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March 29, 2008 - Colonias, Uruguay

Written by GingerBlossom Published in
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These last three days have been spent soaking up the cleanliness and tranquility. I´m off to Asuncion, Paraguay on Tuesday, and the Asuncion that I remember from twenty years ago was anything but clean and quiet. I hope to be surprised, but I doubt it.

Having heard from James at CBC that duties on sheepskin are not bad, it seems that the Patagonia order is a go. I´ll try to finish that up when I´m back in Argentina.
Today is the 29th day of the month, which means that gñoccis are served everywhere. I forget the exact reason, something about no money at the end of the month for meat. Gñoccis are indeed what I´ve ordered for lunch.

I´ve yet to find a chink in the facade of perfection that is Colonia, but there must be something. A man that I was talking to yesterday said that all four of his kids had immigrated to the U.S., and he seemed to be solidly middle class. Uruguay has had a few rough stretches, the last one being hoof and mouth disease in what is primarily an agricultural country.

Import taxes must be really high. A lot of the clothes are locally made, but there is a Columbia Sportswear store. Here it´s a Big Deal and a Status Store. Now that I´ve been here a few days, I´ve also noticed, that while the cars being driven are not antiques, they are definitely older. There are carefully maintained 25 year old Japanese models, timeless VW Beetles, decrepid Citroen Deux Chevaux, tiny vintage Fiats. Looking at prices on used cars in Colonia puts it into perspective. As an average example, a 1982 Toyota Corolla sells for $4850. That´s U.S. dollars. You can buy a brand new three bedroom smaller house on a bigger lot in Colonia for $35,000. That´s also U.S. dollars.

Before the ferry this afternoon, there´s a 300 pound pig fish (that´s the local name) that I want to go see. Yesterday´s highlight was watching, along with 40 mate sipping locals, a beached boat get pulled out of the water. As I said, it´s a quiet town.