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Thursday, February 11, 2010


Today was like Charles Dicken's "A Tale of Two Cities"- "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times".

In the morning we went to Géant (a very large super store) and purchased a bed for our guest room. Now we will be ready for visitors (in case anybody just pops into a car and drives from Seattle to South America).

But after that rousing success- the day deteriorated. We went to Medica Uruguaya and tried to get Denise's tooth filled. We now have 4 appointments (March, April and May). Remember this all started on Dec 9th, last year. Eventually that will get taken care of.

Then we went into town and stopped at the Plaza Fabini (where the lovely fountain resides) off of 18 de Julio, the main street in town. Denise had read an article in the NY Times ("36 Hours in Montevideo, Uruguay") which said the La Pasiva across the street from the plaza had the most magnificent hot dog for only 18 pesos. It was not to be missed, was the report. Anyway, we scanned the menu and the hot dog had increased to 19 pesos (naturally), so we ordered one. I can only say that it was the sorriest excuse for a hot dog I have ever seen. Either that, or we got the runts of the litter. But we noticed others ordering and receiving the same tiny hot dog, with only mustard or ketchup to adorn it. Obviously the writer of the article either had very strong bifocals, or they had ingested large amounts of psycho pharmaceuticals. Anyway- save your money, avoid La Pasiva for hot dogs and stop at any of the many vendors selling hot dogs out of mobile trailers. They offer you all of the trimmings, including some pretty spicy peppers.

Then we went to the escribano to get a second copy of the Certificado de Domicilio (a document to establish residency). The first one that I tried to use to get a electronic peaje account (the toll booth gives you a significant discount and you go through automatically) was rejected because it did not include the phrase "Permanent Resident". So the escribano made the document again (for free) and we paid another stamp tax (170 pesos) to validate the document and I again went to the peaje.

This time, they felt that everything was OK, but I needed copies of license, cedulas and also a current UTE (electric) bill. I had December's bill, but they needed January's. OK- I head back to the house at a mad pace, copied up the documents, but couldn't find the January bill. So I took down all of last year's electric bills and the needed copies to see if I could get the account. This time, I was told that the Certificado de Domicilio needed to include the phrase "Personal knowledge" of the individual (which is no problem, as we have known the escribano for 2 years). The additional text could be added to the bottom of the page, without issuing a new stamp (probably could have done that the first time).

Back to the house, where I looked at the document and determined that the phrase is actually there (buried a little, but present). Also, I found the missing January UTE bill.

Now, here is the problem. On each of the 3 visits, I was served by a different girl. One accepted the certificate, but needed current UTE bills. Another gave me a needed change to the certificate (which was done) and would have accepted that. The third needed something else. So the key in getting paperwork done in Uruguay is not having the proper documents, but finding the person who will accept what you have.

Anyway, I will try again tomorrow. It should be a big day. The bed will be delivered. The small motorcycle is sold and I will go down to the Intendencia and transfer ownership (I wonder how that will go) and I will try a 4th time for the peaje account. I've stopped banging my head against the wall, finally, and I feel much better.

Wonder what tomorrow will bring.


Anonymous said...

I went first to the peaje to inquire, second to take required documentation, only to have them write (barely legibly, as with all Uruguayan handwriting) a letter for me to write reassuring them that I had only lived two months at the current address, hence the absence of UTE 'history' on the bill.

I didn't have the correct documentation for the car (I remembered I had to go back to the dealership after trying to register because they had the chassis number wrong). This time they gave me a hand-written factura with no engine number or chassis number, and I was sure I was headed for a fourth or fifth trip to CIEMSE.

But lo and behold, I got an attractive young woman who went through everything, gave me a receipt and said come back in two weeks.

Man, did I feel righteous. Even more so now. I agree entirely, it's not what you have, it's who you get.


M Ryan said...

Did I read you are from Seattle? I am also, and have an apartment in Punta.

Wally said...

Yes, we lived in Seattle for the last 20 years, or so. I hope you take advantage of the opposite season and get the best of both worlds....