Posts Tagged ‘Montevideo’

Not so much news, but news. Nothing here changes, except for the worse.

I came here to fix my bank account and renew my cedula. You see, Uruguay does not believe that a bank is a place where you should put your money and let it sit unmolested for long periods of time. If you do not log in to your account online or move your money in some way, shape, of form, within 90 days, they will suspend everything.

Nice.

So I arrived early enough to get to the bank at 1pm when it opens, and went in, and got the ghoul behind the desk to reset my account. Supposedly. “Check in an hour and see if you can log in.”

And so I did. Problem not solved. I checked again later. Problem not solved.

By this time I am in Punta del Este, where I cannot re-fix the problem I fixed once already, because you cannot fix or re-fix a given problem with your bank unless you go to the branch where you opened it, which in this case is not where I am staying. It matters not the fact that it is a national bank with branches everywhere; you still have to make face time. To fix a thing that should have been fixed when you fixed it with the first fix.

Fuck this place. A thousand times. I want to burn it all to the ground. But it’s all too soggy and moldy to light. And I am willing to bed that the sad, grey-faced people lack the ambition even to combust properly.

In good news, I did manage to get my cedula renewed in a single day. Now they have a chip and everything, and finally the cedula fits in your wallet like a normal card should, and looks like it might survive getting sent through the washing machine a few times. They still had like 5 people in the process to print out a single card, lest they make the critical mistake of allowing efficiency to come with automation. Those offices are made to house pointless workers, after all! Now advertising paid government jobs: Openings for Senior and Assistant Mouse clickers, Person who Removes Cedula from Printer, and Person who Passes Cedula to Client from Person who Removes Cedula from Printer.

Not sure how I feel about that. I kinda liked the old ones that looked like a preschooler put them together with paste and construction paper.

In other bad news, it is disturbing the number of people I knew here who are now dead.

And the number of people I knew here who have split up from their spouses.

And the number of people I knew here who have been robbed or mugged or burglarized.

Also in other bad news, the government of Uruguay, in its infinite wisdom, has shut down the duty-free border zone in Chuy, forcibly closing down the shops of perfectly decent merchants, and denying Uruguayans access to untaxed goods, because they believe it is better to force everyone to use existing monopolies that are whining about lost profits because the economic downturn is so bad. If things suck so bad for Uruguayans that they are willing to drive all the way up to the border with Brazil (in most cases a 5-hour drive, with probably more than US$30 in tolls and US$100 in fuel) in order to buy their stuff… well, maybe you should rethink your import policies? Just saying…

I’ve only been here a couple of days and can’t wait to get the F out of here. I’d rather spend this time living showerless in week-old clothes, in the airport in Sao Paulo.

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BeelzeBob sent me this news video. Robbers are now literally staging roadblocks and mugging people out of their cars, in broad daylight, while the cops watch and do nothing.

A friend of mine relayed a story to me about a neighbor in his building in Montevideo who was going home and was followed into the building by a couple of “pasta base types.” (ie: crack-heads)

Said crack-heads had been hassling him for a while and the harrassment had been escalating.

They followed him up to his apartment and after he was safely inside, they started pounding on the door and demanding money.

Naturally, said neighbor called the police. The police responded by telling him, “Give them 300 pesos and they will go away.”

Let that one simmer.

Beginning on 1 December, 2012, LAN will begin adding more daily flights between Santiago and Montevideo, up to 3 flights per day.

Thanks to BeelzeBob for this link.

Strange thing is, an acquaintance of mine from Montevideo is one of the guys they threw in prison. I met him through the Montevideo Comics scene, via our mutual interest in comic books and Japanese animation. I knew he liked young girls, but jeez…

Kinda creepy.

I heard about it from his ex-wife, who is now trying to figure out how to wrest custody of her son from the clutches of the ñoqui government fuckheads. It happened about 2 weeks ago. I wish her luck. Hopefully BabyBob doesn’t disappear into a pile of papers in some back office, never to be heard from again.

Tonight we’re drinking for enjoyment and not to cope. This is a change for us.

I have consumed more alcohol in the last 6 months than in the rest of my life put together. Gone are the days when I could get drunk on a few Cuba Libres; now I can kill an entire bottle of whiskey with SeminoleBob and still retain motor function. Though speech does slur, sentences and subjects wander without warning, and I wonder sometimes what the hell I was talking about but there is usually a lot of head-nodding produced by the audience so either I wasn’t entirely ridiculous or folks around me were being polite.

But I digress.

We ate at an Indian restaurant tonight. Excellent food. Real Indians. Spicy hot make-your-mouth-on-fire stuff. Awesome. They actually went out of their way to make sure we got what we wanted, even though it wasn’t on the menu. We knew they could do it. And they did! We’re veteran Indian food junkies.

I have landed my UFO in a strange land where people actually do things.

Had we asked for this in Uruguay, forget it. After seeing how things work there, I wouldn’t surprised to go into an “Indian” restaurant to find nothing but chivito and milanesa on the menu.

We experienced the Indian food in Uruguay, at the only Indian restaurant. Run by Uruguayos, not Indians. The food was ok, not fantastic, and they tried to rip us off when we got the check– the menus we had contained prices less than we were quoted on the check, and when we brought it to the waiter/owner’s attention, in traditional Uruguayan lack-of-customer-service style, he preferred to get a few dollars more now than retain customers and have them coming back again and again, by insisting we pay the new up-to-date menu prices as opposed to the old out-of-date menu prices that were in the menus which we were given.

Up his. We never went back and now we tell everyone we meet to avoid it. The place was called Tandoori, by the way, in Montevideo. Avoid it like the plague. If it’s still in business.

Another thing I am noticing a lot of is that people in Chile understand me, even with my Rio Platense accent. Not once has someone looked at me questioningly and done the “eh?” to get me to say it again. Which happens in Uruguay, all the time, and I like to think I have a pretty good grasp on the Spanish there. Folks here get it, the first time.

And they have discovered “the stick” at the grocery store and put it to use. Such a great invention.

El Stick no es disponible en Uruguay.

Chilling out with a decent $3 bottle of Carmenere…

Between November 2011 and February 2012, the statistics in Punta Carretas, Montevideo, are shocking:

  • 39% of the population were victims of theft or assault at least once during that 4-month period. That is 2 out of every 5 people.
  • 72% of the robberies were non-violent, meaning that 28% (greater than 1 in 4) of the robberies were violent. Violent robberies account for 38% in the rest of Montevideo.
  • Therefore, 11% of the population of Punta Carretas, greater than 1 in 10, was violently robbed in that 4-month time period.
  • 40% of total annual crime occurs in this 4-month period.
  • According to survey, 50% of the people feel that their experiences with the police, post-incident, were negative.
  • In 35% of the cases, the police took longer than 16 minutes to respond or never showed up at all.
  • Of all the cases, 11% result in arrest, and only 9% go to judicial proceedings.
  • Survey shows that 60% of people do not feel safe in their own neighborhood.
  • 65% surveyed call for greater police presence.

And, to twist the knife…

  • It is estimated that 60% of robberies and assaults go unreported.

Source: El Pais, thanks to SwingDanceBob.