love, ani xo

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Monday, February 06, 2006

i can´t stop taking pictures

everywhere you go, no matter how poor the neighborhood is, there´s amazing architecture everywhere! wooden shutters with wrought iron fences, lots of marble and granite everywhere. colonial, rococo, art deco architecture everywhere. even the most ordinary cafe is like a work of art with wooden walls. the economy was doing so well here during the 2nd world war. uruguay was the wealthiest country in latin america. then things started getting bad in the 60´s. it shows in the architecture. most buildings are from the late 19th century until the 60´s. very few are from the 70´s-80´s-90´s. people don´t have the money anymore. the economy is improving a little since the last time i was here. you could tell from the streets. more tourists, less garbage, garbage cans everywhere, lots of pregant women, tourist police are hired to answer questions, etc...
everything costs 75% less here. but for uruguayans it´s expensive. my aunt has to live on a pension of $240 and that´s more than usual. she´s a widow so she gets a bit more. she owns her condo so that helps. the average salary is $200 a month and if you´re doing well you´re making $500 a month. if we stayed here and never emigrated we would also be poor. the old neighborhood that i grew up is even worse. i haven´t been there yet by my aunt says there´s more crime and poverty. it´s a very dangerous place to live. that´s why she sold the house that my grandfather bought in the 20´s, where i grew up and my dad grew up. i feel really nostalgic about that place but she needed to sell to buy a 2 bedroom condo in  a better neighborhood. it cost her $20 000 usd. it´s still not the best neighborhood but the street behind us is really cool. there´s over  a  dozen used bookstores and antique stores in these really beautiful turn of the century buildings. just like paris! the only neighborhood i would live in if i lived here is pocitos. we´re going there tomorrow. less crime, there´s some nightlife, cool boutiques and it´s close to the beach. it´s also the most expensive place to live. there´s a class system here just like in europe. my aunt says that the people who live in pocitos don´t know the problems of montevideo. they look down on anyone who doesn´t have money. you have to be part of their world.
thanks to the soft uruguayan leather, i was able to walk 3 hours in my new sandals with no blisters!
tonight i´m going to the ciudad vieja (the old city). it´s where all the nightlife is but we´re just going to walk around. when i come back from pierapolis in 2 weeks my cousin and i are going out in la ciudad vieja to check out some bars that i heard were good.
buses: they have curtains! also most of them have a extra person working for the bus who takes your money and gives back change. you´re also not allowed to ring the bell yourself if that person´s there. you have to tell them to ring it. that´s why my dad always loves ringing the bell in the montreal buses. i´m never allowed to touch it when i´m in the montreal buses with him.
pomelo: pomelo means grapefruit and it´s one of the most popular drinks (after coka cola). it´s sort of like limonata but with grapefruit juice. it´s so delicious. there´s a brand called quatro and the coka cola company makes it. they should sell it in canada! i think it´s only available in latin america.
bar and cafe culture: there´s a huge bar and cafe culture here and in most of those places they sell typical uruguayan food that you´ll never eat anywhere else. like sandwiche caliente. caliente means hot and it´s just like a grilled cheese sandwich with ham, cheese and you can also add tomotoes. i´ve eaten the most delicious tomatoes here. i can buy the most expensive tomatoes in vancouver and it won´t taste the same. there´s also something called milanesa. my mom makes this all the time. it´s beef with breaded crumbs all over and cheese on top. i used to eat it every week in montreal before i became vegetarian.


Blogger J.R. Woodward said...

I loved reading your thoughts. I made it feel as if I were there.

JR Woodward

6:24 PM  
Anonymous paula said...

pomelo sounds yummy!! maybe u should market that in canada. it sounds like u r having such fun, ani :)

9:09 PM  

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