Building A Life In Montevideo

This weekend an old repair on one of my teeth gave up the ghost, and the resolution to the situation was anticlimatic. While the price of many things here mimics that back home: food, rents, local opportunists playing at business, etc… it turns out actual professional services don't sting the same way. For less than a whole benjie composite resins were artfully applied and cured, a procedure my brother confirmed would have run around two benjies back in old country. I regret the professional was not inclined to take photos while juggling the resin and the very blue curing light.

This happened after the morning where the Republic's star lighter was moved to throw away a perfectly good rant because the new management managed to put together a castle for their discussions. Last week's dread has been replaced by tempered optimism. Somehow, in spite of myself, shit seems to be working out now that I have stepped back and let others step forward. Pete's ill timed post mortem, already late the morning he published it, was still further off the mark mere hours later. Shit could still go South1, but in much the same way building an ISP has a recipe, doing business in a Republican manner has examples to follow as well as guidance.

I went South looking for opportunity. I learned that on my own, I am insufficient to captialize on the opportunity. Through honesty and good faith, I survived. Other investors found the mess I made interesting enough to bring management to it and… HOLY SHIT I'M A GRINGO WILDCATTER! Just like that. Mircea stepped back, and enough Republicans came together in time to make something that can work. Still, I have to work a spiritual program one day at a time and keep my ego in check, because the only reason this is happening is I got out of the way.

Colonize or be colonized was an open question when I got here. With my fall and the emerging landing, I can't see value in any course other than embracing the Gringo identity. Not estadounidense, but Gringo. Foreign, from the North,2 and with alien species of machismo.

There is some machismo here, the locals insist. And yet when I explain what a rollor coaster my business activites in Uruguay have been to the girls at the CoWork, they seem to interpret the theme of my narrative as "Balls, big ones". Not the kind of machismo that leaves old men with permanent stankface or the kind that leaves the local boys dressing like Urban estadounidense thugs while politely allowing the gingo passage.

The local tendancy to be in the way, literally and metaphorically, has to be my reminder to remember my place. Seriously the locals walk through doorways and just fucking stop to look around dazed while occupying the most incovenient location possible. In spite of the nation's economy depending entirely on the good will of Brasileros who enjoy beaches, cannabis, and the safety that comes from being in Uruguay rather than Brasil. Yet with the encouragement of the local pantsuit press (archived), the big attraction that grew tourism and foreign income to the country gets squeezed by the injection of socialism and police seizures of pantsuit unblessed product in a market small enough that a seized car trunk can make a difference.

They buy into and they cargo cult the pantsuit Hegelian cycle. Contrary to Pete's assertion however these are far from the dumbest orcs imaginable. This isn't either of the other, more problematic southern continents. Pantsuit hands them just enough of a recipe through Hollywood and then the locals execute it misguidely for the purpose of becoming more Hollywood themselves.

For quite some time I have been heralding the Republic's arrival online in Qntra. Now that Republicans are moving in the world to secure online, I look forward to getting to continue playing the herald of the Republic's arrival.


  1. Or in my case North…  

  2. The Brasileros tend to have a looser definition of Gringo that encompasses even the Uruguayos, which we will discard for being worthless. The Northerness aspect hit a fellow from New Zealand particularly hard when in spite of his pale skin, light hair and eyes, and height… The Chileñas denied him the Gringo title.  

Candome: A Venture Into AfroUruguayan Culture

First contender on the night is "Organizaciones Mondo Afro" a school of Candombe.

At every intersection are a bunch of these fellows.

There are flag people

The flag people are followed by dance people

And more dance people

And old people

Then finally drum people

Ballroom dance people

And finally Activist people.

This is one unit of Candombe. It is a complete parade in itself and took ~45 minutes to pass by, indiviadual Candombe troops/schools do this every week in their own neighborhoods. But this is the Carnaval Desfile de Llamadas. Overall a better experience than the Desfile Inaugural de Carnaval, and thus I left before the other 19 Candombe schools could have the opportunity to change my mind.

A Morning Of Growth And Magic Words

Following the latest incident in which dealing with a matter in which local businesses practices had lead to yet another deluge of adrenaline and dread, I found myself in a position where I had to pass on exactly the urgency I been squeezed into and… unlike the last time where the accountant completely failed… A functional response emerged. Mutual urgency and absolute business necessity managed to break the dance of "usual suppliers" and "this arbitrarily limited set of rituals is what we have done before and we are deathly afraid to deviate from it". A request I had been making for a while in the form of:

Let's get some commodity hardware, I don't particularly care how. Let us make lots of money together.

Which was obstructed by the cargo cult dance of trying to imitate how business is done. Outside of this point the provider had otherwise behaved sanely proving the space, power, and connectivity requested. For some reason "provide exactly the hardware requested" had hit a stumbling block. For some religious reason they had to have a supplier to solicit quotes from to forward those quotes. Yet:

Let's get some commodity hardware, I don't particularly care how but if it can't be had business is impossible. Let us make lots of money together.

Was apparently the proper way structure a request that opens up the vast catalog of shit that can be ordered off the vast catalogs of the internet. That:

but if it can't be had business is impossible.

Was necessary will likely keep me somewhat pissed off until I fall asleep and wake up into a new day. What I have to keep with me after the acute disruption fades is that this construction appears to be working. As of this minute I am waiting for the quote, it should be arriving soon. Unless there's some other magic words I need to learn to take more cult out of the cargo cult.

Two Months In Montevideo

Following up on the arrivial, the soon after, and the three weeks this rube from the Middle West is now at the 2 month mark today.

The most striking difference from arrival to now is how incredibly unimpressed I am becoming with the vast majority of the locals as my Spanish improves. Back home the vast majority of people are stupid and that holds here, but the way the stupid manifests itself is alien. The majority of the locals here seem to have a palpable aversion to doing anything that might matter, and they will go to great lengths to conceal their nothing doing.

The failures of the accountancy Carlos Picos to have done much at all is an illustrative and painful lesson in this. The process of trying to become banked began in the first half of December. The lack of movement was elevated to crisis in Mid-January, to which the firm responded with DAYS of silence. I had to explain to the poor girl at the front desk that my customer's desire to do business in the next week and that if I disappoint this customer by not being able to bank and handle wire transfers, there would be a good chance of there not being any business at all. Two hours later one of the fellows who had been contacted days earlier passed on the forms.

The most offensive part of the affair? On January 30th a fellow from the bank they had applied at finally contacts me. He apologizes and explains he had been on an extended vacation and is seeing my application for the first time. Because out of their subbovine stupidity the people making decisions at the accountancy insisted everything wait until "their guy" at the bank got back from vacation. That I had paid money for a task, and they failed to disclose they would sit on the task because they were too fucking shy to try talking to someone else at the bank… And I am still waiting for the set of notes they said they would provide from the first meeting with them…

Later Mircea Popescu kindly offered a sum of Bitcoin to test the trade market waters here. The city produced $500 in liquity from one trader and offers for similar numbers of pesos.1 A Buquebus trip across the river did not seem prudent when I had iron to hammer into shape before the internet got turned on, and the general effort to conceal the poverty here has left BBisp fiat reserves in a staring contest with the joke prices of today.

On the plus side the fellows at the data center continue to appear capable of running network operations even if their attempts to offer themselves as purchasing agents fall flat. The immigrant population contains some number of people capable of producing reliably human behavior in response to stimuli along with some actually smart conversation. At the cowork there are even locals with solid work ethics doing outsourced work for foreign firms, and still others are managing the space itself competently.

I have conversations now, often in Spanish. Quality conversations though are harder to find. I have a couple reliable conversation partners through the CoWork, but otherwise I am at the mercy of who happens to be passing through the hostel. The number of people who passed through the hostel that I find myself missing on the basis that they were not too boring is starting to pile up. It is a weird thing, what gets missed moving away from home. I do not miss the food much and I am still in contact with the people I care to be back home, but I miss the sound of people cursing and swearing.2 As mission Make Bingo Rich 2018 continues, support on this front in the form of Qntra submissions is greatly appreciated. Or visits bearing commercial samples of interesting hardware and realtalk.

There is a distinct stratification here. There's the abjectly poor. Then there's people who do not have cars. Roughly on the level of people who don't have cars are those who do but slave 12+ hours per day because of their cars. Then there are people who own cars, a very small portion of the population. More detail can be had, but really that gets into granulated neighborhood wank. What keeps me going is the idea knowledge that the sort of numbers that can be had smartly cutting up into marketable units and selling 1 or 2 datacenter racks is enough here to glide over that all. However along the way there every time I have to report a failing or delay, due to my inadequacy to anticipate the lengths the locals will go to in order to avoid doing or because of their failure to follow clear instructions, I have to admit to having more than a little bit of fear.

At least it is looking like Shinohai's suggested 3 to 6 month timeline to fluency in the local language is bearing out. The food is still great. It just turns out that here like everywhere else the rarest thing to find is a first rate man.


  1. 600 to 1200 pesos or ~20 to 40 Universal Standard Dosiedos  

  2. Saturday I was feeling a bit homesick and not wanting to do something stupid like get drunk, I went to the cinema for the purpose of hearing English spoken without the effeminate accent Portugues leaves Brazileros with. At the cinema I discover Tres Anuncios Por Un Crimen is how the studio translated the title to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri. I was sold at Missouri. I cannot offer an objective opinion if it was a good movie or not. I got too much joy out of hearing Cunt and Fuck said with the polite insistence typical of rural old country.  

The First BBISP Mini Conference And Montevideo Tourism Guide

This month is the inaugural TBI/BBisp miniconference. Lords and ladies of the Republic Most Serene are invited to visit lovely and temperate Montevideo, Uruguay in a celebration of the first Republican ISP achieving internet connectivity.

Accomodations

Available accomodations in the city include:

  • Hostels in Pocitos, Punta Carretas, and Ciudad Vieja
  • Love hotels honestly advertised as such in Tres Cruces
  • Love hotels of advanced age advertised as Historic in Ciadad Vieja
  • A variety of other hotels scattered about Pocitos and Punta Carretas.

Living in a hostel I hear a number of travellers telling stories of great deals they have had from Airbnb, while these other travellers were for some reason guest in the hostel I call home rather than some Airbnb clickpot. Travellers I have met who were staying in Airbnb rented accomodates frequently produce stories along the lines of:

The power went out when I used the electric kettle. After a fucking bit of cursing, the place has a single 10 amp breaker.

When picking a place in the city to stay Bingo colocates his person and hardware in Pocitos while gladly shitting in other parts of the city. As a rule of thumb the stretch of the city from Ciudad Vieja in the west to Punta Carretas tends towards a rocky basalt shoreline. From Punta Carretas east though Pocitos, Buceo, and beyond you get beaches.

Sightseeing

Aside from the prolific statues and plazas, sights and events include the Carnival going on now, the Sunday ferias, and the great Punta Carretas Shopping which was a prison until it became a Shopping. And then there's the Rambla, which I am surprised the locals do not call the Walking.

Outside of Montevideo places which come highly recommended by travellers passing though my home include: Rocha in general with Punta del Diablo and Cabo Polonia in particular getting favorable reports. On the other side of the country Colonia also gets a lot of enthusiasm

Punta del Este in Maldonado gets mixed reviews and some beaches there have been problematic for people vulnerable to jellyfish stings.

Places that get less favorable reviews include Paraguay, which is not Urugauy and has no coast line. Paraguay however is a popular vacation destination for locals here when they want a cheaper and more lawless place to go wild.1

Transportation

Carrasco International AIrport is in the far east of Montevideo. Copa was a good airline. I hear frequent complaints about the jet that handles the American Airlines Miami-Montevideo direct route.

Busses run on time here.

Cars yeild to pedestrians.

The locals occasionally bitch about road traffic they hallucinated experiencing.

Vice

There are casinos around. Cannabis is everywhere, they even sell the brownies during the Sunday street markets in a prominent high visibility place from a table and everything. Just like the other vendors. Un baked brain baking herb however requires asking to find, occasionally. Some people ask. Others follow their nose. Still more people just go to the beach and weed falls into their lap.

Other Questions

Ask away.


  1. Disclaimer: I have doubts as to their actual success  

Pricing Information: Fun With Numbers

Building from the datacenter costs, the BBisp is paying $900 monthly for a full 42U rack1 and 1423 US Dosidoes for 20/200 Mbps internet service, for a total of 2323 USD before the 22% VAT which tacks on 511.06 USD for a grand total of 2834.06 USD monthly going to the datacenter.

The Simple Pricing Scheme

For this we take the 2323 USD figure pretax and get our weekly rate for 1U service with internet connectivity.

[12*(2323*2)]/(52*40) = 55752/2080  = 26.8 USD per Rack Unit Week

Everyone gets bolted in, everyone shares the internet pipe.

Itemizing Costs

Let us start with the rack because it is easy:

[12*(900*2)]/(52*40) = 21600/2080 = 10.38 USD per Rack Unit Week

Server gets bolted in and you propose math for making whatever sort of custom connectivity option you desire work out in the forum or in the comments to this post. It gets discussed, checked for sanity, and the results of the deliberation go into the comments of this post with links to the log discussion. Thusly precedents are set, recorded, and may be consulted in the future for the next customer's convenience.

Bonus Time

Your humble Qntra editor posing at his CoWork's museum2 with the historic bag which brought the ISP switch and Qntra server3 out of the Empire's heart.


  1. Of which 40 will be salable because the switch and the router have to live somewhere.  

  2. They call it a "library"  

  3. Space on which is to become available for rent soon  

The Initial Cash Trade

As movement accelerates towards turning something on this week, trading I thought would happen this weekend was displaced by the imperative to have a Qntra box ready to plug in as soon as the rack is ready. Thusly the tale of the first trade will be recounted as I prepare to do more trading this week. From the logs:

BingoBoingo: Did not get mugged, he sent his girlfriend instead of appearing himself (or secretly is the girl)
asciilifeform: BingoBoingo: describe, for my education, what a trade like this looks like
asciilifeform: i.e. you showed up with a privkey, and other party — with benjies ? or wat
BingoBoingo: asciilifeform: Used a web escrow thing to keep the kitten comfortable, they deliver benjies, I hit the release escrow button.
BingoBoingo: There was small talk
asciilifeform: so 'ebay'-style.
BingoBoingo: Well, strangers
asciilifeform: makes sense.
BingoBoingo: Was obvious to spot who the counterparty was when they entered the public meeting space. Meanwhile I had been comfortable seated for a bit with coffees on the table.
asciilifeform: obvious how
BingoBoingo: Body language
BingoBoingo: Nervous, carried self in manner that screamed latina holding more cash than accustomed to.
Other adventures in Montevideo have taught me the importance of venue selection, if I don't know the venue well enough to be reasonable sure I am not getting mugged or otherwise surprised, the problem of gansta roll gangsta responsibilities comes to the surface. Balanced against this is the challenge of making the other counter party comfortable, a hazard when their discomfort is incredibly transparent. Thankfully the locals show an affinity for gringo fast food chains which means they present a well populated public space capable of making everyone comfortable.
Anyways 500 USD were exchanged for 0.04776872 BTC on the 23rd of January with more trades to come now that there has been time for the rumor mill to spin… or not. The investigations must continue.

McDonalds: The Gringo Gets His Groove Back

Following last weekend's travails the Gringo was flooded with doubts and his confidence was shaken. He needed a reminder of the misery he was leaving behind in old country. It was time to go to McDonalds… In Uruguay.

The first shock upon actually entering the McDonalds was the level of organization. Over here is the McDonalds Coffee Shop, over there is the quick service ice cream stand, and here is the main counter for everything else. In front of the counter is a herd of local all appearing to be qued to order from the counter. It is possible to imagine the chaos that would ensue if they failed to seperate out these functions. Carefully watching the crowd is an attentive young lady whose job is to explain to extranjeros the locals are retarded and escort customers through the locals immediately to an open register.

After ordering I stepped off to the side and waited. It was not very long until the shift matriarch noticed a gringo standing in front of the correct portion of the counter. A pretty girl was dispatched to ask if I had ordered already, and she relayed confirmation of my foreign accent to the older lady in the sort of transparently conspicious whispering the locals imagine is discrete. The pretty girl returned with an offer of ice cream, and inquired whether I would prefer Chocolate or Dulche De Leche, suggesting Chocolate. When I responded Dulce De Leche, fear overtook the Old Woman for the gringo seeking a slightly foreign McDonalds experience MUST be treated like a spy from corporate and bribed with much ice cream.

As far as the food, their use of the local beef is a nice contrast to the otherwise transnationally consistent product. The service however is something else. Between the opportunity to exercise the judgment organ last night and this morning's pleasant breakfast show, the confidence is restored to roughly pre misadventure level and hopefully sharpened by a bit of humility. Being extranjero remains a superpower, but only when the power is worked in the right directions.

La Desfile De Inaugural De Carnival

Yesterday after Spanish class, I ventured to La Desfile de Inaugural de Carnival for a bit of cultural immersion.

I arrive early to find chairs aligned the entire length of the parade route. These chairs require the purchase of tickets. The ticketing system is enforced by the local's fear of judgment. No judgment of any particular kind, but judgment in the general sense. Thusly many seats would continue to remain open. Where the tickets could be purchased is a mystery.

Approximately 1 hour later the parade has made it close to my chosen location on the parade route. Who is the charming fellow in the hat the banner is obstructing?

The star of Carnival! Big Headed Yakub returns to Earth!

Another charming fellow, but more ethnically ambiguous. Judging by the nose and ears I suspect he may be a member of a certain tribe.

The interesting fellows were shortly followed by the t-shirt and jeans dance squad.

Following a 10 minute wait we were blessed with…

The t-shirt and bike shorts dance squad

As they left a 10 minute void followed leading into…

The t-shirts and tambores on top of a bus gang injecting CANDOMBE into the SAMBA parade! Protected cultural space violated!

The t-shirts and yoga pants dance squad followed them which lead to another 8-10 minute wait.

A slowly approaching banner

Flag guy with ethnicity bending facepaint

Dancers that hate being close to each other.

Very much so.

Thomas the psychadelic tank engine and dancers who like each other.

Las amigas ambulancias

Another banner

And other

Obeast rescue van

More dancing busses lead to the grand introduction of

Badass Tiger Guy and his bitches!

And his other bitches!

And still more bitches! Clearly Tiger Guy is winning Carnival.

After another substantial wait came another banner…

And yet another banner all to introduce…

Cake people?

Something something ISIS or SISI

Hay mas futuro!

And their skit ended just as these things usually end on Youtube… a frantic disorganized mess, just without the clouds of CS gas.

ISISSISISI was followed by water folks. After two hours of which 30 was parade and 90 minutes was waiting I returned to the hostel, informed the fresh arrivals that as we spoke they were missing La Desfile de Inaugural de Carnival… but there wasn too much for them to miss. It was a long wait between Big Headed Yakub with his mousy friend and Tiger Guy's bitch showcase. This was the Samba parade, the competing Candombe parade in the afrodescendiente part of town is in two weeks. Can they do better?

The Sad Man From England

He showed up Saturday night. Sunday he asked where he could find a store and he asked about the night life. He speaks no Spanish. He has no interest in learning Spanish. I have seen him return from the store once. I have seen him go out at night never. He says he's gone to the beach.

He's always in his bed or on the couch nearest his bed alternating between dicking around on his laptop and dicking around on his iPnohe. Sunday night I return ~3am from a girl's apartment he's not goen out. Tuesday night I return ~3am from a girl's apartment1 and he's not gone out at night yet. He's tall, fit, English, and afraid to make eye contact with the Brasilian chick in the bed next to his porque ele não fala português. I am short, hairy, midwestern, and girls buy me coffee.2

Please tell me stories about how technology is "connecting people" and making lives better, and how this Englishman is a capable man with the qualities of his ancestors that colonized much of the world.


  1. It turns out 14 words are a great icebreaker here, especially if the girl's got some color to her.  

  2. Occasionally even lunch! Thank you Korean girl from Chicago.