Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category
First the pesos
Now onwards to our URU-gay: (more...)
Adjusting to urban life has probably been a bigger adjustment for me than language and Latino/Italian culture.1 Since I've become aware of the fitness thing again I've been doing the whole body bodyweight thing alternating days. The nice side effect of forgetting about fitness, is that when paid attention to again it doesn't take much time to see some progress. My eyes are making if over the pullup bar. But it helps that this activity has a concrete purpose in adapting to Urbanity, to that point I would rate its importance up there with additional solo drilling of vocabulary and grammar before departure.
Useful to the solo urban pioneer is the 15 to 25 liter2 daypack.3 A lot of sites, reddits, and members of the travel fandom will instead advocate building a luggage strategy around a 35-45 liter "carry on travel backpack" as the center of everything. While this may be fine for recreationally or even in some cases productively hopping from hostel to hostel every few days, a pioneer builds things and building requires tools. On most international flights you get to bring a carry on suitcase and a separate "personal item" piece of luggage into the cabin. This maximizes your space from transporting valuables, fragiles, and their padding. As a young republican pioneer who will be building stuff, you are probably transporting some tools and materials that are going into checked bags. Having checked bags is fine, and the only way you are going to have an all important claw hammer from the moment you leave your destination airport for your new life.
Your daypack should be able to comfortably transport your essential work tools, a change of clothes, and an additional load for the greater value of 10kg or 10% of your bodyweight for arbitrary distances covered on foot. Is this how you are actually going to load your daypack everyday? No, not unless you keep arbitrary ballast in your pack habitually. Like solid leather boots that you might not wear everywhere and forever after you get the lay of the land, it a useful excess of capability. Loot drops are rarely weightless no matter what the games tell you.4
Securing your daypack given its contents is an extremely high priority. It does not go unatttended unless secured. If you are in a hostel it and NOT your carry on or drug stash5 goes in your locker. Alternately it can sleep with you in your bed.
James Lafond offers considerations for securing the backpack while it is being worn. In my own surveys of pedestrian latino lands they absolute highest risk situation for having a backpack stolen is when you are a short local woman disembarking from a bus.
If you are a mid 20s woman under 5 feet tall who insists on fashionable looking backpacks and your daily commute from the inner slums to outer slums involves one transfer between bus lines, you can count on losing your backpack to groups of young male adults at your transfer point at least annually. If you are an adult male sleeping on the street with your backpack under your head or in a teddy bear position, it might never be stolen. No factors I have observed affect likelyhood of bag theft as highly as being a short woman who takes the bus.6
The only strong predictor of attempted bag theft for males I have seen is visible intoxication, and this affects locals and tourists alike.7 The incidents I have heard of suggest a less than 30% success rate against drunks,8 while stoners tend to more specifically "lose their wallet" after getting comfortable with new strangers than have their whole backpack forcefully taken. The most successful thieves tend to grab and run while hanging around bus stops.
Now what makes a good daypack? Wide, padded shoulder straps and a good fit for your body. During his visit to Montevideo asciilifeform was a substantial fan of using a chest clip or strap to enforce an optimally load distribution position for the shoulder straps. In the following months I've beome a convert. On the other hand I still suspect a load bearing padded hip belt is overkill for this role. If you have time before your departure go to REI or something and try out some packs. Try them with weight until you find one that works for you.
The other major consideration is protection from the elements. Cheap rainproof backpack covers can be found just about anywhere, but here in Montevideo where partly cloudy skies can occasionally drop driving rain the 30-ish seconds it takes to deploy the cover can lead to substantial anxiety drying out your laptop because the fucking bag had a seperate leaky zipper covering a dedicated laptop compartment. A laptop sleeve built into the main compartment is the less anxiety inducing design, especially when paired with an application of scotchguard. Scotchguard should be applied after soaking the daypack and any other textile luggage with a liberal application of a repellent insecticide labeled for bedbug control. Other travelers can be filthy.
Getting and playing with a pull up bar9 has noticably improved10 my comfort when rucking around with my own rucksack. Before I got the pullup bar doing rows with a knotted blanket secured in the bathroom door similarly lead to noticable improvements in posture and comfort. Long walks with a bunch of optimally distributed weight in the pack loaded into the pack helps with conditioning for your new life while burning a noticably higher volume of calories than simply walking, which in turn makes the pull up bar friendlier, and so on.
One other nice feature is a convenient pocket for the camera and sunglasses. A solid point and shoot camera that works well in a variety of situations is a godsend. The republic enjoys pictures,11 get in the habit of taking them often before your new location becomes boring and normal.
- The target audience for this piece is anyone who finds themselves in the situation I did in 2017 or aspires to find themself in such a situation. If you already have slavegirls to enlist for porter duty it may be less relevant. [↩]
- Your torso length will largely be the determining facor in the size that fits comfortably. [↩]
- It is to my shame this did not occur to me before getting on the plane, coming from a place where you either carry a bunch or shit xor go for a long walk. Instead I went for a stupid shoulder "boarding bag" of limited long term utility as my personal item. [↩]
- Not to mention the excess capacity is valuable when playing tour guide for the girls coming through your hostel. [↩]
- Should you happen to have a drug stash in a hostel it should be trivially secured, easily stolen, and its location an open secret. It should be an early warning system for sticky fingers where the worst outcome is losing a small amount of some physical altcoin. In the event things of yours no matter the value routinely go missing, you need to move yesterday. The caliber of people you are around is too low, your reputation is dogshit, or both. [↩]
- Even then avoiding the inner and outer slums substantially reduces the risk of theft to the short woman. [↩]
- This risk is substantially reduced in males who habitually sleep on the street regardless of intoxication level. [↩]
- The cannonical attempt in my memory is the report from a group of young men affiliated with the hostel drinking in a restaurant/bar's outdoor seating area on the sidewalk. The group of agressors were unarmed and the defenders produced broken glassware in a successful defense against an attempted mugging by insufficiently supported threat of violence. Several months later one fellow from that incident was walking back from a get together with a female companion. Her backpack was successfully snatched by a committed runner who managed to escape in the end. Note this is Uruguay in 2017-2018 and not James Lafond Presents Baltimore. [↩]
- Do not pack this. Acquire a new one locally. [↩]
- Even the traction from the force applied by the weight of my legs while hanging from the bar has a nice albeit temporary effect. [↩]
- If you do not already keep a blog there are many other problems to be remedied well before pioneer duty becomes a possibility. [↩]
So the "Poder Ejecutivo" Tabaré Vázquez ordered the Army "Comandante en Jefe" Guido Manini Ríos to be arrested with intensity for 30 days because he made a comment criticizing the nominally ruling Fat Forehead coalition's changes to military pensions. Because "How dare the Army Commander" criticize the government run by the a shitshow of lefty rebels whose terrorism triggered a period of protective dictatorship in the 1970's during which many current Uruguayo politicians were arrested for the usually commie terrorist crimes like armed robbery.1 Ok, so on the surface the driving narrative appears to be commies ruthlessly enforcing restrictions on political speech because "our democracy" and fear of "muh dictatorship" lingering around.
But while the Uruguayos are not a happy people, a lot of them remember the not quite so bad times of the 90's and the 00's. Uruguay is an expensive country full of poor people. Wages are incredibly flat across professions for the Uruguayos who are employed. Gainfully employed people engage in habits like hoarding plastic grocery bags. Sure a good number of Uruguayos mine dumpsters to find items of value to flip while in Venezuela people are mining dumpsters for potential dinner. Meanwhile the value of the Peso Uruguayo is slipping, but it isn't outright cratering like the Peso Argentino. The Chinese buy increasing amounts of Uruguay's agricultural output while farmers make less. Grocery prices aren't that far out of line with North American standards. Unlike the Argentards, the Uruguayos tend to be aware they are poor and they usually resign themselves to that. Their attitude to the fact that they are getting poorer seems more complicated than the simple resignation to their poverty in general, but it is hard for me to suss out a general sentiment.
In this environment the Fat Forehead coalition keeps on pushing unpopular things as is the way of the eternal pantsuit. In this Uruguay where the fact free plastic grocery bags included with grocery purchase has spawned numerous cultural norms around bags and their uses, a ban on stores giving the bags away is about to come into effect. I have not met anyone in this country who wants this ban, and and the reaction it induces seems to be viscerally negative. Yet Frente Amplio is trumpeting this incredibly unpopular measure. Now Uruguayos are very good at bottling up and hiding their anger till they snap, so it is very possible they think they did something popular. Similarly the Frente Amplio sitting at the Intendencia of Montevideo gender neutered the Queen of Carnaval in a very unpopular move.
Meanwhile the opposition National Party2 is pushing something they call "Vivir sin Miedo" which is a plan to let the police do night raids and give the Army a law enforment role.3 I am disappointed they aren't pushing to go back to the "no rules" attitude towards guns they had until 2002, but this is a culture of low expectations outside of football and even then they over-moderate their enthusiasm.
In this environment the Comandante en Jefe Guido is trying to quietly return from his current mission in Mexico to quietly serve his 30 days while the opposition parties are stoked on rallying at Carrasco International Airport. Rallying that Guido is trying to discourage with an indeterminate amount of sincerity.4 While it is too early to predict Frente Amplio beated at the ballot box, Military Coup, Bolivarian Revolition, or "Make Uruguay Great-ish Again" happening there's enough here for local politics to get interesting. I have doubts5 that there's enough capacity for action in the population here for anything too dramatic, but there is a non-zero chance6 this country gets interesting.
- Eventually during the 1980's they did their own sort of "Truth and Reconcilliation" deal where they became an "Our Democracy" state again either pardoning or immunizing everybody depending on which side they were on. The commie rebels got involved in Politics, took over in the 00's, and now they have gone full circle and become "The Man" keeping everybody down. [↩]
- Formerly known as the White Party though the papers occasionally still refer to them as the Blancos. [↩]
- The Navy already does Coast Guard style water and shoreline law enforcement while the Airforce does airport security. [↩]
- Uruguayos aren't the easiest people to read. [↩]
- This is still some distance for meeting the Qntra bar. [↩]
- In which case this piece will surely be linked from Qntra. [↩]
In working towards a higher quality of living and working to implement the good old strictures of european, civilized living in Casa Boingo I decided to finally attack the bread problem after spending far too much time contemplating a rice cooker for my limited countertop space.
Here we have day 1's loaves rising. I adapted a "basic bread (archived)" recipe for greater simplicity of a whole egg, substituting 000 flour for "strong bread flour, and overlooking the sugar. Thusly we have
- 1 kg 000 flour
- 2 2/3 cups water
- ~1 oz. Yeast
- Splash of Salt
- 1 whole egg
The resulting loaves are fairly dense. It's exactly what I associated with other people's efforts at "home made bread" back home. Dense, and fine when its warm, but when the Peruana came over the next day she complained a little bit made her incredibly full. Racial factors in gluten tolerance aside, clearly better could be done.
And under the Peruana's watch and questioning along the lines of "Why no sugar?" day two bakes. Nearly the same recipe, but 0000 flour is what found its way home from the store with me this time. These loaves give the impression they would be great with sausage gravy. I've discovered batter for southern style biscuits.
We have day three's loaf, the golden boy, the Day 2's giant biscuit, and the first batch with extreme "home made flavor".
For day three I stopped trying to use a whole kilogram of flour at one:
- 250 grams 00 flour ((apparently this is some sort of pasta flour, but 000 wasn't in stock and after the biscuit I needed a correction from the 0000.
- Two Spoons Full of Sugar
- One Spoon Of Salt
- One Whole Egg
- One Cup of water
- 10 grams yeast
It was good. A bit short in the sandwiching direction, but closer to something that could be a staple.
Last night at the hostel there was asado. It was great, especially considering Entrecot1 runs 365 pesos a kilo, or five USD a pound in Imperial units. On my way to the feria this morning, roughly 1 kilometer from the hostel I passed evidence that something else had been on fire recently: (more...)
- Ribeye cut along a different axis [↩]
Today I was in the old city, for some awful reason. I ended up in the barrio early with the camera. Below is the Broze statue of Uruguay's national hero1 placed over his Mausoleum. Below is the Horse's Ass side of the statue. Consider the architecture behind it:
And a bit to the side:
And the background of the face of the National hero is an abolutely ugly mixed residential office building and the bland looking Presidential Palace. All of the historic and interesting buildings on the side of the plaza looking assward.
Also located on the Plaza is the an offensive temple dedicated to fiatist Politically Correct measures.
I however lacked the time and Urgency to investigate if IBM Uruguay was still a going concern.
We have faint investigations of Industrial Activity to investigate.
The lack of Reddit Bags is very disappointing.
The thing about sending intermodal containers to Uruguay is that they only mode they have is arriving on the ship. The commercial trucks here aren't big enough to handle them and the single rail line in the country runs from some shithole in the north of the city to somewhere in the interior.
In the foreground is the type of commercial use vehicle which will be transporting much of that cargo at some point.
Waterfront real estate seized by the local government.
Much better at being a statue than that other guy.
Statue guy's cannon and tiny fort.
And the port keeps on going.
Typical narrow ass old city street.
- José Artigas, died in exile in Paraguay. Eventually the Uruguayos claimed his remains. [↩]