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Updated 18 Nov 2016: "Link-dropping" will be considered Spam, and count as your Zero-Strikes immediate (or when we get to it) ban, block, and report to Google.

Do not simply drop a link to your blog, company website, YouTube video, other forum/site, nor anything else. Even if it is "expat/immigrant" related, even if it is about Uruguay life. If you do not write at least a few words, specific to the audience of this community about its relevance to all of us in or considering Uruguay living, then do not post it. Yes, even if it is a "life in Uruguay blog".

You need to participate with meaningful content to be allowed to post links.

Note that violating a G+ Community's terms of service makes it a violation of Google's own rules, even if your post might have been OK elsewhere on Google services. Which means you/your company can lose not only your access to this Community, not only your access to (still not dead!) Google+, but your entire Google Account. Your Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Photos, AdSense, AdWords, even being able to use your Android phone or tablet.

With apologies to Philip K. Dick, "Flow my tears, the Community Owner said."

--- now back to the original anti-spam message ---

¡Basta con SPAM! Community owners myself and +Lisa Mercer are  in a zero-tolerance mood about spammy posts. Especially because other members of the Community are starting to complain.

ZERO STRIKES. Post a spammy post and you're simultaneous Blocked, Banned from the community, and reported to Google for violation. Note that "reported to Google" can lead to you losing your ENTIRE Google account - Gmail, Google Calendar, all your YouTube comments, your YouTube channel, your Google Play purchases, your Android login...

And if you have a website linked to by your SPAM, I just might try to get it taken down for violation of your hosting company's terms of service. Same if your email account can be determined. Had an affiliate link? You're getting reported to Amazon Associates, Commission Junction, Shareasale, Linkshare, or whomever else you use. You might lose your whole moneymaker scam. Note that I'm pretty good about tracking down that kind of thing.

Go ahead, make my day.

Hello, I'm going through the residency process and I'm being asked for a mammogram. Will they acept a thermography? And where can I have it done? 

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Uruguay's top "hypermarket" chain, the oddly-named "Tienda Inglesa" (English Store) has been acquired by a US-based private equity/real-estate partnership (Klaff Realty Limited Partnership) that also owns major US supermarket chains Jewel-Osco and Albertson's.

I read this (Mark writing here) in the paper (the actual, paper, paper - I still have the "like to get the Sunday big paper" habit, except now it's in Spanish) on Sunday, but didn't have a chance to share it until now. Should be understandable if you have basic functional-enough-to-move-here Spanish, or if not, use the Google or Bing translators likely baked into your browser.

Some "expats" are going to get really upset about this. On many of the Facebook and web-forum "expat groups", especially those frequented by expats with origins other than the US, Tienda Inglesa is near-idealized. Lisa and I never figured why that is; from our perspective, T-I is nice enough but basically is a scaled-down Super-Walmart/Target hybrid, with worse food and fewer non-food choices than either.

But it is, arguably, the best true "supermarket" (using the North American concept of "supermarket" - "supermercado" in Uruguay can mean "small but not-tiny local corner grocery store"), and does do a few innovative things. Such as rotating "country specials" where for a week or two it's "Italy week", "France and Belgium week", "German week", with some specialty products from those countries only available at that time, and regularly-stocked products from there (or alluding to there, like Chilean taco sauce for Mexican week) marked down. And typically with an extra 20% on those products if you pay with the Scotiabank Uruguay Tienda Inglesa debit card/savings-account.

Hopefully this will not downgrade the offerings and service of Tienda Inglesa. Nor go much further in "Americanizing" it. The purchasing group does have some Uruguayans with a minority stake in it, and T-I founding-family current owner Robin Henderson (English name but the descendants are Uruguayan) is keeping a 10% stake.

Surprising to me, for the business it does, apparently Tienda Inglesa has been in financial difficulty for quite some time. The article mentions that Citibank, Banco República, Santander, and Tienda Inglesa's own banking partner, Scotiabank, recently downgraded the debt rating of Tienda Inglesa to category 3 (a US "junk bond" equivalent") which is described as "Doubts about the business' ability to pay its debts as promised." That's following three straight years of losses.

What do you think of this US acquisition of a well-known and significant private-sector business in Uruguay? Love to hear your insights and opinions, whether from the consumer perspective, or the Uruguay economics perspective, or both.

ELECTRICITY COSTS, please share your experience - I am considering buying a condo in Montevideo and like in most cases the heating is a problem. I really need it warm in my apartment at all times. If I run 3 a/c and additional portable electric heaters for an 8th floor apartment facing North (warm) two bedrooms to temperature of 25 C /77 F - how much will I pay for the electricity? While i wait for the city permit to install double panel windows, what do you think my electric bill would be? thank you all and have a great day :-)

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Using cash for gasoline/petrol or diesel fuel (nafta o gasoil en español) will be illegal entirely in Uruguay as of August 15. Banned at night as soon as next Monday in Montevideo and Canelones Departments.

Banned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in Montevideo and Canelones on July 1, and that same day the night-hours ban becomes effective in the rest of the country.  Then on Aug 15, cash is banned everywhere at fuel service stations.

These bans also apply to the minimarkets in all the gas stations. So no popping into your Ancap, Esso, or Petrobras station for an alfajor, candy bar, or pre-made sandwich, without a Debit or Credit Card.

This is not a proposal. It's a done deal. Signs are already up on most gas stations in the region, such as at the Petrobras next to Tienda Inglesa in Atlántida where I checked yesterday. "Night" hours are 2200-0600. Plan accordingly.

What is a proposal, is a proposed new bill in the legislature that will ban the imposition of "minimum charge amount" for debit cards. But it says nothing about credit cards, so I assume that minimum charges on credit-type plastico will remain legal. Over on our Facebook Page for the Uruguay Expat Life Network we posted a link to that:

As immigrants, expats, tourists, new residents, or even if you are a naturalize citizen of Uruguay, we have exactly zero right to influence this policy. So there's what you feel, and there's what is actually going on. Even if you have become a citizen, you do not get the right to vote on anything until 3 years after citizenship, and since there are no "mid-term elections" in Uruguay, it's longer than that for most people.

P.S. I intend with this post for it to be the informational, "Here's what is actually happening" type of post. Rather than being a discussion about some "Global War on Cash". Because what is immediately relevant is not whatever your or my feelings about electronic money and payments are: it is, No Plastico No Petroleo starting in less than a week. Adjust your lives accordingly.

P.P.S. I am not so naïve to think that a "Global War On Cash" discussion will not arise anyway. With my Community Owner hat on, please make sure you steer far away from any bigotry. Also, I'd personally appreciate it if we could leave the "Reptilians that secretly rule the world" out of it. (Yes, all FOUR TYPES of them.) Even if you are sure that they're behind it. Thanks loads!

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I'm a 50ish single American woman who is thinking of moving to Uruguay. I would like to rent a small studio, or maybe a roommate situation. I am a minimalist, so I don't need much. Can you give me advise on moving costs, and what to expect when moving there? Also there areas that are safest or the ones to stay away from .. etc..
Thank you so much,

... and one week into school Duncan brought home a nasty cold with major congestion and I've got it too. Amanda has a cough down deep in her lower chest and sounds like she's hacking up a lung. Thankfully everything is clear and not green - YET.

What medication names / brands do they have at the pharmacy here ?? - I have NO idea what to ask for.

I'm looking for stuff similar to Nyquil, Sudafed, Tylenol cold and sinus, Mucinex, etc. I can't drink hot tea (stomach ulcer goes NUTS) and am not interested in herbal remedies - I want real meds and I want them now, LOL

Any help would be appreciated.

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I think G+ ate my last update post, LOL!

Fin del verano! It was a lovely summer. Maybe two dozen days total when it was a little miserable due to the heat, but overall not nearly as bad as expected. The kids got boogie boards and had a great time at the beach. Except for the jellyfish!! Eeek!

My teen son who had two toenails that were badly ingrown suffered a bit - he had surgery in the states, but it had grown back and granulated. Here, the doctor at the clinic simply took a scalpel and cut away overgrown flesh and did nothing to help the core issue. Thankfully, our brilliant tutor knew a medical pedicurist, and she managed to get all of the ingrown nail out over series of visits spanning most of the summer, and at a very reasonable cost. My daughter lost a crown on a back molar, and the dentist also has been amazing.

My back is steadily worsening - it hurts so badly at night I cannot sleep, and makes the most terrible, audible, cracking and grinding and clicking sounds. We are slogging our way through red tape with the mutualista, and hope to have that in place soon.

The dollar reached new heights! We went and changed $800 USD to pay rent and bills a few days ago and were delighted to see the rate. Almost $U 26,000!  Rent is down around $510 USD. Amazing.

Electric topped out at under $150 USD and now inexplicably is down to only $U 1030 for the most recent bill!! I think the landlord is fucking with us. They were here for the summer months, and our electric was high and the water almost doubled, from $U 450 to $U 890...

Our water pressure was shite all summer and is now back to normal, and I know the water line runs to both houses...  I think they have their electric rigged to ours too even tho there's a meter on their side of the fence. Otherwise it makes no sense. Our bill shouldn't have dropped so much because we were still using the AC pretty heavily until last week. The thing that changed in February was they went home.

We ditched Movistar for Antel. Crap network, phones kept dying on us and we were unhappy. So phone bill went up to about $45 USD from $25, but the phones are much higher quality and the calls don't drop every fifth call.

The Devoto at the end of our street opened up for high season, and THAT was a treat - we could just walk down daily and buy what we wanted for dinner, and there was also an extra ATM outside. And they had some items you don't usually see - we bought ALL the Tostitos corn chips, LOL (Amanda makes KILLER nachos.)

What else - Oh! Duncan (our 8 year old) started school at Joaquin Torres Garcia. It's a tiny private school and so lovely. Most of the kids already speak a little English and the teacher knows just enough to manage him. There's honestly maybe 120 kids in the whole school, 18 2nd graders, in 2 classes of 9. Perfect. And the cost is so cheap!!!

I expected similar to the private Kinder he was in back in the US, which was nearly $350 a month. Here, it's only $U 2,700 a month, plus $U 1,600 for the transportation (a van collects him and drops him off). His uniform was the expensive bit, running us close to $U 1,500 for one jacket, one pants, and a short sleeved polo with the school logo. But backpack was only $U 350, school supplies another $U 500, and I have to go back to get the textbook which I do not remember the cost but not too bad. He just finished his first whole week and he adores it!

It's now March, which means 3 months until we hit our first whole year here. It's been grand. Some things are frustrating (my health, mostly, but that was hell in the US as well) but most of it is fantastic.

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If you rent here in Uruguay, on a year-round basis, make sure you understand the concept of the URA, "Unidad Reajustable de Alquileres", and its related coefficient of rent increase. That's the "Coeficiente de reajuste de alquileres" (CRA)

Each year of a rent contract, the amount your rent can increase, legally, is the CRA for the final month of the rental year just ended, times your monthly rent for that just-ended year.

That's the law. That's not necessarily what the dueño, or the managing agency for the owner, will tell you if you walk in wide-eyed on the first of the month of the new rental year, and ask, "What's the new rent?".

So find out the URA and CRA before you walk in and ask what the new rent will be. You can get it from the linked website You also can download the official .XLS-format spreadsheets from Uruguay's official statistics site, at this page:

As of this afternoon, the November 2015 URA and CRA are not yet posted. The October CRA for renewals in November was 1.0914, so a 10000 peso rental that renewed in Nov 2015 would have become 10914 pesos per month for the next 12 months remaining on the rental contract. 

As of my visit an hour ago, to the managing agent for the casita we rent, with renewals on the 1st of December each year, I was told the December CRA is 1.0915, which makes sense with the inflation trend. Which makes our was-10811 rent in pesos monthly, now 11800 per month.

Of course, when I walked in, already armed with the official URA printouts but first mildly asked (en español) "What is the new rent", I was told an amount 1000 pesos higher than that. There's a thing called "Vivieza Crioilla". But this ain't my first expat rental rodeo. As soon as I asked "Is that right, the coefficient is only about 1.091-something, shouldn't it be around 11800 monthly?", there was a quick conference to the co-manager, a "What's the coefficient?", the correct 1.0915% answer, and the correct rent increase.

Just roll with it, but be forewarned and pre-armed. An "expat" who doesn't know how it's supposed to work, is likely to get a small markup. But there's essentially zero pushback if you know your rights.  And are nice about it rather than getting all "expat-huffy".

Contracts are a maximum of 2 years with a third year option, and may be only 1 year with a 1-year option, so every 3 years you are going to be subject to a market-rate rent reset. But don't get "taken" during the protected-by-law years of your contract.

This doesn't apply to vacation rentals, short-term rentals, informal rentals. But if you have what we back in the English-speaking world called a "lease", it does apply.

I'm not even singling out the particular Inmobiliaria. Uruguay mostly doesn't have corruption, nor is it that much of a bargaining culture. But you do have to watch for and expect a bit of this vivieza criolla stuff, whether at rent renewal time, or getting your change from the "sweet old woman" who runs the local pastry shop in a tourist town.
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