Saturday, September 19, 2009

Carmelo, Uruguay

little Fiat, Carmelo, Uruguay

Went to Carmelo, Uruguay for the whole day on Sunday. I have to leave the country every few months, because I'm not a legal resident of Argentina. I just have to cross the border and then come back again. I usually just go across the river to Uruguay for a day. This time I went alone, and it was my first time visiting Carmelo. I like traveling by myself every now and then. I just walked around all day and sat around under trees, reading and drawing pictures.

museum, Carmelo, Uruguay old house, Carmelo, Uruguay

Carmelo is a quiet, small-time tourist town on the wide brown Río de la Plata. It has a sandy river beach and a few hotels. I imagine it gets a little busy with Argentine and Uruguayan tourists in the hottest months of the summer, but it's early spring now, everything was pretty empty. One one side is the town, lots of cobblestone streets and typical one-story houses, lots of great art deco architectural details and great old signage. There are a handful of old hotels and nice old theatre buildings.
Teatro rowing club, Carmelo, Uruguay art deco cine, Carmelo, Uruguay house colors, Carmelo, Uruguay house detail, Carmelo, Uruguay

There's a central plaza with a church and a few businesses, two restaurants and the deserted Club Uruguay. Across the bridge, there's more grass and trees, horses and goats grazing in peoples' yards, a few boat clubs and if you walk about 20 minutes you get to the beach, it's in a big park with campsites and a few desolate-looking beachside restaurant type places. Everyone here seems to be riding a little motor scooter, I think if I came back again I would totally look into renting a scooter too.
beach, Carmelo, Uruguay no parking, Carmelo, Uruguay sagging porch, Carmelo, Uruguay beach, Carmelo, Uruguay

I left home before dawn to catch a train out to Tigre, and then in Tigre I caught a ferry, it's a three-hour ride out through the delta and across the river to Carmelo. Stayed there all day and then caught the 8:00 ferry home, got into Tigre around 10:45 and then finally got home around midnight. Long day. But a nice one.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

back to school / time zones

spring jasmine blooms

I'm about to start teaching classes again! Last semester I taught an Intro to Typography course at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco! (via their online BFA/MFA program) and this semester I'll be teaching two classes, both Intro to Typography, one for undergraduates and one for graduate students. I'm excited!! I'm trying to do my preparatory work and plan the semester, get everything organized and sorted out before the students log in for their first day of school.

As part of my preparation I'm trying to sort out how many time changes we'll go through in the coming semester, and it's a lot! For September and part of October, BsAs is 4 hours ahead of San Francisco (1 hour ahead of New York). Then Argentina starts Daylight Savings Time sometime in October (not sure when. it's a controversial political issue here and I think politicians are still arguing about the date), so then BsAs is 5 hours ahead of San Fran. Then later in the month, Daylight Savings Time will end in the Northern Hemisphere, so then BsAs is 6 hours ahead of San Francisco. Then there's the eternal question of whether Argentina might end up canceling daylight savings time after all... because Argentina is just kind of flaky like that.

Honestly...? UGH. f*#% Time in general and Daylight Savings Time in particular.

Anyway - excited to be starting classes soon!

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It's suddenly warm out! It was just winter last week and now it's crazy hot and sweaty outside. I think I have seasonal whiplash. I was inside, doors closed, heat on, wearing several sweaters just a few days ago and now it's shorts weather, I've got all the windows open and I've even been trying to go out and work on the terrace in the afternoons. The jasmine vines out there are blooming like mad and the smell is intoxicating. A friend told us that there's a name for this early hot weather, it comes every year and it's called "El Veranito de San Juan." It's like "Indian Summer" but the opposite. After El Veranito de San Juan, there'll be crazy rain storms on or about August 30th ("Tormentas de Santa Rosa") and then it'll get cold again before it becomes spring/summer for real.
spring jasmine blooms

Anyway, the beautiful weather is making me feel SO HAPPY and excited about life and a bit manic! I'm also a little stressed with a lot of work, but I took the morning off on Saturday to get chores done and do fun springy stuff. Woke up at 8:00 am!! on a Saturday! and we hopped on our bikes and rode to Chacarita, where we stopped at our new favorite bakery and got some crusty bread plus some amazing almond croissants and pain-au-chocolat. Next stop, El Galpon, where we drank a cup of coffee and a big glass of orange-raspberry juice on the front bench, basking in the warm and glorious sunshine... then headed inside to stock up on farm-fresh veggies, cheese, eggs, smoked ham, etc! Laden down with beautiful produce, we raced back home and dropped off the groceries, picked up the dogs and took them over to the vet for bathing (yes, our vet washes dogs!) ... then headed over to Av. Santa Fe to search for some kind of improvised compost container. We've been wanting to do composting on our terrace for ever, but we've never had a good container. Now that it's warm out, we've bought a few plants and we're starting to trick out our garden for the coming summer! We settled on a big blue plastic laundry hamper which is kind of ugly but it was the cheapest thing we could think of. I hope it'll work! Came back home, picked up the soft, clean dogs and spent a few happy hours on the terrace planting stuff! We now have tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers, rosemary, thyme, lavender, cilantro, and some lovely flowers underway in our container garden.
spring container garden

We drank mint iced tea and listened to stories and songs from Townes Van Zandt while planting and digging around in the dirt. Dogs rolled in dirt to get all the "clean" off. Ate some tasty snacks and sandwiches with our plunder from the farmer's market. Good times.

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