No disrespect intended to any rotund readers, but we have finalized the sale on Casa Tranquilo and have closed the chapter on Uruguay. With 7 plus years of insight into the country via our experiences, we will leave the blog up for new people to enjoy.
As of this date forward, we are living in Macon, Georgia and I plan on posting, on occasion, about our new experiences in the South. The new blog is entitled "Heart of Georgia". The actual web address is: http://heartogeorgia.blogspot.com (heartofgeorgia was already taken, obvously).
Thanks for all your comments and for looking in on us from time to time. I hope to see you at our new blog (all 5 of you).
Wally & Denise
Monday, May 25, 2015
Virtual Tour of Casa Tranquilo
Well, we have finally made all our preparations to move. We are putting the last of our personal effects in boxes. We will probably take much less back than we moved here with. After almost 7 years here (on June 8th), we still had some things in boxes and stored away in cabinets.
So- the house is officially up for sale. I know some of you have followed us for several years, so if you have friends that are thinking about moving here (or you are finally making the move)- let them know that our house is available. I am being shamelessly commercial about this.
They say that location, location, location is important when buying a house and as you readers know I agree! Living just steps from the beach and enjoying the sound of the surf at night and seeing the daily activities on the sand itself of people playing soccer and horses galloping by all through the view from my dining room window, I can't imagine wanting to live anywhere else in Uruguay than in Marindia.
So, yes, I will miss this house and place a lot! If we weren't moving back to the USA, I wouldn't be selling this home at all!!!
That having been said, this house is now for sale. It is an open and bright (with natural light and plenty of overhead lights) airy floor plan. It has 3 bedrooms, 2 bath rooms and a separate laundry room with it's own window and outside door and laundry sink (washer and dryer included). It is on a double lot. There are water views from the living room, the dining room and even the kitchen! So you can wash the dishes looking through the kitchen sink window and see the sea, but we also have a dishwasher that is included in the sale. The backyard is fully fenced with a tall block wall for privacy and has a dedicated fenced vegetable garden area. It also has a back patio with a covered Parilla (bbq grill).There are several patio spaces around the house to take advantage of the winter and the summer sun.
The neighbourhood is beautiful and is very walkable (and safe) with 2 grocery stores you can walk to that each have full butcher-shops in them. As most of you readers know, I walk to Salinas to the weekly farmers' market (called the feria) pulling my little wire cart behind me to buy fresh vegetables and fruit for the week and other goods. This same group of farmers then goes to Atlantida to sell in the afternoon on the same day, their wares. So we here in Marindia and Salinas, we get first dibs on the produce, then Atlantida gets what is left! So fresh produce is a big plus for my area. Speaking of walkable, you can also walk on the beach all the way to Atlantida a major town/city away, as it's only an easy 5 kilometres away, and yes I have done it.
The town of Salinas has all the small support systems you may need like a beauty shop, post office, restaurants etc... and I regularly walk there. So I will also miss the convenience of not needing a car in my daily rounds. There is also the available bus system a few blocks away on the main ruta/highway. Okay, enough of the sales pitch!
What a lot of preparation goes into a move, though. There are papers to get for the pets, who are going with us, this time. There are pet "passports" to get and the travel arrangements to be made with the airline. Happy to note that our dog will fly for only an additional $ 200. Now if only I could arrange to fly in a kennel, I could be Denise's pet.
We have noticed that houses here in Uruguay are rarely prepared much for sale. They just show them as they are, dirty clothes strew about, piles of dishes, etc... are often shown in the "for sale" photos.. In the States, it is common to stage a house by removing most of the decorative and personal items in the house. Denise recently learned that the practice of taking ALL of your photos off the wall may not be the wisest course. A few personal photos show a prospective buyer that a real family lived here and that their family could also be happy in the house. But any needless clutter should be removed, and surfaces cleaned and presented with just enough decoration to make the house attractive.
When we sold our house in Seattle, we sold it fully furnished. We expect to do the same here. We're not planning on taking more that 20-30 boxes back. Just the items that we have picked up on our travels.
So, if you have ever had a hankering to sample life at the beach in South America with the Southern cross above your heads at night and a never ending sky meets water view, then Marindia might be a good choice..... and have I got the house for you....
Monday, May 11, 2015
The house, besides being in the middle of farmland (the cows mooed all night long) had a number of interesting features, which made working there a challenge.
First of all, the owner had bought about 25 huge windows, with stained glass inserts (the larger ones arched tops) from a mansion being demolished. And when I say huge... the big ones were 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. It was all that Jim and I could do to lift the frame, without the window panels in place. Jim has taken on the task of renovating, sanding and painting the windows. It is painstaking work and anybody who knows me, knows that I do not like to paint. Still, it was a refreshing change of pace and I am glad I had the opportunity.
|Straw Light Panel in Place|
|They mix the lay and straw together|
Finally- the quincho style roof was breathtaking. It was more a work of art than a roofing system. It looks like it was sculpted. And the inside of the house is going to be very spacious. And while it should prove to be very cool in the summer, I am not sure how warm it will be with all of those single paned windows in the house. Still the straw light panels should provide good insulation.
|Jim filling a crack in the door|
|Some of the detail carving|
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
No, we did not take a motorcycle trip around South America, but we did have visitors who ended their 3,000 mile journey with a 3 day stay at "Casa Tranquilo". How we ended up hosting this gang, composed of 2 guys and a girl, is an interesting story.
over 40 years ago, I was roommates with Lance Wakely, a budding young guitarist, song writer and studio musician, formerly of The Cascades musical group- famous for "Rhythm of the Rain" (how is that for a run-on sentence?). When Lance looked like he did on the left, I looked like I did on the right. Anyway, after living in Hollywood for many years, Lance eventually winds up in Poland (don't ask me how). He currently records and releases albums as "Dr. Harmonica", and is a one man band who plies the "busker trade" throughout the summer months in Northern Europe.
|Lance And His Lovely Wife|
They came in and spent several days with us. There was Dan (Lances relative), Doug (a bearded bear of a man) and Nancy (whose helmets had horns on them, if you can picture that). They had been on the road for about 5 weeks and after they left us, one was storing his bike for another trip later on in the year (Doug), while the other two were shipping theirs back to the US from Buenos Aires (Dan and Nancy).
It was very interesting for us, as this was quite the adventure and it opened up some stories that they shared about their time on the road. We had some food, I made pizzas and chicken wings, we drank a little wine and enjoyed ourselves. Later, when Dan left us, he penned a poem (you would not peg him for a poet), that we will treasure always. It describes his visit with us in our home.
In the far off land of Uruguay
Where the world and road come to an end
Is the lovely Casa Tranquillo, where I made two wonderful friends
Life there is gratefully simple
And time warps in strange way
It passes both slowly and quickly, on any same night and same day
The sand and the sky meet the water
The night sky sparkles with glee
It's not easy to get there, and it's even harder to leave
There are places on earth that can change you, and then you are never the same.
I don't know if I'll ever get back there, but I'm glad in my heart that I came.
Well, it was quite an interesting time and thanks to Lance for connecting us.
Sunday, March 1, 2015
This post is dedicated to my dog Noche, may she rest in Peace!
It also has some serious warnings to think about for you dog owners.
I was shocked to learn that my dog not only wasn't pregnant but had never been. This was confirmed with an in-home sonogram. Thanks to a wonderful English speaking veterinarian who practices concierge medicine, I finally had some answers as to what was happening to Noche.
The term concierge means custodian or aide. In Medical practices it tends to be a higher level of personal commitment and attention to the patient. Some of you may have seen the TV show "Royal Pains" where an East coast Doctor sets up a practice in South Hampton, New York. In the show, the Doctor caters to rich people by visiting them in their homes and taking care of all of their medical needs. Mariana Amoedo a licensed Veterinarian has a list of individual clients (pets) that she takes care of versus just walk in strangers. She thinks of each pet as unique and individual.
I was ready to change vets, when I started having some problems with Barney. I noticed that my regular vet in Salinas didn't really give full exams. He never really opened my dogs mouth or looked into his ears or used a stethoscope to listen to the dogs. He took you on your word as to what you thought was happening. I thought Barney was allergic to something and so had some hot spots or sores where he was scratching too hard. The Salinas vet prescribed some omega 3 and 6 vitamins to help his fur which didn't. So an empty bottle and a month later, I called around and learned about this woman vet who comes to your house instead.
In the meantime, Noche was due for her Rabies shot, the last one in her puppy series, she was barely 1 year old. I was too busy during the year so she received shots from only 2 visits in Salinas instead of the 4 visit appointment that they usually give each young pup. The 2 were scheduled about 1 month apart. I was about to take her in for the last one when she went into heat for the first time and the vet told me to wait until that was over, even though I had already given her the parasite pills they make you give to them several days before the rabies shot. So I waited that out and then they said I had to buy more parasite pills and wait the few days to let those pills work, then bring her in for her shot.
Now, I am a big believer in Neutering pets to avoid unplanned pregnancies, really I am! My dog Barney is neutered, so is Sheila and even my boy cat Nathan is neutered, since males can father hundreds of litters. However, this last year, I kept putting it off when it came to Noche my female dog. For one thing she was still young. Then, when she turned 7 to 8 months I found myself working 6 days a week cleaning houses for people. I have never trusted our Volkswagen not to breakdown on me and I'm not that great at driving a stick-shift. Wally was also out of the country for many, many months which is why he didn't post about Uruguay. So on my own I didn't get her "fixed' before her 1st. heat cycle. I didn't know that I could get a veterinarian to come to my house. Had I known that I would have called immediately to have had it done. I just kept thinking that to carry back an unconscious dog home after neutering was beyond me. Most of my friends have motorcycles. One friend, was dealing with his own sad family circumstances and so I was in a waiting pattern with Noche.
During her 1st. heat/mating cycle while I was waiting out the time, I thought I was extremely careful not to let any male dogs near her. Except for Barney, who I know is neutered, she was never out of my sight on any walk to the trashcan and never more than 1 minute was I not looking at her. However, there was 1 minute once, when she dashed around our house corner into the next yard but she came back immediately when I called her. Little did I know that, that 1 minute would cause me to feel guilty and cause me so much emotional stress.
After her heat cycle was over and the 2nd parasite pills given and days passed, I walked her to my Salinas vet and she got her combo shots. During the next month when we had some friends over to our house for dinner we all remarked how big her belly had become and that she looked pregnant! Now I was worried and started to watch her get bigger and bigger. She looked healthy just pregnant and that missing minute started to haunt me. If she got pregnant before her rabies shots then she had been given the vaccines while carrying puppies! How damaged would they be? We prepared a place for her to give birth, a quiet place away from the other pets. Still, I was very worried about the condition of the "puppies" which because I hadn't neutered her, I was now sure she had because of seeing her fat sides.
I read online how someone had a vet take a sonogram of her dog and 1 pup showed up dead and was blocking the birth canal. Armed with this knowledge she had the dog receive a "C" section to deliver the rest of the puppies which saved the dog mother and the other puppies. What if, Noche would need that? So, when my new vet, Mariana, came to visit Barney in our home we explained our worries about Noche having a normal pregnancy or not.
When she saw Noche she got worried, she was large but her nipples didn't look maternal. She wanted to look at what was happening to Noche's inside and suggested the sonogram as well. She is in touch with several specialised vets in her practice and called 2 right away. Naturally, everyone was on vacation during Mardigras but she was able to at least contact them. As soon as one came back on Monday he said he would visit us in our home. Dr. Nicolas Girreta who works with her is a Diagnostic Ecográfico Veterinarian with his own machine. I meanwhile, kicked myself, for not neutering Noche and causing this, and for letting her be vaccinated unknowingly pregnant, she obviously was not showing any signs of fatness when I went to the vet in Salinas.
Well, Nicolas showed up in his car and Mariana and her father in their truck. They checked Noches' belly and there were NO PUPPIES! There never had been a pregnancy, what else didn't show up was a liver of any significant size! Both Nicolas and Mariana were surprised that this condition was showing up in a dog so young but they both said that just recently there has been a sudden rash of such instances very new to Uruguay. The youngest dog with this condition was just 6 months old
They explained to me that her liver had shrunk and her belly was filled with water filling in the gap. They drew out a huge amount of water with a syringe and showed that to me as well. They said that diuretic medicine could help with the water build up but without a functioning liver it was really, well, not a good outlook. So right there, while she was still lively and healthy looking we made the awful decision to put her down in a dignified way.
By having Mariana take her away and putting her under at her clinic (by lethal injection), the smell of death won't be in our house for the other animals to sense.
Noche will be buried on the Doctor's property. She has 24 Hectares and we were invited to visit her grave if we wanted to. Apparently, other people come often to do that. We believe that dead animals are dead, so we won't be doing that, still, I included her 2 favourite toys to be buried with her. I asked that her collar stay on. She had people who loved her and I wanted her to be buried with her belongings. She is and was so sweet that she walked to the truck quietly and unafraid, as I said goodbye.
|Brand of shots used past years for Sheila|
|Noche's new brand of shots.|
I read that in the USA "yearly" rabid shots are no longer given. All 50 states have agreed to no longer give annual shots but rather they only give them every 3 years instead!
Here's a link on some information about dog vaccinations. http://www.dog-health-today.com/dog-vaccinations.html
Many critics feel that the effects of the immunity may last longer than just 3 years from 5 to 7 or possibly the life of the animal. But of course, the companies would suffer financially. What has caused me some concern is that when I looked at Sheila and Barney's old shot records, the vaccines were from the Pfizer company, a well known established company but this year the vet in Salinas has changed brands and Noche was given all her shots last month using a brand called Calier.
I know, I maybe grasping at straws to find a cause or to blame someone or something. I feel only slightly okay that Noche was never pregnant nor given shots while thus so. Still, this rash of young dogs getting old dog conditions is new to Uruguay. I at least want the vets to start asking dog owners about this possible connection between the rabies vaccinations and the new company and to check/compare brand labels used by the affected dogs. They might end up seeing a distinct pattern or not and just keep on being bewildered about this new trending condition in young dogs occurring in Uruguay. I'm also mad that Noche was given a double dose of parasite pills just because I had to wait 3 weeks until her heat cycle was over. It was all such bad timing! I will see Mariana this coming Friday when she visits Barney. I will show her the old labels from the brand given to my other dogs versus the new brand given to Noche. It would be terrible if the new brand being used, was been used because it's cheaper in price and quality. Conversely, it could be overly powerful, too much so, for a young dogs' system to handle.
In only 1 month after her last shot, she went from fit and running around to swollen with water. I will now go on to follow the USA practice and not give my other 2 dogs their shots next year, nor the next year after that. Every three years, sounds safer than every year (annually). Maybe, I will even have my dogs' blood tested after that length of time because many studies are saying that if there are antibodies for rabies present in the animals blood, those that have been vaccinated, then there is no need for more shots. There are no booster shots for Rabies only the full dose is given each time and not according to weight! Do your own research and make your decisions before it's too late.
Noche, my sweet, beloved girl, will be sorely missed!
Mariana Amoedo, Veterinaria. lives in Atlántida, Ruta 11, KM.159.500
Camino A Solis Chico
Her clinic is called El Rocio
(near Expat Jerry). She speaks English and Spanish. Her phone numbers are 437 25046 (home)
099 130 943 (cell phone)
Her website is www.elrocio.com.uy Her Facebook page is El-Rocio
Dr. Nicolás Girreta, Diagnóstico Ecográfico Veterinario
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (cell phone) 099 599 015
Monday, February 9, 2015
Word on the street, is that most appliances here last no more than 7 years- hence the need to decide whether to splurge on a new refrigerator or repair the old one.
It kept running, without stopping and the cooling was minimal. We thought it might be the gas that needed recharging, but couldn't be sure.
|This is shows 1 week of frost build up while we were awaiting the correct part.|
They came on time, examined the unit and determined that the heating element that keeps the cooling fins clear of ice needed replacing. Because the call center gave them the wrong model number, they had to come back a few days later to complete the repair.
But eventually the repair was completed, and the refrigerator works better than ever. And the final cost, just under $100, including the original visit. So it payed to repair, rather than replace. Now if we can just get another 7 years out of it.....
I think that the cost to repair items is far lower here, than in the US. My father had someone come out to examine his refrigerator last year and it cost him almost $100 to find out that the repair wasn't worth doing.
I don't think I mentioned this before, but when we first came to Uruguay, I had purchased a brand new Sony 300 CD player. I forgot that it was 110V and when I plugged it in, I fried the unit. I took it apart (hoping to find some obvious part I could replace), but was unable to come to any conclusion, so I put the parts in a box and stuck it away.
Later, I decided to contact Sony repair in Uruguay and eventually sent it in, parts in a box and all. They tested it, put it back together and installed a new power supply (220V, this time). All for about $80. You couldn't even find anyone to look at equipment for that price in the US.
So it pays to repair. Hopefully that remains true for our 7 year old washing machine, that is currently waiting a service call....
Friday, January 30, 2015
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.
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".|
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.
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!