Well, today I went down and paid real estate taxes, and car licensing for the coming year. I think if I had know how reasonable costs could be for a car, I never would have bought the motorcycles, and we would be about $1000 ahead. Ah! If only I had known.
The real estate tax for the year (Contribucion Inmobiliaria) came to a whopping $9621 (just under $500 US dollars). But you have to remember that this includes twice a week trash pickup. In Seattle I paid almost twice the amount of my real estate taxes here for trash pickup alone (as well as thousands in RE Taxes). Plus, for paying on time last year I got a $769 (peso) credit and for paying in one payment (as opposed to 6 payments allowable), I received $818 (peso) credit. So it pays to pay.
The car licensing (patente) cost $3,185 (or $163 US). Now that might seem high to some (except in states that have enacted caps for licensing fees), but considering the car ownership is a luxury and not the norm, $13 per month is not exorbitant.
The other night, two of the neighborhood kids came over and asked if they could ride their bikes down our somewhat steep driveway. In the States, I would have told them "No way" and asked them to leave. "OK", I said here in Uruguay. Anyway they played for quite awhile and at about sundown, the doorbell rang. There were about a dozen kids ranging from 3-14 or so in age. They just wanted to thank us for letting them use the drive. I was floored.
I went down to the cambio to change some money for our trip to Buenos Aires. I was so proud that I knew to ask for "Reals". Then I got home and put the money away for the trip. I took another look. Oh yeah! "Reals" are Brazilian money. Oops!
So another trip down to the cambio, this time with the Reals to exchange them for Argentine Pesos. Of course, they had to first change the Reals to UY Pesos, then I bought the Arg Pesos with UY Pesos (clear?). Anyway, I figured that I must have lost my shorts on those exchanges. However, when I took a look at a normal exchange site that I monitor, it ended up being very close to what I would have gotten in Argentina for my dollars. So I was happy, once again.
But something that I did notice. I took pictures of all the bills I was dealing with. You will notice that the US dollar is the mid-size bill. The UY Peso is the largest bill and the Argentine and Brazilian bills are the smallest. So the smallest country between the 2 giants has the largest money. Do you think they are overcompensating?
So it was a money day. Unfortunately none coming in, most going out. But a necessary evil. We're looking forward to our trip.