For my Cumpleuruguayo I checked into the old barracks for a few nights and decided to check out the Expocannabis which I heard so much about my first few days after arriving in Uruguay. After a night making sure my ears could still mostly understand spoken Portuguese1 I decided to hop on the bus.
I arrived at LATU the "Laboratorio TecnolÃ³gico del Uruguay" roughly half an hour early and found a shady place to sit. The fence pictured is not the fence surrounding LATU. That fence surrounds a campus with an area roughly 8 typical Montevideo city blocks in size, but this is car friendly Carrasco with strip malls and parking lots for just about every business. As can be seen the Expo is still being assembled at T minus 30 minutes until it kicks off.
At 14:00 hours local time I make my way to the entry on the other side of the corral. The area enclosed in the corrall appears to be equivalent to the playing area of between 2 and 3 American Football fields. On this first day I was admitted after presenting my ticket to be scanned to a girl with a pnoHe. She signaled to a gossiping old man to give me a wrist band while 5 other persons gossiped and watched the que occasionally admitting people as they worked in three person ticket taking teams. Apparently wrist bands are expensive. When I returned subsequent days I was admitted after engaging in short contests of who could be more incredulous, I who had the expectation that new day equals new wrist band, or they who thought tossing a wrist band because who won't wear or take off and repair the same strip of paper for 3 consecutive sunny afternoons.
Even at an event celebrating a plant whose history of producing fiber suitable for pulping and paper... the locals treat scraps of paper as a valuable commodity.
Entering the Expohall lobby we see a small educational area. This is the garden. None of the plants in the garden have mature flowers. None of the plants anywhere in the expo would end up having mature flowers. This appears to have been intentional, given the ample documentation available on stable cannabis cultivars.
None of the edible cannabis products sold openly in the Sunday ferias were sold openly during the expo. Nothing psychoactive was openly sold at all.
The offical expo swag corner enjoyed priviledged position in the nominally educational lobby.
The obligatory science fair style poster presentation ends the educational lobby area. Not in the lobby area, but in the "GuÃa -Expo- Cannabis" obtained in the hostel was a "Cronograma de Actividades" full of academic presentations and panels largely focused on legal and policy wank.
But we're looking for rebels!
Going to the sales floor we find this rotary garden.
Eventually people will come.
Local press doing something.
I2 AM THE PRESS!
HERE LIES BATMIX!!!
One of many booths operated by local grow shops selling subsets of their normal inventory at 25-75% markups over in store prices.
Mujicannabis, a "brand" apparently trying to sell clothes. The normal sort not made with any part of the cannabis plant. Just doing the low effort, lowest legal risk "I'm just an artist printing speech man" schtick. And yes, there are many more unattended booths not pictured.
Seeds and growshop apparently collaborative project. The relation between Spanish seedbank Dinafem and the locals could not be discerned over the course of the weekend.
Outdoors in the food court area of the corral. Stage on left, expo hall on right, food trailers behind. The food trailers number three putting this on par with the Highland, Illinois3 Municipal Band concerts on Friday nights during the summer and far behind the Highland, Illinois Schweizerfest in serving capacity and variety.
As time went on this space filled up and the level of intoxication increased. Numerous retards walked with their pnoHes just below eye level taking video as they ambled. Everything I hate about local pedestrian habits amped up several orders of magnitude. A majority of stoners in the smoking corral appeared to lack their own marijuana and formed crowds gathering around giant novelty joints or awkwardly tried to integrate into bong circles.
As with the sales floor centerpiece capable bongs were few. Small dab rigs4 dominated clustered around rosin presses used to discard the plant matter found in cannabis flowers leaving psychotropic resins for consumption.5
A burger and fries with mustard.
As the weekend went on I'd walk, get fed up with retards and leave for air. Come back, get fed up with retards, and repeat. Saturday afternoon for far too long the stage was occupied by a group of girls in a group composed of nothing but saxophones. In a suburban area with ambient road noise leaking in, a music group composed of nothing but saxophones on microphones is torture.
As to be expected given the strength of contemporary cannabis there were at all times far more people ambling around incredibly stoned than actively smoking. I doubt any effective Republican evangelism occurred at the Expocannabis itself. It may, but probably won't be worth revisiting this event with outreach intent using different strategies next year. Overall I'd say the Expocannabis is most similar in size to the Perry County Fair in Pinckneyville, Illinois6 homecoming though the setting of the Expocannabis is a bit more rural. I was expecting something closer to the DuQuion State Fair.
Spending the weekend at the hostel by contrast was a pleasant experience. In spite of a complete turnover of the volunteers my position in the hostel heirarchy was swiftly re-established. The English language, which had come to become too common when I left for the current habitation module, in the interm had retreated back to the level it was when I first arrived. When I first arrived one year ago listening to conversations was a tiring exercise which resulted in me unserstanding very little of what was being said. This year listening was easy, productive, and joined by the opportunity to actively participate in coversations. Like last year Portuguese was the dominant hostel language, but Spanish was present to a stonger degree than last year. Some of the same Brasileros and Brasileras from last year returned this year.
Reports were hostel goers had better luck acquiring cannabis for themselves anywhere but the Expocannabis though there were no problems for anyone wanting to get high at the expo. Prices reported were substantially higher than normal though Uruguay is in the awkard period where high tourism season is in swing but the traditional harvest season is several months away.7
One major change over last year is that the folks working street corners last year advertising cannabis had largely moved on to advertising cocaine this year.
- Who and When are still a bit iffy [↩]
- Not pictured [↩]
- Population 9919 per the 2010 census. For comparison the number printed on my ticket was in the low 40,000s [↩]
- A dab rig is a type of water pipe that resembles a bong scaled down to be a crack pipe [↩]
- The discarded plant matter is not completely without psycotropic contents and can be used as feed for chemical extractions later. A point I suspect was not lost to the fellows who brought and operated the presses. [↩]
- population 5,464 [↩]
- With modern autoflower genetics a crop planted in August and harvested in October/November could exploit this being dryed, cured, and dank in time for the tourists. [↩]