El Temporal de Santa Rosa

El Temporal de Santa Rosa is scheduled to hit Montevideo on Sunday Night or Monday, August 30-31st -- Right on target. The story goes that Santa Rosa of Peru prayed for a large storm to thwart an impending invasion.  Her efforts worked and the storm held off the attack. Although the feast day of Santa Rosa is celebrated on August 30th, the storm has been known to hit this area anywhere from the 25th of August to the 5th of September, bringing rain, high winds and hail.

We have el Temporal de Santa Rosa to thank for the amazing weather here the last few days. Today was 30 degrees Celcius (or 86 Fahrenheit), which is all due to the prevailing weather patterns this time of year, with the hot air from the north colliding with the Antarctic air from the south. Whether the Santa Rosa story of thwarting the enemy was invented because the storm happens to coincide with the saint's feast day, who knows. What we do know is that the storm happens and with some regularity- especially in the last 15 years. In 2005 there was a tremendous Santa Rosa storm where 10 people were killed, many trees were lost and buildings damaged in Uruguay.

There is a thunderstorm forecasted for Sunday night and then possible rain all week through Thursday. While I'm not looking forward to a possible 3+ days and nights of rain that is forecasted, I take this all as a very good sign because el Temporal de Santa Rosa is seen as the start of spring on the Rio de la Plata.

Another recent write up of 'El Temporal' is in this month's issue of Ola Uruguay, a site with some great Uruguay information geared towards investors and retirees.

May 1- Worker's Day

May 1 is Worker's Day in Uruguay.  Similar, I believe, to Labor Day in the US except nearly all workers get the day off. All government offices and banks are closed with nearly all shops and restaurants closed as well. Thankfully we were warned of this ahead of time and I was able to get to the Supermercado and bakery yesterday. That in itself should be a post.  People were absolutely everywhere. It was as if the stores wouldn't be open for a week.  

Empty Street- May 1Today was a completely different scene (above). I was out walking throughout the day today and it was like a different world.  Few cars on the streets, barely anyone walking.  I have no idea where everyone went, but it's a great long weekend for most every Uruguayo to enjoy. 

This afternoon as I took Geneva to the park (no injuries, I am happy to report), I noticed that a few restaurants had opened and they were packed.   We cooked at home today, then got the baby to bed, and we had time to enjoy a "Pilsen Stout" (Dark Uruguan beer) and some US television.  Hopefully we'll have episodes of 30 Rock and How I Met Your Mother.... if we can get the stream to buffer.  Nonetheless,  a nice, quiet holiday Friday in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The VW Beetle. Everywhere.

Coming from a family of car enthusiasts, I pay attention.  Not to engine details or cubic feet of cargo space- I'm an aesthetics girl.  I like the way certain cars look.  It's like moving architecture.  The design and thought put into some models is mind blowing but other cars just seem to stand out in their simplicity. 

The VW Bug- A common sight in MVD

The VW Bug- Everywhere in Montevideo

The VW Beetle is one of those cars that happens to stand out.  The "Escarabajo" really are everywhere down here.  Sure, you'd see an original Bug now and then in MN, but due to the salt on the roads and the fact that they had not been sold in the US for so long, they were relatively rare.  Not in Uruguay.  I was really surprised when I started seeing so many here. Turns out that while most of the VW Beetle plants around the world closed in the 1970's, the plants in South America stayed open another 10 years or longer:  The Uruguay plant closed in 1982  after a 20 year run, Peru shut down in 1987, and the Mexico plant was still producing the "original" Bug well into the 1990's (some sources say up until 2003).  No wonder why you see them all over the streets here, and most in very good condition.  When I was out walking the other day, I counted a total of 7.  

Another story to come some day about the beloved MINI (we sold our 2002 MINI Cooper  just before moving to MVD) and the rebirth of iconic small cars.  Old MINIs are around in MVD, but even more prevalent are the gorgeous little original Fiat 500. Like the Bug, both the MINI Cooper and FIAT 500 have been redesigned and reintroduced, with much success.   I'm partial to the old models though and that's what you see in Montevideo, so that's what shall be written!

Here's a weird little story...

When we started this blog  we had to choose a theme...and we did.  A theme provides the look and feel of the blog. There are 1000s of themes available for Wordpress. Lisa and I came across Minimahl by Ahlera. We knew the moment that we saw it--we have to use this!  It was new, fresh and clean. We happily plugged it in and away we went. The next day I thought it would be nice to see who designed the theme. I went to the website and saw an Uruguayan flag and phone number in the corner immediately. Are you kidding me!?  So I shot off an email.  Below is the story from the developer Daiver. We will be grabbing drinks very soon. I might even line up a tennis match on the clay courts.

15 APR 09 Minimahl’s most impressive story yet Posted by Daiver Pedemonte

Last week we released Minimahl, our free WordPress theme. We thought it was bound to bring interesting stories to our studio, mostly because of the wide variety of themes of blogs. We were curious to see who would adopt it and what modifications people would make.

Without a question, the weirdest story came via email from a guy named Brad.

Here’s an excerpt of the email we got from him:

My wife and I just chose your Minimahl theme for the first version of our new blog — The blog is about our recent move to Montevideo, Uruguay! We just checked out your profile to find that you’re in Uruguay! Of all the themes that we could have chosen–we chose one by a developer in MVD/BsAs area!

This coincidence is really weird, especially considering that the theme had just been released after several delays, they had just arrived at Montevideo, and they had just started the blog. Seriously, what are the odds that they pick out a first theme that shared so much with them?

Anyway, Brad and I have become good e-buddies as we share several interests regarding the Internet. I would have never expected something like this from a free WordPress theme, and certainly not so soon after the initial release.

As I write this, I’m sitting down in front of a developer (we’re working late) and he just commented, without knowing that I was blogging this, about the whole situation and how strange it was.

Anyway, we’re happy to have Brad using Minimahl and very satisfied to see that so many people have adopted it as their theme.

As of right now, Minimahl has been downloaded over 900 times from WordPress’ official site. If you want to take it for a spin, you may download the latest version here:

We’re already working on version 0.9.8, so expect that soon.