Sunday, February 24, 2013

Getting Groceries.. Trust me, it's not as boring as it sounds!

Today was another lazy day in Montevideo. Originally we had planned to explore the city a little, but the weather is just kind of blah so due to a lack of motivation my roommate Becci and I decided to stay in and enjoy the sun from our rooftop terrace.

First though, I went to get some groceries. Sounds boring? Well, let me tell you it ain’t as easy if you don’t know the language very well. Getting all the things you have on your grocery list isn’t as hard because we live in a world of pictures. I may not understand every single word but some things just look the same in every country. Some however don’t. My favorite example here is milk. In Germany milk is usually sold boxed or bottled. In the US you’ll probably find it in (half)gallon sized plastic canisters. In Uruguay however, you get things like milk, juice or jogurt in plastic bags. Much similar to the ones used for frozen vegetables.  But see yourself.

Leche Fresca... in a bag!

Weird, huh? I thought so too, which is why initially Becci and I decided to buy the one brand of milk that comes in cartons. But when I visited our local supermercado today, they were out of boxed milk. So what do I do? Of course I buy the bagged kind. More about that later on in this post.

So I went on with my shopping and just before I cam to the check-out I found some German goodness: Milka chocolate and Haribo gummy bears. However here in Uruguay, them good ole Goldbears are named “Ositos de Oro” which roughly translates to “Little Bears of Gold”. I think that's the cutest version of “Goldbears”.  I was tempted. But then I saw the price and decided that I probably shouldn’t splurge. The current exchange rate is at about 25 Uruguayan pesos for 1 Euro, or in Dollar terms 20 pesos for a Dollar. For those of you who are too lazy to do the math, that would be about 2.25€ / $2.50 for the chocolate and €1.80 / $2.20 for the gummybears. Which I find a little expensive, knowing that I can get them in Germany for less than half of the price they charge here. 

Sweet temptation...

When I was done getting the things I needed and marvelling at the German candy, I of course went to the cash register. Seeing that the lady who served us the last time we were at that store was working, I decided not to go to her line. She had enough trouble with our dollar-peso mix of payment the last time already. So I spared her another adventure and waited in another line. 

This time however, it wasn’t half bad. I forgot to get my vegetables and fruits weighed so the lady explained to me in very fast Spanish that I had to get that done so she could check the things out. I didn’t understand much of what she said so I told her that my Spanish wasn’t as good and if she could repeat what she just said a little more slowly. She did and I understood perfectly. So while a bunch of people were waiting in line behind me I went to said guy who weighs groceries and got back to the cash register. Now in Germany, that would have annoyed everyone in line. People would have gone ballistic if they had to wait because some idiot like me forgot to weigh their vegetables and caused them to wait. In Uruguay? Not a problem! The people here have all the time in the world and aren’t rushing around to get things done. If they have to wait, well that ain’t no problem. I have to say I really like this mentality.

Back at home we decided it was coffee time. The first thought was that using milk from a bag can’t be that much different, since apparently everyone here is buying milk like that. As seen in the fridge, our roommates bought juice in bags as well. Because however plastic bags with milk or juice can’t stand upright, they simply leave the juice/milk/whatever in their plastic bags and put those bags in jugs in order to minimize the cleaning efforts. Becci and I decided to do the same with our bagged milk. Aaand we failed! To say this way of storing milk is inconvenient is quite an understatement. It is very unpractical and my first attempt was stopped after causing a milk spill. So for now it’s easier for us to pour the milk from the bag into a jug and put said jug less the bag in the fridge. Less spilled milk in the kitchen, more cleaning for us.

Spanish way vs. German way

After our milk-adventure, I went up to our rooftop terrace and enjoyed the sun some more. And of course I don’t want to keep that from you. But don’t think it’s all fun and vacation. As you can see there were some clouds in the sky and there was a slight breeze going. I thought it was quite nice because the sun is very strong here in Uruguay.

Working on my tan

Later Becci and I had dinner on the roof as well cause it’s so nice outside. Earlier we had watched crowds of people, mainly dressed in black-and-yellow jerseys on their way to the "Estadio Centenario" across the street. Montevideo’s biggest soccer stadium that is. Apparently, Peñarol was playing. And even though I don't like their color combination, I have to say it was quite entertaining to listen to the crowd. During dinner, we were entertained by the noises that came from the stadium. And since Peñarol is one of Montevideo’s main soccer clubs, the fan chants were quite audible. I found it pretty funny to guess what’s going on on the soccer field based on the crowd’s noise. Whistles? Sounds like a foul. 

 See them floodlights and that tower? That's "Estadio Centenario"


  1. sounds&seems to me you like coffee/milk adventures, not only in "good old" Europe

    1. No broken coffee machines though... we gotta stick to the instant kind here :/

  2. "Whistles? Sounds like a foul." I said that haha