Search This Blog

Sunday, March 31, 2013


I've been nursing a cold, meaning staying at home for a few days and generally taking it easy. Still, when I suddenly remembered that this "week of tourism"(march 24-31) also included a week of Criolla days or Semana Criolla, a celebration of the Gaucho in it's 88th year, I felt that I should attend.

This event that started in 1925 and is organized by the Intendencia (city hall) is held in Montevideo in 2 separate places in the city during this week. One place, where the Gauchos (think cowboys) meet to perform their skill set such as roping etc... is at the fairgrounds called the Prado. I've been there at those grounds several times before. In September, a similar event is held at the Prado which is a little larger and I seem to prefer that one a little better. The one held in September seems to me, to be a fuller event . That one has more participants and more high end vender booths and cows and other farm animals appearing. It's more like a country fair. Still, September is a long way away, so I decided to go for the day to check out the happenings this month.

As I mentioned, this event is held in 2 places in Montevideo, the second place is in a park called Franklin D Roosevelt Park. He seems to have been a popular US president here as a stretch of the rambla or city beach road is also named after him. This park is located right across the street from the superstore (a Walmart type) called Géant. The trees are nice, it's a mini forest across from a shopping mall so that's cool.

I've often thought about wandering through this park but it seemed to contain only trees with no real trails or benches that I could note. It does have a front section called the" infantile park" or a playground which has some nice climbing structures for the kiddies.

I have heard from others that this locations' event, the one held across the street from the mall is the "poor cousin" to the one held in the Prado fairgrounds so I thought that this site would be more to my speed. The word funky springs to mind just now. I was in a "Funk" because of my cold and didn't want to travel to the Prado and make a big deal about the day and this site was just "funky" enough to match my mood (slightly depressed, mine cold-related) there are several different definitions of that word funky so take your pick, except for the foul oder. I have always found that Uruguay generally smells really nice even flower scented at times, where ever I go. So I'd choose definitions 2 and 3 for this occasion. I just wanted to peek at the FDR park. I had never been to that 2nd event site. The bus was an easy ride, it cost me 38 pesos ($2.00) to get there, oddly it only cost me 29 pesos to return home. It depends on the bus company you get.

Metal wall setup, surrounding the pay to enter, Gaucho exhibition.
This site had 4 things to recommend it.
1) Entrance was free (except for the cowboy event).

 2) There was a professional "amusement ride" section set up this occasion for the teens and kids.

3) Lots of typical snack foods.

Several 33 gallon drum, homemade BBQ's scattered around grilling stuff and other food offerings.

4) Little pony rides for the children.

My first pony ride was in Griffton Park, Hollywood Hills in California, so I know that those types of memories can be special for the tinniest of people.

My camera decided to need recharging so I didn't bother going into the actual paid event. That event was a demonstration of a  concurso de Jineteadas.  "Jineteadas" involving  2  categories of Pelo and Basto. Pelo international and Argentino Basto. Jineteadas (check on for a u Tube video)

After wandering around for a while, I felt I could hop back on the bus and return home feeling satisfied  I had checked out this 2nd gathering. I always think that pictures are worth a thousand words, so I hope you had an interesting glimpse into this low key location.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A World Wide Invitation!

Wow, I can't believe how quick another year flew by!
Next week starts, Semana Santa/holy week. It's that time of the calendar, when I want to invite everyone to this year's celebration of the "Memorial of Christ's Death". We hold it only one time a year. I'm giving you a 1 week heads up, to plan to attend.

The date for this event is next Tuesday March 26th, 2013/ El Martes 26 De Marzo de 2013. The time is after sunset. Every congregation of Jehovah's Christian Witnesses has been busy this entire month going door to door and inviting people to this free gathering in memory of our Lord and Savior. On the invitation you will find the address of your area's local congregation and the hour the service will be held.

You don't have to be a Jehovah's Witness to attend. No donation plate will be passed! Just bring (if you want to) your own copy of your Bible to follow along the re-telling of the night that Jesus Christ met upstairs with his Apostles and broke bread and passed the wine to them, this represented his body and his blood that would be poured out in behalf of them and us. The Scriptures will be read from the platform in case you don't have a Bible. This short service will not only mention what took place that night but also emphasize, "Why", Christ had to die and "Why" it's important for each one of us to remember him. Also, how his death helps us.

Here in Uruguay, in the town of Salinas, the local congregation is located on the north side of the ruta on the street/calle Yamandú e Zapicán y Magaluna en Salinas. It will be held at 18:30 (6:30PM)

In Salinas you have your choice of times to attend this evening. Either at 18:30 (6:30PM) or 20hrs. (8PM). Whichever, is the most convenient for you to attend. The service will simply be repeated.

Directions: Basically, go to the main Arc/arch in Salinas, cross the highway/ruta at the traffic signal. You are now standing on the north side of the town. Go up (north), only 1 block, it's the first street you see (there's an Abitab or redpagos? there). Turn on this street to the left (towards MVD) stay on this street and walk 4 blocks or so? The Kingdom Hall is on this street, on the right (north-side).

The city of Atlántida has it's own congregation which will present the same program. It is located just past the medical clinic in Atlántida, "Medica Uruguaya" no more than a few blocks. You should be able to "see the hall" as it is only a few buildings off of the ruta. Sorry, that I don't know the address or time for that meeting. So be on the lookout for your free invitation. The meeting is after sundown.

It's good to remember this week as not only a vacation week but as an opportunity to appreciate your spiritual side. As one modern language translation of the Bible says (the"New World Translation")  "Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need..." (Matthew/Mateo 5 verse 3).

I hope you can attend!

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Uruguayan appetizer!

Okay, I admit it, we first learned about this starter course, technically in Brazil not Uruguay. It was in the border town of Chuy but Uruguay was literally right across the street! There is no need of a visa for "this town", it is sort of, "shared" by both countries. You can literarily stand with one foot in Uruguay and the other in Brazil, by simply standing in the middle of the main street. You can freely shop the entire town in either country, in any of the stores on either side of this dividing street. Brazil has some great bargains.

Bring and use your passport as ID, if you want to take advantage of the great prices in the duty free shops. Since the restaurant we ate in was on the Brazilian side of this said street, I will credit Brazil with introducing us to this hors d'oeuvre of melted cheese. We ate it, we liked it, and then didn't think about it again, until some immigrating new expats invited us out to dinner at a restaurant and ordered it, some months later in Uruguay!

Brazil on the left, parked cars in the middle and Uruguay on the right.
This border town has no visible dividing line between countries.

Our friends, asked the waiter if they served the Provolone cheese dish in this restaurant and the answer was "Of course!/¡Claro que sí! Ah! we finally learned what type of cheese was used in this melted concoction. I mean yes, any cheese can be melted from cheddar to swiss, I think fondues use Gruyere as it's main base but now we knew what type to use for this appetizer dish of apparently both Uruguay and Brazil.

As a side note, the restaurant they took us to was Don Vito's. Don Vito's is a local expat hangout in the city of Atlántida. I think it's because it is open 24/7 even in winter, when many other places are closed. It also has an extensive menu. For several years many of the "Expat luncheons" were held there. During this winter the first Expat meeting for the Canelones area will be Thursday March 7th, at 1 PM/13:00 hrs. held at Jerry Brunner's "Hotel Via Park" right on the rambla in Parque de Plata near the intersection of calle 11 (street 11). The hotel Piroska has closed down for the winter, that is where the expat meetings were being held this summer.

Getting back on tract about the cheese dish, being forever frugal, Wally and I just had to learn how to make this cheese dish at home and it's incredibly simple to do. First, buy or get an oven proof dish, very shallow. The food stores also sell a dish for this purpose to use for parties. It has several little shallow indentations in it, so you can just use little morsels of cheese to melt as bite size appetizers. We bought a little saucer plate, that was oven and microwave proof. Note: they sell 2 slices of cheese to a package at our supermarket but we only use 1, so we save the second slice to make this again on some other night. What a bargain!

Recipe: Use a shallow ovenproof/microwave dish.
             Provolone Cheese (a thick slice or round)
             Oregano dried or fresh.

*Lay the cheese slice on some oregano, coating it as shown, or according to your taste (both front and backside of the cheese).
*Put the oregano coated cheese slice on the dish (there's no need to coat the dish with anything).
*Bake at 350F/175C. for about 15 minutes or until melted and just slightly bubbly.

Use 2 spoons and ladle it onto your plate as shown. Enjoy with bread, crackers or whatever!
Now, we are enjoying yet another taste treat of Uruguay and being thrifty at the same time!