Monday, June 05, 2006

Turn off the lights, be a good citizen!

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Salto Grande Uruguay Long time, no rain, and since the biggest source of power in Uruguay is hydroelectric, and it's working under 10% of its capacity, we have a bit of a power crisis.

Usually Uruguay borrows/buy power from Argentina, but it seems our "cousins" are having it's own power crisis right now, which made them cut the wire, not to mention the current tensions in the relationship.

Brazil is lending some power also, but it appears we need even more.

There are other options on the table, like to buy natural gas from Bolivia, or oil from Venezuela, but there's nothing concrete yet.

Things have gotten badly enough that the state has started to take some measures, among them: buildings have to cut on half the number of working elevators, and shoppings have to use low consume lights at night. The consequences of this are that now waiting an elevator at 9:00am or 18:00 has become pretty much like waiting a bus, which you have to wait for a lot of minutes, and once you take it, it's crowded, and stops in every possible stop there is on the way. Regarding the lights now the city at night it's even more gloomy, just great!

If the situation does not improve (aka rains soon), restriction policies will start to apply to residences as well, which reminds me of the power cutting policies that were carried out in 1988, and 1989. Actually they are not bad memories, I remember my father taking out the car battery to power the tv set, and myself making hand shadows on candle light with my brothers, it was all very unusual stuff, funny at the time.... not anymore.


  1. Anonymous4:56 PM

    Well, our man is heading over to Uruguay next week to check out the location for relocation.....bad time to go ;)

    Does the power restrictions affect business (as in export manufacturers)first or are they exempt from it until the problems becomes to large, not a big problem for us if it's the latter.

  2. To give you an idea it's been like twenty years since the last time something similar happens.

    I have the idea that services are affected on non office hours, but industry is exempt, but I'm not terribly sure, your man should check that out.

  3. Anonymous10:33 AM


    My girlfriend's mother, who is an uruguayan and lives in Montevideo, says, that the things there aren't going so well as they expected after the election... but perhaps they expected too much from the new president... Are the people there satisfied with him? Would they vote for him again?

    I've been in Montevideo two years ago, it was great, I liked the Rambla and the Ombu, 'cause we don't have things like that here in Eastern-Europe...

    And one suggestion: I 'd like read more about your subjective impressions. Anyway, good blog, interesting stuff!

    Balázs, Budapest

  4. Anonymous9:48 AM

    I am interested in retiring in Uruguay when I'm done with work here in the USA. It looks like a very beautiful place, with a lot of rich culture. Are Uruguans receptive to americans? I plan on learning spanish in the meantime and would do my best to fit into life there.
    I plan on visiting sometime, but would like to know the best time of year to check it out.
    Thanks in advance!

  5. hi Balázs,

    If I would vote him again? mmm, yeah I guess my expectations weren't that high. I believe Uruguay socialeconomics are very dependant on international factors, despite the ruling president. I think things are definetly better than some years ago.

    Thank you for your suggestion, I'll take it.

    I'm very curious as to how's life in budapest, how about

    cheers from uruguay,

  6. Hey wayne,

    >Are Uruguans receptive to americans?
    Actually the term is uruguayans, and the answer to the question is IMHO that uruguayans are more receptive to americans in Uruguay than americans are to uruguayans in the states.

    >the best time of year to check it out.
    I'd say around november, december, (spring), or march (last summer days) , since it won't be too hot or too cold, and it won't be crowded with turists.


  7. Anonymous4:05 PM

    How about Australians ;)

    Or you still angry about that :D

  8. Anonymous4:07 PM

    Thanks for the heads up! I know some americans can be a bit rude, and I truly am sorry for them, they do not know how well they have it in many cases. Conceited and stuck on themselves.... We are not that way (my wife and I), and actually prefer the european/foreign way of life and view on things for the most part. I will check into tickets during those times. I'd love to meet uruguayans in the states, I love culture, especially other people's.

  9. hey keith, Way to go against japon!

    I hope football is winning fans in your country.


  10. hey wayne, I met some cool americans, and I know there's a lot of nice people over there, it's just that sometimes, some of you tend to be a bit paranoid. I met a couple of those too.

    you are welcomed here.

  11. Anonymous4:38 PM

    lol, yeah i had my head in my hands at one point, it was a must win game for us. Good sub's got it through for us though.

    Hey our man in Uruguay has spoken to us, he thinks it's great. It's a real contrast from malaysia with clean streets, people who have a good work ethic, good food, and nice cheap houses :) Looks like it will be the place we go to. Nueva Helvecia is the park we might head to. Is that area nice?

  12. yeah, actually is a very nice quiet town, founded by swiss and german inmigrants. Everybody there has a german surname ;) I think population is around 15 or 20 thousands, and it has a 5 stars hotel called Hotel Nirvana, never been to but word is that is a nice place to go with girlfriend/wife and kids.

  13. Anonymous9:21 PM

    What are the laws like for gun ownership in uruguay? I am curious. Here in the states we have a right to keep and bare arms, I just am curious if you have the same rights in uruguay. I looked at the governement links, but don't know exactly where to look, perhaps a constitution of some sort?
    Mucho Gracias amigo!

  14. Gun ownership in uruguay, good topic. In Uruguay there are two very different permissions, the first one is to be able to own a gun, and keep it in your place. That's very easy to get, you just go to the nearest police station and get a good behavior certificate, and it's enough to buy a gun.
    The other different permit is to be able to carry a gun, and for that you have to go through a lot of bureacracy in the defense ministry, and they tend to give it if you can prove that you usually carry tons of money, otherwise, it's very, very hard to get.

  15. Anonymous6:48 AM

    Thanks for that information! I like to shoot occaisionally, and it's nice to know that it's possible there as well.

  16. Anonymous3:02 PM

    Gabo, I'am finally am writting to you.
    Been meaning to tell you that Your Blog is my guidance in deciding my next move. I left uruguay in 1973 to USA (E.E.U.U), although physically, but not mentally.
    You have been so informative about uruguay's everyday life, that I feel I am almost there.

    I've been contemplating going back to start a family, and build a house in Piriapolis ( build the house & start a family? lol

    I'm 46 years old, and after spending way too many years in New Jercey...I moved to Florida in 96, and now I will be selling my house in the coming year.

    I want to leave 4 to 5 months in uruguay, get a business going, and see how it goes.
    What businesses are needed there? Simple businesses that you think would survive the jerky motion of uruguayan politics and the population. Something to start with 25,000 dollars.

    Any advice is welcome.

    Again, I read your blog almost daily ,cause u don't write daily =o)

    Un abrazo loco!

    p.s. My girlfriend didn't know much about Uruguay, thanks to your post, she started believing in my thank you again.



  17. Tito, yo vivi en Estados Unidos unos tres años y volvi con varias ideas de cosas que se pueden implementar aca y creo funcionarian, si queres mandame un mail a fromuruguay arroba y te contesto. Tali

  18. tito,

    thanks for your comment! I'm sorry the blog is not updated more often, I've been investing time in another project lately, besides inspiration/motivation comes unexpectedly.

    Regarding the question of what type of business could work in Uruguay, well that's a very tricky question, if I had the answer I'd probably be rich by now ;), no serious, I think the key to entrepreneurship in Uruguay (what follows may be obvious) is producing with local costs, and selling to rich economies, like the states, europe, etc, since local market cannot be taken seriously, and even the simplest economic initiative is risky if it's dependant completely on it.

    Some of the branches that have experienced expansion over the last years were IT, and the production of intangibles in general, like design and advertising that can be easily exported to richer economies at no cost.

    So my advice would be try to keep your business contacts in the states, and evaluate to keep doing what you do, but remotely, with uruguayan living costs, or just hire some to do it here, and sell it somewhere else.

    hope it helps, best of lucks, feel free to contact tali and me in the email adress she gave you.


  19. Anonymous4:01 PM

    I was thinking in the lines of buying a few houses and rent them for the tourist season, and have that as an income.
    I need to live there in order to see what resources are available, locally and internationally.
    What type of living can you expect making 700 dollars a month and living in uruguay?

  20. 700 usd is about the average family income in Uruguay. My guess is that if you plan to maintain US life quality you may need more than that, no less than 1000 usd.


  21. Anonymous2:21 PM

    Ta che...visite el link (eslabón?)
    de tu sito. Veo que estas hondo en la informatica. Me a;egro que estes en eso. Es el mercado del futuro (the third wave!)

    Yo..un paisano que todavia pienso, siento, y vivo en uruguay, pero fisicamente, estoy aca. Hey1 at least is in South Florida...lolol

    Lo que quiero hacer es vivir aya y aca. Estoy pensando en hacer una casita en un terreno de mis viejos en piri. Mas adelante quiero abrir un cafe, con axceso al internet gratis (mientras tomen un cafe pagado no?), y algun morfe para servir. Tambien voy a tener motonetas (scooters) para rentar. 4 o cinco meses al año para la tempo. de turismo.

    Algo asi///funca aya? eso le daria ayuda a algunos locales, hacercaria la tecnologia a los que no tienen...y yo que se, se pueden ofrecer clases a locales por un minimo costo...o gratis ba!
    Y yo viviria en el lugar de mi infancia, y me puedo ir a las termas cuando quiera! lololol

    pero en serio...que me aconsejarias vos.
    De aca me quedo sumamente agradesido de tus comentarios.

    Chau che...sos un campeón!

  22. tito,

    Disculpa la demora para responder. No se en Piriapolis, pero en Montevideo, tengo entendido que poner un cybercafe ya no es tanto negocio, como lo era hace tres, cuatro años atras.
    Tengo un par de amigos que ha puesto y ya los han cerrado. Quizás en Piriapolis pueda funcionar, pero en por lo menos en Montevideo no lo recomiendo.

    saludos y gracias por la buena onda,

  23. Muy impresionante el blog. Mi padre es de uruguay pero yo naci en eeuu. ahorra vivio en corea y leyendo tu blog me da nostalgia. Ademas las fotos de asado y bizcochitos me recuerdan mucho a mi papa. Te tengo un pregunta. Sabes si tengo derecho de ser doble ciudadano (eeuu/uru) por cuenta de mi papa? Despues que yo naci se hizo ciudadano eeuu y no tuvo que denunciar su patria. Saludos broder!

  24. fernando,

    Tengo entendido que la ciudadanía uruguaya, no es excluyente, pero no se la americana.

    saludos, desde uruguay,

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