Thursday, November 16, 2006


<<previous next >>
It was a stormy night yesterday, heavy rain, thunders and lightning out the window. I was doing some homework when all of a sudden lights went out, lamps, tv, phone, everything but my laptop running on batteries.

Dim, pale, whiteish light iluminating my living room, plus the flashing of the occasional lightning. Walking with my laptop as a torch I reached candles and lighted them with a BIC lighter I found in the kitchen.

The first thing I wanted to check out was if was the only unhappy left in the darkness, so I looked out of my sixth floor window to check on the rest of the appartments. To my surprise not only the building lights were out, but also the whole neighborhood, even street, and traffic lights. Some one had pulled the plug on the whole city.

I couldn't help to think that it was the perfect time for thugs to break havoc, and that my girlfriend was about to come back. With the help of cell phones communication was established and worries dismissed.

The blackout lasted around half an hour, no major incidents where reported. Later local news informed on tv about a huge blackout that affected the whole south side of the country. Apparently the source was one or more lightnings that fell on the lines.

This is not usual in Uruguay. Not at all.

Read more!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The iberoamerica summit

<<previous next >>
This weekend is taking place in Uruguay the XVI edition of the iberoamerica summit. Presidents and delegations from Latin American countries, plus Spain, Portugal and Andorra gather every year to discuss matters of common interest. This year was Uruguay's turn to host, the last one was in Spain and the next one will be in Chile. This years subject was emigration. Kofi Annan was also present.

To give you an idea of the impact this has had here, know that the government passed a law to create an extraordinary holiday, with the purpose of securing the downtown area where the presidents would be hosted, aka the exclusion zone, the neigborhood of ciudad vieja. In a first version announced the holiday would be for everyone in Montevideo, and then, when confirmed, it was limited only to those working in the "zone".

It was an important security procedure, for Uruguayan measures, land, sea, and air, where secured, and everyone living or working in the exclusion zone was registered by government personnel, more than 5000 persons. We had to have a radar borrowed from spain, because ours was broken (pathetic). They say the cost of the whole thing was about two million dollars.

Uruguay government tried to use this summit to achieve some advance in the negotiations on the pulp mill issue with Argentina, while Mexico was looking for backup against the wall under construction. Lula didn’t come, which, taking into account that he’s the president of the biggest country in South America, takes part of the fun out of the party.

In my opinion the summit meant for Uruguayans among other things a long weekend, some long waited restoration work done on some public buildings, and having a part of the city banned, which is totally unusual for us. You could tell something funny was going on for the number of tourists walking 18 de Julio the last couple of days, in particular Brazilians, plus some demonstrations going on on 18 against the "capitalist" summit, plus the fact that my usual empanadas delivery (san telmo) seems to be in the exclusion zone, and I’m blogging on an empty stomach.

Read more!