Well, It's been a while since my last blog and our readers are restless.
A friend from Washington State even wrote to give me suggestions on things to write about, in case I had writer's block.
Here is a copy of possible subjects that "D.C." from Washington suggested:
Ha Ha Doc, I bet you didn't think that I would take your advice so literarily but here it goes.
Using the above list as a reference, I'm going to tackle for this week's post some down to earth subjects or rather, some"Mundane" things, like the Utility expenses we pay, here in Uruguay. Bear in mind that the dollar exchange rate keeps lowering. This month (August) the exchange rate is $18.25 pesos per each USA dollar. So you can do the math.
The power company is UTE which stands for Usinas y Trasmisiones Electricas. It is government owned so it's full title is the Administracion Nacional de etc...(see above). The power or electric bill varies month to month. The bill includes a little graph chart so you can tell what your usage was during the same month last year and the chart continues on up to the current month. I can see for instance that my highest usage is, not surprisingly, during the 3 months of our winter; July, August and September. Our wood stove has a fan that sends the heat throughout our house so since it's on almost 24 hours a day for those months it makes sense that those are the highest bills. We don't have an air conditioner for the summer months so winter is our only high season.
Some people are on plans so they choose initially when signing up, what time of day or night that they will be using the most electricity and then they have to stick to that same set time, month after month. If they go over the agreed amount they are charged or gigged a lot. Wally and I can't live with that kind of set choice or pressure so we just pay the standard fees. Under so many kilowatts your charged so much per watt, go over that and your then charged a higher rate for the over wattage only. It doesn't matter if I decide to reverse my schedule and party at midnight or two in the afternoon, the time of day doesn't matter only the amount of watts.
For instance, 4.82kwh= $186.47
100kwh = $274.35
Add that up, then add some more charges called, Cargo Flijo (fixed charge) of $114.12 then throw in some tax called I.V.A; say of $282.71 pesos and add it all up. The grand total on that bill was $1568 pesos (they round up or down to the nearest peso) or $85.92, USA dollars (at 18.25 pesos per dollar). That was for the month of march, slightly before Autumn. I'm in winter now, so it will be a bit higher this month. In most Latin American countries the cost of electricity is very high.
The water company is O.S.E. It stands for Obras Sanitarios del Estado (obras means "works" in Spanish). It too has a little water usage chart. Uruguay has clean and abundant water so the bill is much more reasonable. Depending on the month and possible home projects think around $250 - $350 pesos for water. Most people in the suburbs have well water available for gardening use and lawn irrigation. You don't have to go very deep to find water but if you do go deeper then that water is usually very potable. So the cost of city water can be decreased through well usage.
The telecommunications company is Antel. It stands for Administracion Nacional de Telecomunicaciones.You get two separate bills from them. One is for internet service and the other for your landline telephone. Mobile or cellar phone plans are through other companies. Internet is about $1000 pesos, the most expensive of the two bills. You pay more or less depending on the speed you opt for. Telephone is around $200 pesos depending on usage. They give you the dates and phone call duration times (of your calls) so you can monitor the bill. As a side note, when making phone calls, house to house calls or cell phone to cell phones calls are recommended, don't mix them up, it costs more when you do.
All of these utility bills can be paid in one place, at a neighborhood Abitab center, pictured in the above title photo.
I'll quickly run through a few more bills to answer our friends' curiosity. We used to get cable TV and paid about $50 (USA dollars) a month for it, without any of those speciality channels (although we could have ordered them and paid more). We dropped it, as we now use the computer for anything we want to watch.
Gas/propane tanks used for cooking and also for some small heaters are $373 pesos a refill. You have to first buy the tank yourself (on your own) somewhere. An empty tank can cost in the neighborhood of $2500 to $3000 pesos, then you buy the fill for $373. I remember buying a pretty gold tank, when they came to bring me my gas order fill, they took it away and gave me one of the companies' old blue tanks. They bring a pre-filled tank to you, so don't bother buying a good tank you'll never see it again anyway!
Firewood, I feel that I got "taken or gipped" on my last purchase of $2800 pesos per cord of wood, for Eucalyptus wood. An expat in Atlántida (a nearby town) has since given me an ad for firewood and a telephone number that I'm going to call and sometime this month I'll will try for it's price of $2400 pesos a cord. I will also request smaller pieces from them. I will probably go in person to see them as my telephone Spanish skills are not great.
We have a septic system it can run depending on the company you call anywhere from $600 pesos to $800 to empty. We have a very large one so about every 6 months we call for removal.
Gasoline, I don't know the exact price per gallon or Liter here in Uruguay because I've been walking everywhere. I guess, it's around $5.00 to $6.00 a gallon ,USA dollars.
Uruguay is NOT! an inexpensive or lower place to live like, let's say Mexico. It is simply a slower paced place to live, more restful.
Okay, I am now very depressed and bored with the mention of all of these "Gastos" or expenses and their rundowns.
I'll show you some flower photos now to cheer us up. I used to have two huge Camilla trees back in Washington State and they would bloom in February. That is about the equivalent for this month of August, here in Uruguay. We have had a sudden spell of warm weather and so the early bloomers are blooming. My Daffodils are all up and some trees are blooming, yellow puffs, as well. Here are some photos of what's coming up around me in Uruguay.
I choose the yellow flower photos because they are so sunny and happy looking!
I might not be able to address everything on D.C's list but I will, in the future, keep some of the items in mind and try and mention them in a blog post or two. This way, any of you that are interested in the more mundane things occurring in Uruguay can get your fill.