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Friday, January 30, 2015

2nd. Annual Sand Castle Event

I thought I'd give my Uruguay readers a quick heads up.

Snooping out of my window this morning, I saw some new activity at the beach in front of my house. I saw  poles being set up and strung with wiring and lights, right on the sand itself.

Also, there was a large bulldozer pushing mounds of sand into piles at various intervals.

So I waddled on down to the beach with my camera in hand and started asking some questions. It turns out that, the second annual Marindia Sand Castle event will be this last weekend of January. It should have, all of the sand sculptures ready to tour by Saturday, January 31 and Sunday, February 1st. This year the city of Salinas, who oversees Marindia, is adding a new feature to the event. The beach will be lit up at night to illuminate the sand sculptures.

The event is FREE!  It is located in the town of Marindia on the beach near the parking area named, Bajada 7. Today, Friday (January 30th), seems to be a preparation day for the event.

If you want to see the artists constructing the castles, then Friday is the day to come. However, I am looking forward to strolling at night, tonight (Friday the 30th) on the beach under the temporary event lights to see what was accomplished during the day.

On Saturday,  I want to see how many artists finally contributed to the event.

Last year, Our neighbours (2 houses got together) added a very professional looking "Sponge Bob square pants" sand portrait!

Last year, 2014, our neighbours' "SpongeBob". 
Today, amidst the piles of sand waiting to be worked on, I saw one small but impressive sculpture finished and left standing abandon as a fore-gleam of what is to come.

Last year, some neighbourhood dogs ran through and jumped on some of the pieces, ruining them. So be warned that the city wisely put up a "no animals allowed" sign.

Be sure to avoid any fines and leave your dogs at home (yeah, those dogs ruined it for the others). I hope the lack of dogs on the beach is only for this event since watching your dogs play in the sand and running through the surf is a joyous thing to behold. I agree though that the hard work of the artists need to be protected.

I went Saturday night with some friends and took these shots of the sand art lit up by the lights.

 Everyone, took photos in front of the naked lady sculpture.

We all, thought the penguins were outstanding, Wally liked their beaks.

So, if you are looking for a romantic, yet free venue to come to, try strolling on our Marindia beach at night this weekend (or day).

Enjoy the beach, the weather and the sand art!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New Year - New Name

Well, I finally made it back home. They say you "can't come home".... they were lying. And I am very happy to be back in Uruguay. Actually my return was planned so that I could renew my cedula (national identity card) on time and enjoy another 3 years without worrying about paperwork.

But first of all, some information about the first name change for the year. Our house. Previously our house had gone by the name "......" - in other words, it wasn't named. We had always talked about naming it and had decided on the name "Tranquilo", but never got around to getting a sign made. But Denise, as one of the many excellent improvements to the house had a custom sign made and installed.

Now onto the cedula renewal process. It was as simple as you can get. Denise secured an appointment at the Géant processing center, by visiting the local Abitab and paying the 233 pesos per person for the renewal fee in advance. She was able to make the appointment for two people at that time. Then, we each had to travel to Montevideo to secure a "Document de Llegada", which just says you have arrived here. Whatever. It's a simple process. Enter Migraciones, take a ticket, wait for your number, go to the proper desk. show them your cedula and they ask for your address (we both brought an Antel bill in case it was needed). They take an electronic scan of your index fingers (left one first), then you wait near the payment window while your document is processed and you step up to pay the $162 pesos (per person).

Then on our assigned renewal date, we showed up at the Géant office for immigration. Our appointment was for 3:00 group and it was not worth going too early, because the office only opened at 2:30. We came in when our group was called (they are assigned in 1/2 hour increments), presented documents, answered a few questions, got a picture taken and within a few minutes, we received our permanently sealed cedulas, good for another 3 years. Denise's photo came out OK... they managed to make me look like a fat old man. Hmmmmm.

Now, here is the funny part. Denise had not gone down to get a certified copy of our marriage license. It is on file from your initial application into the country. Last time when we renewed, we didn't need it. They just put Denise's name as our regular married name, with my family name last. However, this time they asked for the license. Since she didn't have it, they asked if she just wanted to go back to her maiden name, which is how most married women in the country are registered, anyway. The wife has her name and cedula and the husband has his name and cedula and the children are named in some form of combining the family names which is beyond my understanding, but results in longer names than we are used to.

So, Denise now is officially known by her maiden name. This doesn't change our marital status, but it does put Denise back on her own separate status, so that if something happened to me, she wouldn't have to go back and get death certificates, etc., to continue staying in the country. She is here in her own rights.

So a new year. I am living in a house with a new name and living with a wife who just had her name changed. And this is just the beginning of the year. Who knows what 2015 will bring? I can hardly wait.