A Locking Door Gets Nearer

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.

Updates On The Renting Adventure

The a deposit was made with the Guarantee agency last week and the process of turning the deposit into a certificate of Guarantee is en tramité. Today is a holiday, but I have been unable to determine its name. Tomorrow the national team plays a game starting at noon local time, which is worse than a holiday. This means either Thursday is the optimistic estimate for new news, but la semana que viene is a possibility.

So far long the way:

  • 10,000 pesos (315 USD) were placed to take the apartment off the market, credits towards first's month rent
  • ~45,000 pesos (1420 USD) were placed with the Garantee club
  • Before approaching the Guarantee club a bunch of certificates were generated for my application. Certificates which also make Migracciones happy as the residency process proceeds.
  • Changing various registrations made in my passport after landing to the Cedula has consumed a substantial amount of time as well.
  • The number of people using the hostel as a long term residence has increased from my singular self to five people. Three of the newcomers are fine. One is an absolute piece of trash that doesn't understand boundries, and if his or my presence continue to overlap in the hostel… It is very likely whether he understands threats will be tested.
  • Construction has thrown the Cowork into disarray. The sound of "todo bein" and gossip is still less tolerable than power tools. The local work ethic is such that there is very infrequently any actual construction noise. Instead there's a bunch of bitching about construction noise that isn't actually happening.
  • All of the paper shuffling and persistent vermin really has me wishing for a place to hang a whiteboard. A place where I can get hours, plural without the local noise polution.

 

Language Acquisition And The Perception Thereof

Having lived more than 6 continuous months in a Spanish speaking country, my Spanish has improved immensly, but in my everyday life it is hard to feel that it has happened. In March I went to Migracciones for a tramité my progress was substantially aided by making eyes at the girl behind the desk flying the bureaucracy. I was functional, but only to a point. This month in the process of securing a door I can lock and wall to hang a whiteboard, I have been corralling the various moving Latino parts of the process exclusively in Spanish. I have still been running the papers I have signed in the process past the Venezolana during lessons after I sign them for my own safety, but the temptation to bring a tag along to meetings hasn't been present.

When viewed the apartment which is now en tramité, the kind girl offered to speak in English. I employed the trick I am every more practiced in where in three to four speaking lines I shift from English to Spanglish to Spanish, and their own mental inertia deprives them of the opportunity to practice English. This is the polite way I defuse the local anglophone fetishists from profiling me as a free chance to practice English.

The less polite way is I indicate their accent in English is unintelligible. It rarely is, and there is more resistance to this avenue. It tends to be more satisfying by far.

I am still dating the Peruana nurse I met in March. Her only language is Spanish. She absolutely adores1 me. The old "get a girlfriend" advice when it comes to language learning works and is well supplemented by making friends with girls. In the early days and weeks here, my brain couldn't be arsed to try to decode what the boys were saying. Now that the decoding takes far less effort, the brain will bother to decode what the boys say only to be consistently underwhelmed with the poverty of content in their many words.

There's also a lot to be said for sending substantial periods of time alone with someone who only speaks the target language.

Despite being mostly functional in Spanish only environments I continue taking structured lessons three times a week. I still can not express every idea my brain bakes in English into the Spanish language, but I manage to produce effective Spanish language speech with the occasional misconjugation or misgendering.2 The need for clarification that follows in these cases creates opportunities for thoughtful composition practice, the only kind that matters.

The difference between thoughtful composition and parrot speaking of lines and scripts can't be emphasized enough. When you are Parrot speaking lines, every incident of novelty is a hard case your scripts can't cover. It can and did cover a substantial number of my everyday activities of living the first few weeks, but the utility is limited. To this end I have decided my goal in Spanish is literacy.

I have not not found any satisfactory definitions of fluency. The language learning fandom has busted the definition of "fluency" all to hell. My goal is literacy or bust and increasing my ability to function in the language still morealong the way. I'll have learned Spanish when I am reliably producing poetry in the language.


  1. This adoration is markedly distinct from the varieties of positive attention girls back home could muster. Back home a girl could like, love, or even obsess as their English as a single language programming would let them.  

  2. On the plus side I rarely now have verbal conversations in straight English without Spanglish intruding. That doesn't happen when I am speaking Spanish.  

The Most Patriotic I Have Ever Seen The Uruguayos

Today Uruguay won their first game of this World Cup, a 0-1 victory over Egypt which until nearly the end of the game looked like it could have ended a 0-0 draw as is typical of their beloved sport. With Egypt out of the way Uruguay should put up a double digit score again Saudi Arabia, win against Russia by at least one goal, and enter elimination play well positioned to make a deep run with the semi finals being a more likely outcome than a first round elimination. And…

Las Hinchas Piden Cuarto!

Incapable of ambition the population of this country has settled on THE QUARTER FINALS as their goal! Not win it all… not like they haven't done that twice already in 1930 and 1950. Out of the field of 32 making it to the last 8 is enough for your standardized Hincha Uruguaya. The 25th percentile is should be good enough for anyone, shouldn't it?

If Not One Thing The Other

Having survived a close encounter with pneumonia last month, this country made yet another attempt on my life as I slept last night. This time via the orc communication device.

No battery bloat, just a MicroUSB port that appear to have been in tramite to ignite that battery. The phone still works as of the time of this writing. Can't be recharged without at the very least replacing the MicroUSB port with one that doesn't have contacts covered by char and plastic.

Orc contacts recovered and a replacement communication device was put into service earlier today.

Humidity related short?

Over the air update to add murder mode?

How I Have Been Evaluating Securability Of Various Properties

My self, my things, for the past 6 months minus one day have been largely secured through either attachment to my person or through being in spaces where the attendant locals perform certain social functions. Occasionally certain high value items get locked up. This has involved near constant contact with latino/as and separation from the abjectly idle.1 As far as crime here goes violence against persons outside of intimate relationships and the narcotics trade is rare. Simple bag snatchings, rapiñas as the locals call them are a frequent occurrence afflicting the Latinas. Burglary of unoccupied residences and commercial properties is also common, and this is the major risk factor I see requiring mitigation.

Uruguay is a poor country with a population that skews elderly. By headcount this means a substantial portion of the population is idle and hungry opportunists of the least effort variety. Many households contain three generations living together in close quarters, and this means:

  1. They are poor targets for the least effort opportunists as someone, even if it is just a zombie, is always home
  2. Younger generations get earfulls of information on all the the neighbors relayed by undead zombies that just won't do the right thing and quit trying to live.

The classic mitigation to this threat appears to be getting a dog or crewing the safehouse so someone is there around the clock. Residential construction commonly features barred windows, and substantial feeling gates, but they are fans here of a large type of brass key on exterior gates that looks fairly circumventable.

The other mitigation is distance and psychological barriers. Early in the search the barrio Villa Dolores seemed like a solid option based on its map location. I'd walked its southern edge countless times on my way to the city center. Walking deeper into the barrio revealed signs substantial and fairly permanent bum encampments inside the once municipal zoo now occupied by lower animals. The construction style there favors front doors opening directly to the street,2 and there goes the neighborhood.

The other big hazard is environmental. It rains here, and roofs tend to be nominally flat. The use of any possible roof space as terrazas and laundry means foot traffic. Foot traffic means puddles. Puddles eventually become leaks. And the locals complain about these leaks the way folks back home complain about ice storms.3 The remedy here also seems to always involve pulling up the roof carpet, and putting down another coat of roof sealant paint while they repaint the interior ceiling to cover the mildew.4

Back home when a roof leaks, there is an issue for the property owner to resolve. Here, where it isn't uncommon for every unit to have a seperate owner… There are several systems for handling this. In one system common in towers and newer construction "common costs" are collected seperately from rent and used for business maintenance and upkeep.

In the other system the structural defect is either an honored part of the building's historic character or the tenant faces "Fuck you, it started leaking with you!" This renders a number of property types a source of liability. If not in the strict financial sense, in the sense that decades of prior neglect turns the lease into a collision course for confrontation with idiots in a system build to coddle their idiocy and adjudicated by similar idiots.

These considerations and the favorable rental market conditions resulting from the overbuilding of residential towers near the datacenter are leading me to the current course. Comments, critiques, and insight welcome.


  1. I mean bums and the undead.  

  2. Along with flimsy ports allowing access to and from the roof.  

  3. By this I mean the complaint is seasonal, and the subject of the complaint is treated as inevitable.  

  4. At no point do they inspect the roof deck or structural members.  

The Real Estate Situation In Montevideo: Part Two

Continuing in our exploration, we start talking to people. There are apartment advertised with and without agencies. As a rule insistent stupidity reigns. In Uruguay there are several kinds of warranty sought to ensure the rent gets paid. Unlike the situation Mircea Popescu reported in Argentina, asking for the deed to a similar property as a "warranty" isn't common here. Instead Uruguay offers other idiocies:

  • Anda, Porto Seguro, and Other "clubs: These schemes operate like AAA. In the case of Triple AAA you join a club, but the only real purpose of the club is to secure a form of insurance for the event where your car breaks down on the side of the road. In these schemes people become "socios" of the clubs and recieve a rental warranty certificate, they insert themselves between the landlord and tenant to facilitate and vouch for rent having been paid, and they have an arbitration system that keeps the local cowsies from clogging up the courts.
  • The Banco Hipotecario: The renter and the landlord go to the national mortgage bank. A deposit for X months of rent is made. If for whatever reason the renter doesn't pay in any particular month, both parties have to go to the National Mortage Bank to plea poverty and withdraw that month's rent to pay the landlord.
  • There is also a Public government operated alternative to Anda et al that is only open to certified losers employed by the government or simply paid by the government for their poverty without any pretense at employment.
  • A number of other marginal schemes are present in the market and are only ever seen offered as an alternative to one or two of the above. These range from private bank deposits to the Argentine lien against a similar property arrangement.

The insurance club that sits as payment processor and contract arbiter initially stuck me as a very retarded scheme until I realized that such an arrangement is exactly what the peculiar form of Rioplatense dishonesty demands. The dishonesty where your stack of bills won't disappear in a professional office, but your performance bonds will. This is a rather damning indictment of the local escribanos, contadurias, and other professionals with their 160 pesos timbre stickers, but these people have to walk with the helmets they have.

Everyone is this country is incredibly loyal to their particular chosen scheme. Families renting out an apartment for their own survival tend to be incredibly loyal to their chosen rental insurance tribe. Agencies tend to offer at least three warranty options. The rapid pace of construction and supply glut in the area means that a lot of apartments are agency owned. With the tourists gone, school already in session, and most of the other immigrants crammed into pensions in Ciudad Viaja, Cordón, and Tres Cruces there is palpable hunger to start collecting rent on apartments in this neighborhood that just isn't quite as trendy as these developers were betting on.

Next up: The dog and (Trash) pony show