Actually Uruguay doesn't have eBay (locally) or Denny's but our visit to Montevideo, yesterday centered on Uruguay's counterparts to these institutions. I wanted to buy a guitar, so I searched MercadoLibre, the eBay of South America. Actually I have been told that eBay bought out MercadoLibre, so it really is the eBay of SA. If you would like to see what is available to us, feel free to browse (get your Spanish ready): http://www.mercadolibre.com.uy/
I found a guitar that looked good, registered with ML, and pushed the "purchase" button, just like eBay, but instead of actually making the purchase, I was sent the contact information for the seller, much like CraigsList. I then contacted him to see the item the next day. I learned that ML charges the seller a fee for listing the item. Apparently you have to deposit the fee in their account at a local bank- hand it to UY to make more paperwork.
I have learned not to drink liquids before we travel by bus (for obvious reasons that need not be stated here), so the first thing we needed, upon arriving in Montevideo was coffee and some breakfast. We settled upon La Passiva, which as the other part of the title of this post suggests, is a substitute for Denny's. La Passiva is a chain and there are several in MVD and even one in Atlantida, where we are staying. They are very much like fast food, but still provide most of the choices you will find in all restaurants, including the parilla grilled meats (for which UY is famous). But unlike most restaurants, they give you the bill (a little ticket) right after serving the food. Most restaurants take forever (by N American standards) to give you a bill, because they expect you to eat and then stay around at least an hour or more. By the way- the picture on the right is a McDonalds. And yes, a Big Mac in Uruguay tastes the same as a Big Mac in Seattle. However, it is not a cheap meal, but it is a good place to go to the bathroom in a city that does not have a lot of bathrooms.
Before viewing the guitar, we went to one of the several malls in MVD, the Punta Carreta Shopping to look for some furniture for our new house. We have gone back and forth between leather (which despite the fact that Uruguay produces more beef per capita than any country is still expensive) and fabric. Leather is winning out. But Punta Carreta Shopping is by far and shopper's paradise. Of course, one couldn't help noticing that many of the stores, including the one pictured on the right were offering substantial savings (couldn't help adding this picture). It is beautiful, as the pictures show and today, with 60+ degree weather and clear, blue skies, we were glad we were out.
Then we went to view the guitar. I was kind of disappointed, because it had some dings and finally, it didn't work with the amplifier (it was an electric acoustical guitar). So we headed back to town to a guitar store we had scouted before. The girl who was the manager, Josephina, was an Argentine who imported these lovely guitars and they were on sale (just my kind of deal). She was so animated about Uruguay that she totally sold us on the country, again, as well as the guitar. She could have sold (forget refrigerators) ice cubes to eskimos. Her store is Music Time, on Calle Paraguay near Calle 18 Julio- click for their website.
We brought the beginnings of a musical tradition back to Atlantida with the hopes that we will spend more time on music and less on the computer. But tonight the computer is winning. ps- on the way home, with our food, I picked up a liter of some of the nicest tannat merlot wine that I have ever had for the whopping price of $2.60 (eat your heart out).