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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Purrr..fect!



On my way to the local farmer's market, I heard some unusual chirping, high up in a tree. This sound was echoed from another tree across the road. I didn't think much about it at the time since our neighborhood is full of parrots but I did think it was amazing that those parrots could sound so much like kittens. In my defense we also have frogs that sound like cats howling at night.

It wasn't until several hours later when I was again walking by those same trees, (across from each other), that I just had to look up and see what kind of parrot could mimic a kitten so expertly. Well duh! You guessed it, when I looked up I saw 2 kittens instead of 2 birds. Each one had climbed a different tree for protection but they were calling to me as I walked by.

I went to look at each tree then decided to go to the kitten up the tallest one, the kitten most high up. If I could coax it down, then the other one should be no problem. It would be up to the kittens however to try and come down, as even a tall ladder would be too short to rescue them just then. My tree climbing days are far behind me and actually I never did any climbing as a kid anyway.

So I walked up to the tall tree and made eye contact and just said "Kitty, Kitty, Kitty, here Kitty, Kitty
Kitty" (in English) and it worked! This tiny bit of a kitten used every climbing skill in its repertoire and never wavered in its determination to come directly to me. Animals can sense when they need help. Despite, my being a stranger and big and scary looking, that kitten just knew she had to come to me. She leaped into my arms and stayed there as I crossed the road to try and rescue its little brother.

The second kitten, in the other tree was not so high up, he came down in a snap. He too stayed in my arms, as I carried the two kittens back to my house. At that moment, with the addition of those 2 kittens, I now had 3 cats and 3 dogs inside of my house.


My 3rd dog is named Noche. She was abandoned in front of my house (across the street) in December, 2013. I found her living in the drain pipe in the culvert along side the road. She was smart to do that as it was very hot weather at the time and it was cool in there.

"Noche" my 3rd dog. This is where I found her living.
I had the neighbor take photos of Noche and he put them in the window of the veterinarian shop (which I saw later). I put Noche's photo on Facebook on a Uruguayan site and had a false promise of a placement. Needless to say, that did not pan out and no one else came forward for Noche. So  I ended up keeping her.

The only reason that I don't have 4 dogs right now is that I took the puppy who I purposely just called "Puppy", which was abandoned 4 weeks ago, (again, across the street from my house), I took him, to the Farmer's market (feria).  Loo and behold, someone at the last second adopted him! Yeah!


"Puppy" had been slightly bite and had a little open scar on his cheek and a dot of missing hair on the top of his head where, I guess, a tooth grazed him. I took him to the veterinarian for some parasite pills and to have the Vet. look at his cheek. A few days later, at the weekly feria I found a vacant spot and sat among the vendors and I hawked out-loud, his availability.

My local weekly Farmer's market/Feria in the town of Salinas, Uruguay.
My loud North American verbal ways must have been a novelty because the vendor next to me started to advertise the puppy as well, instead of his own goods! A young woman took pity on "Puppy" when I told her what was up with his face and that he was okayed by the Vet.  She adopted him!

I should have taken Noche during the first few weeks of finding her, to the feria as well, because that is how I got my other 2 dogs, Barney and Sheila, from someone giving them away there. Because I didn't take Noche right away to the feria, Noche missed her opportunity of being placed while she was in the throngs of extreme cuteness. She was named Noche because she was jet black in color at the time but she has since turned grey!!! Now she wears a grey skunk like mask and silver streaks are appearing under her black coat.

Noche with her grey odd coloring, 2nd photo with her toy hamburger.
Had I known then that her coat would change, I might have named her "The Silver Fox" or just "Zorra" (La Zorra de plata. Zorro means Fox in Spanish) I'm not sure why the whites of her eyes are not white, white, like my other 2 dogs. Noche's eyes always seem a little blood shot to me. I make sure all my animals go to the vet; so at least I know that she is supposedly healthy. She has lots of energy. She is intelligent, playful and does well with the other dogs and even with the cats! However, there's definitely, not too much hope of finding her a new home.


I knew, I would need to keep her myself once she started to grow large and she turned grey. Now at about 6 months old, she is almost Sheila's size (Sheila is 5 years old). Noche is a very happy dog and plays with Sheila well.

Getting back to the 2 kittens, the 2 kittens were taken to the vet. for their parasite pills after several days had passed rather than right away because of the rain and my lack of a car that week. I also, got more parasite pills for my other permanent mascotes/pets.


It was purrr...fect timing, my bringing them to the Vet. when I did on that particular day. As I was walking along the rambla  toward home, I was carrying them in my other cat's carrier (Nathan). I approached everyone on the way home and asked if they wanted 2 kittens. Then a few blocks from my house, I saw 2 ladies just getting out of their car. I mentioned the kitties to them and they lit up! They said that they try and place cats in homes whenever they can because they love cats. They made me come inside their house right then and there.

"Cali" the Calico kitten on the left and "Felipe" my lover, right. 
They wanted to photograph the 2 kittens. They have a website. They are Persian cat enthusiasts. They sell Persians but they place any abandoned cats for free! Wow, I had struck gold with these two!!!

Alejandra and Alicia
Please click on their site WWW.GATOSPERSASURUGUAY.COM 
Persian cats are so comical to me because of their flat smooched in faces. If you go to their site and hunt around through it's pages you might still see the  wonderful photos that they took of my little kitties that I named "Cali"  (the female/hembra) and Felipe (the male/macho), yes, I decided to name them a real name, unlike "Puppy". You will also see several adorable Persian cats.

I hadn't realized this before but Calico cats, the ones with 3 colors are (almost) always female. It's just known that they will be girls.

I have fallen in love with the boy cat that I have named "Felipe"  or Philip in English. I named him such because I was thinking of the Phil in Philadelphia, "The city of brotherly love" that's because he is so loving a kitten. He likes to snuggle. Also, since he is a feline, I used a play on the first 4 letters of the word feline in the name Felipe. Ph in Spanish is always changed into an "F". example photo = foto, Pharmacy= farmacia, etc...

Cali is a Calico cat and I was born in California, so "Cali" was a play on the first 4 letters of the word California and Calico.Which is also represented with the first 4 letters of her name.

Note: Now after saying, all of this, I have since renamed him, see the postscript at the end of this post.

Unlike the puppy, "Puppy" who "peed" everywhere for a week and a half throughout my house, the kittens learned to use the cat box during their first day with me! I had given them a little personal box to use and they used it all day, never once making an accidental mess! The second day they discovered where Nathan's litter-box was kept and from then on they used his box (the big boy box). Smart little kitties!!! To be fair Noche as a puppy, learned right away to "ask" to be let outside, to go in our backyard, she was never a problem either.

Well, I had mixed emotions when I received the call that "Cali' had found a new home. Someone in Maldonado wanted her. She had been inseparable from her brother for a week. Yet, she had started to be independent. She had started to want to sleep apart from her brother. Also, even though Nathan my grown boy cat is neutered, he had started to show an interest in her that was not befitting toward such a baby cat. Nathan tried to pin her down. Also, the night before in some rough and tumble play with her kitten brother (formerly known as Felipe) she had accidentally scratched his eye, so that he kept one eye closed all day. Fortunately, I had some animal eye drops on hand. So, I wasn't too sad that Cali would have a separate home from Felipe.


Alicia, let me know that she regularly delivers cats to their new home. She has the use of a car on Mondays and Tuesdays or Tuesdays and Wednesdays and she was to deliver 2 different other cats to Maldonado that day and that Cali would make up the 3rd cat going to Maldonado.


I got Cali ready with a little toy I had bought her and that she liked and put that and her and a little bag of food into Nathan's carrier and took off down the street to the ladies house nearby mine.


They had several cat carrying cases ready to delivery them in.  We transferred Cali into one of theirs so that I could get Nathan's case back. A couple of their many cats were quite interested in Cali and had to check her out.  I think it was quite an honor for Cali to be picked as the third cat to travel to a new home.


One was an Cream orange colored Persian kitten someone had bought from their website. The other was an adorable Black and White cat named "Whiskers" because of a white mustache that it sported. I was told that Cali was being eagerly awaited because of her colors.


I was inside of Alejandra and Alicia's house. They DO NOT run a kitten mill. They just truly love cats and they never asked me for a cent to help me place Cali, nor did they ask me for this post. They were happy that I said, I would write something, so I have their blessing.


Again, they are enamored with Persian cats, so I took a few photos of the various ones they own. Most of the ones I saw are permanently theirs but look on their website if interested as well. By the way their house smelled fresh and clean. The animals were doted on and healthy, Persians just look annoyed!


One cat was named "Betty Boop" because of her large eyes. I couldn't resist taking her photo along with my own Betty Boop statue.

Black hair with large eyes, the two Betty Boops!

I was afraid that Felipe would start to miss Cali but then I saw him with Nathan who even tolerated his laying on the same chair with him and when I heard Felipe loudly purring in my arms I knew that finding Cali a separate new home was the right thing to do after all. I really want to keep Felipe and not give him away. Wally says, that having 2 cats is okay. So if you see Felipe on the website, admire him but move on. I'm purrr..fectly happy with him.

PS. I don't often rename an animal, so as not to confuse them but Felipe is so loving that I have since renamed him  "Romeo". Wally agrees that name suits him well!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

DON'T MISS IT!


Don't miss this important event!

Your invited to attend this Monday night, April 14th, 2014 a celebration that millions will be coming to, the commemoration of the death of Jesus Christ. This is the only event that the Lord Jesus Christ himself commanded his disciples to memorialize! You can read this command in the Bible at Luke chapter 22 and verse 19. He says, "Keep doing this in remembrance of me".


Some people might be familiar with this event as known by the term "The Last Supper" but they may not have realized that as a believer in Christ, any of his professed followers were told to attend this celebration each year afterwards until he says not to. Jesus being born into a Jewish family first partook of the "Passover", as was his custom, on the night of Nisan 14th, under a full moon. Then on this same night as an adult about to sacrifice his life in behalf of others including me and you, he created a totally new celebration for his faithful Apostles and future disciples to keep yearly after that. Christians no longer keep the Passover but we do attend this memorial to his death.
 

This is what the invitation to this event looks like in Spanish! I am publishing this so that you have a day's notice (this Sunday) and you can plan to attend tomorrow night at your local neighborhood Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.


This is what our Kingdom Hall in Salinas, Uruguay looks like at night! The memorial of Jesus' death is always held after sundown because the" Passover" was held after sundown and later that same night Jesus instituted his celebration.


Inside the hall looks pretty much like the photos on the invitation below. We don't have crosses or images in our halls. They are simple places of meeting and Bible study.


I don't often get my photo taken as I am the photographer in the family but here I am in attendance at a memorial of Christ a few years ago. On the table you see for this night only are some glasses of wine and some plates, napkins are covering some cracker like unleavened bread. The wine represents the blood that Jesus would later pour out in sacrifice for our eventual salvation of a wonderful future ahead. The unleavened bread represents his unblemished body that he gave up in death also for our sins. You can read about this in the account of the explanation of these symbols and of his coming sacrifice after that very night. 1 Corinthians chapter 11 verses 23 thru 26.


All meetings held at the Kingdom Halls of Jehovah's Witnesses are held free of charge and NO donation plates are ever passed! You will never be asked for money or hinted at for some. Likewise this celebration is also held free of charge. 

Most Jehovah's Witnesses do not actually, "drink the wine" or "eat the bread" (1 Cor. 11; 27-29) because we are like invited guests who watch a couple getting married while not getting married ourselves. We feel, we are more like his disciples rather than his Apostles but those of us who do not partake still have a wonderful future ahead of us, thanks to Christ's sacrifice in our behalf as well. We are like his other sheep mentioned in the Bible book of the Gospel of John chapter 10 verses 14,15 and 16. We look forward to a Paradise on earth once the full effects of his Kingship take place. 


You don't have to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses to attend any of the meetings held at our hall. The public is welcome to attend too. The above photo is of Wally and his sister Valeria when he was visiting his father in California, USA. That is were both Wally and I were born and raised as children.  Wally, myself and his sister are all three of us Jehovah's Christian Witnesses but his father is not!  His father is not very religious but he was willing to attend last years memorial at our California, Oakdale Kingdom Hall when Wally was visiting him in California, last year. I hope to hear that he attended again this year (tomorrow night) with his daughter Valeria.

So whether you are not very religious minded or whether you are not one of Jehovah's Witnesses or if you are. I hope that this invitation despite it's quick notice will get you to at least consider attending the free and very short event with a discourse explaining that night long ago when Jesus Christ asked that you, "Keep doing this in remembrance of me."

Check your halls for the local time that they will be opened up that night. Our hall in Salinas will present the program at 6:30 pm (18:30 hrs) and again at 8PM (20 hrs) so that as many who want to attend can. The program will be brief. (30 to 45mins only).  See you there!

Ps. The following Sunday a special talk is always held. The same new talk is given around the world so you can look forward to that either on Saturday the 26th like us in Salinas or on Sunday the 27th. But the memorial of Christ's death is only held on the original Passover date according to the Jewish calendar and that date is this Monday after sundown, so come for this special once a year only happening.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Korean Restaurant in MVD!


The "Good tasting" Korean restaurant.
My last post was on eating so I will continue the trend with this one.

There are times that we expats just need a kick in our taste buds. While the food here in Uruguay is very,very good and wholesome, it nevertheless is just your basic meat and potatoes and yes Pizza.

 For most foreigners (I duck as I say this) it can be pretty bland. For some reason this upsets the majority of Uruguayans when you say that their food is bland. I get arguments that not everybody needs their tongues burnt off with "spicy food".

I have yet to make any of them really understand that when we expats say "spiced"or "seasoned" it doesn't necessarily mean hot, peppery or picante. Sometimes just a little less watered down sauce-wise, somehow richer tasting than normally served here or at least a little more salt added would do and yes I know, too much salt is bad for you.

So now I'm going to sound like a real hypocrite and say that yes, at other times we expats also want a rock-um, sock-um, kick in the mouth taste and yes, that means we want something,"spicy hot!"


So here is good news and some bad news. There are 2 Korean Restaurants located right in downtown Montevideo!
Both restaurants are on a "competing" block from each other (on the same block!). The bad news is only one of them has a good reputation among expats.


On a face book site for expats, some expats ate in the "spit it out quick" restaurant and it had a lot of complaints about yucky food. The good news is that I ate in the "Good" Korean Restaurant. So I wanted to tell you which one that was.


If you stand next to the casino in Montevideo near Old Town/Cuidad Viejo, turn your back away from the casino, and you will be looking at the restaurant you want to eat in. (see the title photo of the place)


The second photo above that of a wooden box and metal chops sticks is an important photo, since a couple of expats I went out to dinner with recognized that box and those chops stick from another expats' photo online and so they knew, we were in the right place, the "good" one.


We had a sweet, waitress who spoke English (She was Uruguayan) she was also learning Korean. I wish, I remembered her name. I feel bad about that but it was kind of unusual. She said that the menus were only in Spanish and Korean.


The menu book had pictures of the various offerings. Since she spoke English we could ask her for her suggestions. We were offered our choice of steamed or fried dumplings. We choose steamed.


We ordered like we would in a Chinese restaurant meaning each one in our party ordered a dish and we all shared the many dishes together so as to taste the lot of them. There was a rather strange looking pink rice, I think maybe it was cooked with black beans? There were several other dishes but the table was filling up fast with little bowls and platters so I had to put my camera away and start eating!


We had to order "Kimchee", since we were in a Korean restaurant, that is so synonymous in our minds with Korea being the national dish of Korea. We were given a bowl of the traditional "napa cabbage" Kimchee as well as other Kimchee fermented dishes using other vegetables such as turnips, and seaweed.


The restaurant had a Korean family, eating there, always a good sign to show the food is authentic.


Everything was delicious and rich tasting but boy was it HOT! It was just the break I needed as I am now rather enjoying my Uruguayan milder tasting and yes less picante food. Tonight, I'm having an enjoyable meal of meat and potatoes and I'm taking it easy on the salt too! I did say that Uruguayan food was very,very good and wholesome remember?

Of special note, some other expats recently ate in the 'other" Korean restaurant and they LIKED the food, which just goes to show you, taste is a very subjective thing. To each his own. ¡Buen provecho!

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Chacra and a Pig Roast!



Note: Vegetarians may want to skip this post!

I actually decided, not to add a graphic, front facing, close-up of the finished product only some rear shots but the photographer in me found everything fascinating so I did take some. I am talking about a photo of the cooked, in the ground pig that I recently had the pleasure of eating. Sorry, to you but I am a meat eater!

I once lived in the Hawaiian chain of islands, USA, on the island of Maui and also on the island of Guam in the South Pacific. Those Islanders in both places really knew how to cook and roast a pig. They did it Island style or in an imu. An imu is an earth oven. It's a pit oven, dug into the ground. A fire is built down into it and then is allowed to smolder. It's often lined with leaves (to steam the food) and heated rocks to trap the heat and cook the meat. Sometimes, burlap is used or leaves (edible) in order to wrap the boar or pig up into. Then once the meat is securely wrapped up, the dirt and rocks are shoveled back into the pit to cover the boar. It then bakes at least 8 hours under ground. Boy, is that meat tender and delicious when brought back above ground.

Sometimes, Expats start to miss some of the more flavorful meals that they once enjoyed back home and we get to talking about that at gatherings. I was at an asado (a BBQ, Uruguayan style) and we started to talk about that. I mentioned the boars that were hunted on both islands, cooked underground and how tasty they were.

Jerry aka "Oso"
An expat named Jerry mentioned that he knew how to cook a pig that way and that he should do that at an expat gathering before the summer weather completely went away. Which is exactly what he and another expat named Jim did.

So Jerry put the word out via email and he invited a bunch of expats to spend the evening, eating and listening to music out at his place in the campo or rural pastures.






Jim took over the major task of cooking the pig and also overseeing a separate asado grill of meats and vegetables and Jerry supplied the place, his chacra.


A chacra is a small farm, counted in hectares of land (sometimes a 1/2 a hectare) but always smaller than a hundred hectares. A hectare is 2.4711 acre each.  It can also refer to a country house.


Down a dirt road, in the department of Canelones is Jerry's (aka the "bear" or "Oso" in Spanish) chacra. It is a bachelor's place with all kinds of stuff. It's a little ram-shackled but it's also kind of cool.


It has an old western town like vibe, with chickens and geese running around and yes some cows far off in the distance, grazing on one of his many acres.


It was very picturesque, a perfect place for a gathering of expats that have moved to Uruguay and now call it home.

I try and let, at least, a few expats know that I'm still alive and living here. That way if there is anything important that I as a foreigner might need to know, the expat community will keep me in the loop, information wise. There where a lot of new expats there at the gathering who had moved here that I didn't know. I knew Jim the cook, (for that day) and his wife Mariellen because they live right around the corner from my house in Marindia so I knew them and a few others I remembered from other gatherings were also there.
It was interesting to be able to hear and speak so much English again.

I had bummed a ride with Mariellen and Jim since I didn't know where Jerry lived and many street signs and address numbers are lacking here.    


Right as we entered the property, I saw the pit that Jim had dug earlier that morning. He had come back to Marindia to pick up his wife and me later that evening to go to the Chacra.


There were many expats that had heeded the invitation and were gathering there. One expat brought a truck load of watermelons and cucumbers from his own chacra and was giving them out for free.! The weather had been terribly rainy the whole last week and he didn't want the watermelons to go to waste, I think his name was Larry. So again, thank you Larry, for your delicious watermelons (I took 2!).


Jerry's sister was visiting Uruguay at this time and she played a tiny little bass guitar for the evenings' entertainment. Soon other guitars started to mysteriously appear and Jim brought out his harmonica and the music flowed!


When the time was right and after a full days' cooking in the ground we all gathered together to watch the great unveiling. I thought it was interesting that heated stones had been put into the pigs belly to help it cook internally, prior to the pig's being buried down into the pit. It was well cooked!

The dirt was shoveled away and the pig was brought up to the surface and unwrapped! It was steaming hot and very tender.


Then it had to be lifted onto a board to be carried away to the prep station. Jim handled the de-bonning and serving. I have other close up pictures that I didn't include because I'm trying to be sensitive to you blog readers.


All I can say, is that the meat was tender, moist and appreciated by all who partook of it. It reminded me exactly of the delicious pork meat dinners I had had on the two islands that I had lived on before, Maui and Guam. I only wish I had taken some leftovers home with me because it is now "Fall/Autumn" down here in South America. We have now set our clocks back 1 hour and I don't foresee any more warm summer evenings spent eating a roasted pig and listening to music on a chacra at least until "hopefully" next year.




Meanwhile, I will just have to rub my belly and say "yum" when I remember that night.