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
And now risen.
Spoiler Alert: This waiting appears to be the least important
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.
I find it receives mortadella and mustard fine, but as a staple there is room to improve.
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 follow with samples from 3 days of baking. The initial loaf, the Peruana inspired biscuit, and the golden boy.
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.
For the curious here are prices associated with furnishing and maintaining Casa Boingo, the closest thing to a current TMSR embassy on the Rio de la Plata. Many of the items featured here can be seen in the photo tour. For the record in July 1 USD has been 31 pesos give or take half a peso depending on whether you are buying or selling.
- 30 Liter Hot Water Heater, vitirfied steel tank: 5550 pesos1
- Sofa Cama: 14394 pesos
- Refrigerator Panavox: 4395 pesos
- "Eames" Style chairs: 1950 pesos for 32
- Electric Kettle: 610 pesos
- Television: 7990 pesos
- TV Wall mount: 933 pesos
- Antenna: 448 pesos
- Broom: 177 pesos
- Shower Curtain: 345 pesos
- Shower Curtain Liner: 135 pesos
- Shower Curtain Rod: 296 pesos
- Pan: 630 pesos
- Pot: 685 pesos
- Harry: 600 pesos
- 10 liter bucket: 95 pesos
- Electricity: 2117 pesos for 208 kw/h, seperate 1347 peso one time connection fee
- Internet: 1347 pesos monthly with 1054 peso one time connection fee
- Building Common Expenses: 1757 pesos3
- Condoms: 286 pesos for a 12 pack
- Toilet paper: 74 pesos for 4 50 meter rolls, 86 pesos for 4 50 meter rolls with a smaller roll stuck in the middle
- Melamine Sponge: 65 pesos
- Morcillon: 220 pesos/kg4
- Mortadella: 290 pesos/kg
- Tuna, frozen (Origen Vietnam): 378 pesos/kg
- Sandwich Bread: 131 pesos/loaf
- Peanut Butter: 148 pesos/jar, 225 grams
- Dulce de Leche: 85 pesos/tub, 500 grams
- Dish Detergent: 58 pesos/bottle, 300 ml
- A deeper grocery exploration may happen in the near future
Items yet to be acquired:
- Second sleepable surface for non-intimate guests
- Actual kitchen knife, This limits of using a box cutter in the kitchen are making themselves apparent
- Whiteboard, The search continues
- Rice Cooker – Simplifies prepping cheap calories
- Bread knife – In the event baking is solved
- More oxygen generators
It's been more than a month since I picked up the keys and nearly a month since I started sleeping here exclusively. Lets see how far this place has come since it was last photographed.
The sofa cama as it was delivered one month ago. I was very surprised the delivery folk did not stick around to unwrap it and keep the protective sheet pictured here.
The kitchen with all of its glossy hard surfaces is clean. The stove top has seen frequent use with the pot and the pan, but the oven has yet to see much use. I have been trying to maintain a hostel style beakfast spead near the Jarra Electrica, but at the moment it is lacking fruit and a tub of dulce de leche.
Where the fiber comes in. It was all rolled up inside the wall for the installer who replaced the boring wall plate that covered it with the current one that cautions against live lasers. The device catching the laser is intentionally not pictured.
From Harry going clockwise: The balcony with 1 of 3 red chairs of an ubiquitous local style the Chicoms shipping here describe as "Eames", The Aire Acondicionado, The sofa cama1 with blankets, we skip some empty floor and built in dining table/desk, we return to the bags I continue to live out of, and finally we see mounted to the wall the girl distraction and intercultural dialogue device.
More of the bags, boots, wall screen, Harry, and the broom.
Building a civilized kitchen and building up the office are the biggest areas for ongoing improvement. It was only yesterday that doubled sided wall mounting tape capable of supporting a whiteboard returned to store shelves which means it is time to find a giant whiteboard. A second sleepable surface is also on the list when a non-intimate overnight guest books.
This is Harry. He lives in a bucket inside of a bucket. Deep Dive into Casa Boingo coming soon.
Uruguay is home to a number of delicious foods. There's the beef, the cheese, the icecream, and the dulce de leche. There are other very Uruguayo foods that get less attention, usually due the the lack of local creativity in using them. In spite of normally being relegated to an afterthought as part of the picada preceeding the main course of the asado, the local morcilla has a lot to offer.
Typically the local morcilla, salado and dulce alike, are cooked in their thick skins and sliced into rounds for serving. This leaves a problem, the casing on these guys isn't very edible. It further leaves all of the various flavors trapped in the pudding.
In addition to the bloody base the morcilla sulce has delicious pine nuts, orange, and raisins. All of these flavors are readily amplified by opening up the casing, or stripping the casing off completely. That's it. One simple trick; except this one works.
Now, completely removing the casing makes the popular Uruguayo preparation of grilling the morcilla on the parilla unfeasible, but it opens up all kinds of other possibilities. Fry it up with rice, with potatoes, with eggs…
In an effort to build stronger ties with the locals, I watched their games with them. Cheered with them, mourned with them, and breifly discussed seizing a warship with them over greivances against the largely Argentine referee crew. Below are several observations about the game and its shortcomings:
- The game's defining aspect is the difficulty of controlling the ball. The ball is heavy, clumsy, and even the best players strain to exercise any modicum of control over the ball's movements.
- Defense and its positional aspects are largely a solved problem. This means scoring usually happens through clever looking accidents, courtesy of the ball's erratic behavior or defensive mistakes.
- These aspects make gameplay slow, tedious, and exhausting… for the spectators. The ability to confuse skill in creating situations where the accidents where scoring happens for skill in scoring is correlated with greater ability to spectate the game.
- Many problematic aspects of Uruguayo culture translate into advantage behaviors in the game. High tolerance for waiting, feigning disability, selling non-existent injuries, and bickering over trivia carried the Uruguayo team through group play undefeated against less skilled, but more athletic teams.
- The game of Fraud ball is exhausting for the players as well. Full out competition is only guarenteed the first 5 to 10 minutes of the games before the players are exhausted. In spite of this substitutions to bring in fresh, rested players are rare.
- The lack of substitutions is puzzling especially considering that for the majority of players on the field their most important contribution is arranging themselves to occupy space. Meanwhile in hockey where the difference in player skills can have a greater impact on the game and scoring, substitutions are frequent.
- Strategy consists of trying to safely burn time while hoping your side recieves more fortunate accidents than the other.
In the end nationalist appeals for action against Argentina failed to amount to anything, but the Uruguayos were very receptive to the notion the French team didn't look very French. Make Uruguay Great Again!
Having moved out of the hostel and into the new Pizarro habitation module, life goes on. After the intercontinental move to Uruguay which required 21 hours in airplanes and airports, moving down the street is proving to be quite an adjustment given the comparatively trivial distance involved by comparison. Going from a room where I wouldn't always wake up with the same company I went to sleep with to a locking door where no one else gets in without an invitation.
There are small things I miss. The giant pot of coffee at all hours, daily cleaning. There are bigger things as well, the rotating cast of characters out of which the occasional visitor was interesting. The rapport with the staff survives and I will be returning there in the morning for the game.
There are things I won't miss. Brasileros requesting the heat be cranked up to summer daytime temperatures at night in the winter… Recently that could do a number on the sleep. A small number of the vistors were nuissances. Some were profound nuissances.
The shift has bit of a disorienting change.
After recieving the key to the apartment Monday and electricity on Tuesday1 I have begun the process of moving into the apartment. Given the short distance and light weight of the things to be moved, none of my things are enaging in the whole fletes business. Instead I've been spending my time waiting for the big things to arrive. Small things I've just been walking over at my leisure.
The sleeping surface arrived near the halftime mark of its six hour delivery window. I went to Divino on Tuesday where I found a "sofa cama" whose feel approximates the sweet yet firm hostel mattress. I picked the nearest delivery window which was two days out, paid and it arrived as promised.
Meanwhile all of the locals and even some of the immigrants keep recommending "Mercado Libre", a sort of Argentine Amazon, as the place to shop for everything. How a purchase on Mercado Libre works is:
- You search for whatever you are looking for
- You keep searching for that thing except from a seller willing to identify themselves as other than "Mercado Libre Platinum Seller"
- You have to ask the seller if they actually have the item advertised as "in stock" in their stock before you begin the process of buying. Naturally at this stage all of the questions about whether the item is in stock go into the public section of the listing for questions about the item. This of course buries any questions and answers about the actual item.
- Should you make it this far you will discover despite numerous payment options advertised the only one that can actually be made to work is… printing out an invoice and taking it to the Abitab to stand in line and pay it…
- You put on your pants, go for a walk, and reflect on the failure to replicate Northern online commerce while you visit actual stores and talk to people.
- You use the prices mystery vendors posted for items on Mercado Libre for leverage with sales people to mixed results.
Spending time in the apartment has yeilded far more pleasant surprises than unpleasant ones. The floor I though was wood looking appears to be wood. The shelf next to the bidet and within arms reach of the toilet is a good place to stash more toilet paper. Peeling off the outlet covers revealed the walls are concrete, and with a north facing balcony the winter sun provides substantial daytime heat while the whole place is surprisingly well insulated by North and South American standards. With a second sleepable surface this habitation module should provide servicable accomodation for the next visitor to the Space Station.
I still need to find and install a 20-30 liter water heater in the designated cabinet while anchoring it to the wall,2 but I still have the hostel bathrooms until July 1st. The Cowork where I rent a desk still has the bathroom with the first hot shower I used in Uruguay.
Life goes on, the Uruguayos and their rituals still piss me off, but it bothers me less than it did in the February through May stretch.
And the fruit of the first telephone trámite has arrived:
In spite of long hold times and the frustration of having to explain Gringo culture over the phone, UTE managed to get the power turned on within their stated window. Granted the install window was the entirety of business hours today.
Meanwhile the short, easy in person trámite at a retail location to get a net connection so far has only resulted in day one of the quoted three day window to recieve a phone call about scheduling the actual installation to pass without movement.
The short in person trámite to acquire a surface to sleep on, this trámite for comparison was not with one of the official monopolies, resulted in a 5 hour long delivery window for Thursday.
Smaller items are gradually finding their way here as well. An electric kettle, the peculiar sort of football scarf used for cheering during the game and choking out opposing fans after a loss, miscellaneous tools, and a small mountain of microfiber rags used to pad more the important items during my immigrant voyage have made it as well.
Friday after substantial effort the tramite to secure a guarantee on the apartment finally reached the point where papers will be signed today… provided the property owner shows up. Right now Uruguay is winning the game at halftime 2-0 against Russia. I give it 66-34 odds he shows up.