Well, I've been in Uruguay for more than a year. That means Harry is festively attired for the occasion. It also means these past few days the number of bums in my neighborhood has increased along with the number of fireworks stands. The recent discovery that the the ExpoCannabis more resembIes the Argentine Comicon documented by Hanbot than anything else after attending it this year following substantial hype for the event last year has cemented by low opinion on most things the locals intend.
No, when they intend something the results disappoint. These people seem more moved by the sun, the moon, and the tides. Bums from places like Cerro,1 which is a poor shithole. Normally the pichis don't migrate en masse because they aren't organizable, and when they do move individually the moves are contentious and usually undertaken under duress. Such is life for those lacking doors and locks. Yet during the days before Navidad the accumulate around the Shoppings to panhandle and fight the local bums.
Earlier today one of the local tramps generally engaged in neighborhood improvement2 advised me that the petty crime had really gone up in the past week, and I had to agree. Also happening during this increase in petty crimes? A lot more police doing foot patrols in pairs. There's even normal police patroling on the Rambla in what is normally Navy police territory, and yet... more police, more crime?
Gloria, the Peruana is not a full time resident of the habitation module, but she is spending increasing amounts of time here cleaning, cooking, adoring me, and being the losing party in the never ending tickle fight. Her dedication to cleanliness is impressive. I'll find her laudering shirts and other white clothes that I'd just retrieved from the lavadero earlier in the day. When she leaves for her pension3 near the border between Tres Cruces and Cordón she'll take half of my towels and return them clean.
She's fascinated by white people food, particular the parts that don't intersect with the Uruguayo menu. Consider:
This month's fascination is chocolate chip cookies. She was absolutely horrified by the amount of butter, especially after it was bulked up by blonde sugar. Stuffing last month was simpler: make a sort of soup, mix a bunch of dry bread in the soup, and bake. She will expertly dice vegatables and produce rich soups and stews out of what appears to be very little. She's managed to cook just about any protein I've presented her without consulting any reference materials. She can wake up in the morning, cut potatoes, and immersion fry them in a skillet without making a mess to produce papas fritas for breakfast without appearing to expend anymore effort than a typical North American assembling a bowl of cereal. Yet measuring, mixing, and baking appears as some sort of myserious dark magic to her.
Compared to last year I have yet to see Judas burning or anti-semetic stickers, but the fireworks haven't even gone off yet. But the trash situation already decaying, and I have a more complete picture of the Christmas related bum situation. It's also nice composing a post in a less Spartanly configured mp-wp, coming soon for Pizarro customers.
- Cerro is a beach barrio on the other side of Montevideo bay. Cerro and its Western extension Casabó have quite a bit of shoreline. And the old hilltop fort! And a golf club! All of the things that superficially make it seems like a place where things could happen. But being on the wrong side of the bay, no one ever made a case for it and the result is a beach favela. Residents of Cerro are bitter about how this happened and from time to time graffiti will appear in the parks of Pocitos and Punta Carretas alternately declaring the glory of Cerro or proclaiming that Pocitos and Punta Carretas are actually Cerro. [↩]
- This means he puts trash into dumpsters instead of doing the opposite as the bums do, repairs sections of the sidewalk in his territory when they come lose, and along with other tasks relating to cleanliness and neighborhood safety. He further keeps less desirable bums out of his turf and does more to discourage petty crime than the Police do. For his work he gets an aclove sheltered from the weather and donations of food and change more generous than the bums recieve. When his right eye was puffed up and swollen with puss after an altercation with a bum, I filled his antibiotics prescription for him. His death or disablity beyond his occasional intoxication would be a profound negative, but a couple hundred pesos is a bigger ask than I expected the Uruguayos to fill. [↩]
- It is one of four bedrooms tucked behind a kiosko in a single story building, shared kitchen and a couple shared bathrooms. College dorm style rules to keep the girls from killing each other. Standard, for this type of accomodation, prohibition on overnight guests because the owner doesn't want to get a whorehouse license. No windows, skylight in the common area, no air conditioning, bring your own heat in the winter... This is the typical accomodation for the unmarried women without families. There are similar more limited options for single men, but they are usually advertised exclusively for students (though not usually enforced in practice) and an age cap. [↩]