Things We Won’t Miss About Montevideo

– The construction across the street. The jack-hammering at 7 in the morning is getting very old. There is a ton of construction everywhere. A person couldn’t walk two or three blocks without encountering some kind of construction (although this varies by neighborhood).

– Uneven sidewalks. They are out to kill people, or at least embarrass them.

– The air quality. One of the main ways to heat homes here is via fireplace, hence lots of soot in the air. Also, no regulations on vehicle emissions doesn’t help.

– Trash on the beach. Although, city workers usually do a thorough cleaning of all the beaches once a month or so.

– Dog poo on the sidewalks. People in some neighborhoods seem to pick up after their pets while others do not. Regardless, there ends up being poo everywhere.

– The high electricity bills.

– High prices for imported goods. Its a little ridiculous having to pay $40 US for a pair of insoles for my shoes, although much cheaper than buying a new pair altogether.

– Olives. They put olives in everything here.

– No right of way as a pedestrian. It makes crossing the street seem very adventurous at times.

– Waiting forever in the check-out line at the supermarket. There are some down sides to such a laid back attitude.

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Surprise Electricity Bill

Electricity is an expensive component of Uruguayan living expenses. The main reason being that a large percentage of electricity in Uruguay is imported from Argentina and Brazil. As with everything else that is imported, it’s expensive. Most of the electricity generated within the country comes from hydroelectric sources, and the electrical industry in Uruguay is controlled solely by the national company, UTE. As always wikipedia has an interesting article about the production and use of electricity in Uruguay if you’re interested.

When we got our electricity bill this month we were a little surprised. We have been paying on average about $50 US a month for our electricity. The electricity bill the month before last popped up to about $100 US. We figured it was because it started to get cold and we started to use the heater a bit more. Well, the bill this month came to a whopping $243 US. I guess that’s the price for having the heater on all the time.

Out of curiosity, we calculated what the same usage would cost us in our previous residence in Atlanta, GA. The answer: about $100 US. This matches closely to the amount we paid for electricity in the winter months in Atlanta in a 3 bedroom house. This means two things: 1) that the heating system here is super inefficient and 2) electricity costs more than twice as much in Uruguay than Atlanta.

I’d like to say that we could just turn the heater off to save money, but I work from the house. If it’s too cold I can’t get much done because I’m completely uncomfortable. I guess if I was working in an office space the money we are spending on electricity would just go toward transportation and office space instead, and we wouldn’t really be saving money.