or 7 or 8, for stories I can read and (mostly) understand. Not toddlers’ picture books with only a few words on a page. Small[…]

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Posted in: Uruguay

Estoy aprendiendo español

Mi profesor, Juan, patiently writing out my lessons at Spanish Uruguay School. The best part is the first half hour of our class meeting, where we just talk. I get practice listening and trying to come up with the vocabulary to say what I mean. It can be a recitation of what I did that morning (going to the farmacia) or questions about customs or history of Uruguay, or traveling[…]

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Posted in: Uruguay

Visit to the farmacia

Today I went to the farmacia all by myself to get sunscreen – crema protector solar. Asked for what I wanted, how much it cost, all that. Talking to BF on Skype afterwards, he asks, “You did that in Spanish??” Well, duh. What else? The farmacia is more like a “drugstore” in the US, with skin care products and makeup, nail polish, chewing gum, band-aids and similar stuff. They also[…]

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Posted in: Uruguay

Business as usual

Still handling some loose ends from EE.UU. Yesterday had an email with an attachment that needed to be unzipped, printed, filled out and signed, then faxed back. You’d think the university system would have online forms, but noooo. After numerous discussions, Lillián (amazingly kind and wonderful madre de mi host familia) said there was a place nearby where we could do that. I’m pretty sure my limited Spanish didn’t fully[…]

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Posted in: Uruguay

First view of Montevideo

First day of Spanish class. Lillián went with me in a taxi to show me how to get there. And to get a quick look at part of the city, too. Kami’s photographs of Montevideo are terrific. And on this morning’s ride, I’d agree: “Lively but not overwhelming. And it kind of looked like the time has stopped there but at the same time it felt really modern. The sun[…]

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Posted in: Uruguay

Departure

Flew out of Lindbergh Field and some 26 hours of travel later, I’m in Montevideo, putting my feet up at casa de mi “host” famlia for the next 4 weeks. Getting here was half the fun. Three of the smoothest flights I’ve ever had plus 2 even smoother touchdowns. Mechanical issues had delayed the flight from Houston to Panama City, leaving me with about 11 minutes to make my connection.[…]

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