Supplies

Toddler Equipment

We have found that with baby stuff, having the proper equipment is essential, especially when traveling.  We wrote about our BabyEssentials list previously, but we have some revised observations now that we're past the baby stage and have a very tall 2-year-old. Since we don't have a car, we walk a minimum of 5 miles per day and about half of that with the stroller.  Our small umbrella stroller, which we loved, broke just before we left for the USA in December, so we brought another one here that we had in storage. Unfortunately with our daughter at the upper weight limit of this new stroller stroller, it is impossible to navigate these treacherous sidewalks and our daily travels are a pain, not to mention increasingly dangerous as the wheels like to get stuck.  Thankfully, we've found a great alternative and we've picked up a Mountain Buggy Urban Stroller holds kids up to 70 lbs (I will need serious help if I am trying to push a kid that big, bit it's great for our 33 pound/15 kg 2 year old!). I am so excited!

One thing that we planned for perfectly is a car seat (~that unfortunately doesn't get much use here). When our daughter grew out of her sweet little baby seat at 9 months, we graduated directly to the Sunshine Kids Radian80 Convertible Car Seat which is FAA approved for airline use, the only foldable car seat, and the only one with a steel (rather than plastic) frame. This amazing seat fits kids up to 80 lbs.  No need for a larger seat or a booster, which new studies are finding are not much help in a crash anyway.

Yes, we bring this car seat through airports and on the plane with us. It's heavy, but it makes for a well-behaved kid in her own, familiar seat.  When not in use, we fold it and store it in a suitcase.  Can't do that with any other car seat!

Surprising as it may seem, the Radian 80 also fit rear-facing into the back seat of our Mini Cooper when we were living in the USA.  I wasn't sure that the combination of a tall car seat and a small car would work, but it did and at 5'-10" tall,  I could still squeeze into the front passenger seat.

We learned our lesson with the stroller.  Montevideo sidewalks are a beast to navigate and very hard on strollers. Our first stroller had a good run of 9 hard months here.  Kids equipment to purchase new in Montevideo is expensive and many times not the best quality. Plan ahead and purchase in advance (before you get to MVD) when looking for the big items necessary to travel with babies, toddlers and even older kids.

 

Miami-Box for Shipments from the USA

I needed to view and approve samples for work, but they were 6000 miles away in Minnesota.  I weighed my options: FedEx and UPS were quoting in the $160-200 USD range to get a 2 kilo box to uruguay.  I thought that was insane and was determined to find a better way. Mail would be cheap, but there is a hell of an ordeal to claim your package at the Correo Central and pay aduana (taxes) if necessary- plus stories of packages never arriving and I couldn't take that chance.  I decided on Miami-Box. Miami-Box is a parcel forwarding service between Miami, FL and Uruguay.  Set up a free account on their website and you get a unique address to send packages to in Miami.  This is a great solution for items purchased online or gifts from family and friends. Once a package arrives for you in Miami, you are notified via email and you have a few options depending on the purchase price of the package: if under $100 USD, you can opt to pick up your package at the airport and handle the aduana (taxes) yourself (with Miami-Box supplying the paperwork for you), or you can opt for full service delivery, with your credit card on file being billed for the aduana and delivery fees.  I decided on the latter and it was so convenient.  Not necessarily inexpensive, but convenient.

My little 2 kilo package cost me $99.60 on a $30 retail value.  A little painful, but still cheap in comparison to what UPS or FedEx were quoting.  The fees were broken down as follows (all in USD):

Airline freight from Miami (based on weight) $27.00

Aduana Taxes (based on retail value of $30 + freight of $27.00)  $36.00

Delivery (optional) $15.00

Handling  $15.00

Administrative fees  $6.60

___________________________

Grand total of $99.60 USD

The package arrived within 5 days, in one piece and hand delivered to my door.  I will try priority mail next time for comparisons sake.  The correspondence with Miami-Box throughout the process, as well as the delivery were all extremely professional.  I would certainly recommend their service.

*As noted on the Miami-Box site, books and magazines are not taxed to bring into Uruguay.  I will definitely use Miami-Box in the future for that purpose. They are also offering 60 magazines without the normal subscription cost for a limited time.  Please see their site for details.

Remate- The Craigslist of Uruguay

Except in Uruguay, it is a physical location and not an online 'for sale' ad. You can find any assortment of thing for sale at these remates (or auction houses). There are everything from antiques, to rugs, small appliances, farm equipment, architectural salvage and even cars.  Yes, you can even buy 'normal' furniture and housewares, which is a great resource for an expat trying to set up a household here.

One of the best remates that I know of is Castells. I've been told this remate is most often frequented by Uruguayos, and as such, is not as expensive as some of the extranjero remates.

Castells is located at Galicia 1069.  It's about a 10 minute cab ride from  the Pocitos/Punta Carretas area. The main furniture sale is every Tuesday at 2 PM. When I've been there, this sale has been very informal and in a large back room. The front main auction room is full of antiques and fine art pieces, with everyone sitting down and was what you'd envision of a "civilized" auction. The back room was with everyone standing, crowded around a given piece of furniture and the auctioneer on a small podium. You can visit early on Tuesday or on any other day to see the sale items ahead of time. Occasionally the rooms for the separate sales are reversed, so keep your eyes open.

There are other rooms as well, one upstairs and another in a garage area, full of items that sell on different days. Some is household goods and small appliances (upstairs) and outside has everything from architectural artifacts, to farm equipment to cars and all sorts of random junk.

There are no numbers or paddles for bidding, you just raise your hand. If you are the highest bidder, someone will come over to you and take your information and a deposit on the piece (30% of the sale price).  You get a receipt and can pay the balance and pick up your purchase the same day or within 24 hours.

A few notes before you hit the remate:

  • The auctioneer shortens all his numbers for speed so the current bid may come out as "ochen" instead of "ochenta".  Be aware- especially if your not so fluent in Spanish yet.
  • The upholstered pieces can occasionally be of questionable quality and I have heard stories of items having bugs. Check out a piece carefully before bidding/buying. You wouldn't want to get it into your house and find out that you have 10,000 new friends.
  • There are taxes added to the final sale price, to be paid when you pick up your purchase.  This is  a total of 16.5% unless otherwise specified.

Even if you're not in the market for new stuff, the remates are a great place to go and experience a part of Uruguayan culture. Have fun!

Dogs in Uruguay Part 2- Gear & Our Airline Experiences

After the paperwork and necessary shots were completed for our dogs, we had to consider how they were to be transported and what was going to happen to them during the long journey to Uruguay. We had previously looked into animal shipping companies that can handle all of the paperwork and logistics for you- including providing a crate for the animal and grooming before departure. These are door-to-door services, and as such, have a hefty price tag. We were quoted between $3500-4500 to ship the two dogs separately from us. We decided for that sort of price, we could go through the steps and handle it on our own.

Pug in Suitcase

Our first questions for the airline involved the crates: We had two plastic dog crates, one large that can hold both dogs and one small. We would have loved to put both dogs in the larger crate together since they are always together and really quite attached, but it was against airline regulations. Dogs have to be the same breed and under 6 weeks old to be allowed in the same crate for international travel. Our pugs were 8 and 6 years old at the time of our travel to South America, so that plan wouldn't work.

/>We sold our larger crate and went out to look for another small crate that would be more comfortable for a single dog and easier to transport. We found a great Bargain Hound crate that is perfect for airline travel.  Not only was the Bargain Hound crate sturdy and a perfect size, it had the following features:

  • Lockable wing nuts to secure the top and bottom together (some airlines require this)
  • Ventillation holes on all four sides
  • Carrying handle
  • Enclosed door pegs- some brands have the metal ends of the door latches exposed on the top and bottom of the crate, creating a potential danger for pets and children.  The bargain hound crate had this enclosed for safety.
  • Zip tie holes to secure the crate door during travel.  The agent at the airline check in will do this for you.  The bargain hound crate had dedicated holes for the zip ties, our other crate did not.
  • Pet travel kit with international travel stickers, water bowl and zip ties

We brought one crate to the airport for a dry run the weekend before our projected departure to make sure all of our questions were answered and there were no unexpected surprises.  I highly recommend doing this when you have pets and so much luggage.  The airline also appreciated it because they could make a note in our record of our discussions and expect us to take a while upon check in.

We packed the crates with a folded 'mattress' of fleece blankets with a towel as the core.  I figured this would keep the dogs warm when leaving MN and the towels would provide some absorbency in case of accidents. It worked perfectly. On top of each crate, I duct-taped a gallon size ziplock bag which contained the dogs leash, two meals worth of food in a smaller ziplock, a few extra zip ties in case the dogs had to be removed, a small water bottle to refill the bowls during transit and another ziplock bag with copies of all the dogs paperwork.  The top of each crate also had the international travel information sticker and the dogs name written in permanent marker.

We arrived at the airport the day of our departure to find that the check-in agents were waiting for us.  We had our own dedicated line for check-in and it was very much appreciated.  The agent asked at check-in if we were interested in a short-check for the dogs and we had never heard of this before.  Since we were flying from MN to Chicago, Chicago to Miami, Miami to Montevideo, we could check the dogs for all or only a portion of the journey.  Our longest layover was in Miami and since that was almost halfway according to the overall transit time, that would make the most sense for a short check.  We could claim the dogs in Miami, walk them and have them out of the crate for a while, then re-check before our flight.  We opted to check the dogs all the way through to avoid the stress on their part (and ours) to have to put them back into the crates for another check-in and long flight to Montevideo.

After all of our bags and boxes were weighted and tagged, it was time to take the dogs for a final potty break and get them packed up.  After I removed the dogs from the crates, a TSA agent came over to inspect both crates and bedding. I took the dogs to their approved area outside the entry (who knew there was such a distinction?) and came back to find the inspection completed and the agents ready to seal the dog crates.  One last kiss to the pups and in they went.  The crates were zip-tied, water bowls filled and away the Pugs went.

We all traveled safely and securely- and were reunited in Montevideo.  The dogs were happy to see us and anxious for a potty break and food.  Thankfully there were no messy dog crates, which I had feared.  We hired a truck at the airport to transport us and all of our things to the hotel- and our adventure in Montevideo began...

Next up in the “Dogs in Uruguay” series: Dog culture in Montevideo, licensing and the cost of dog food.

Email Us With Questions!

We have had a great response to our blog and receive email frequently from people who are interested in moving to Uruguay and are looking for more information. I've been corresponding with a woman from the United States who was looking for info about a possible move here with two kids. I wanted to include a few excerpts from our email conversation regarding the most expat-friendly neighborhoods and costs of goods/services in Uruguay.

Thanks for the note! To address your questions about the Pocitos, Punta Gorda and Carrasco neighborhoods:

We love the Pocitos/Punta Carretas areas. They are considered higher end, safe and very expat friendly areas that are still close to downtown. We live on the border between the two "barrios" listed previously and are within walking distance to just about every service and store that we could want. Cabs and public transportation are excellent, so we have no problems in this area without a car. There are a lot of high rises in this area and nearly all the buildings are attached to each other. While we know of a few people with small yards here, it does not seem to be common. Our house does not have a yard. Instead, we have a small front garden and a back patio.

Carrasco is gorgeous, with big houses and large yards that feel more like any United States suburb. You would definitely need a car in Carrasco it is around a 15-20 minute drive from where we are living (on a good day with no traffic). Punta Gorda is one barrio/neighborhood closer to downtown Montevideo than Carrasco and from what I hear, it has a similar feel to Carrasco.

If you click on Google Map Montevideo, you will see the names of the different neighborhoods (you may have to zoom in) and you can get some perspective to their relationship to one another. The little pin on the map is between Punta Gorda and Carrasco. If you follow the coast to the left you will find Pocitos and next to it at the point near the bottom of the screen, Punta Carretas.

To address your question regarding items that are less or more expensive than the US: Cars and gasoline here are very expensive, as is most technology including computers and home electronics. Kids/baby stuff here is also extremely expensive (2-3x more than what you'd pay in the US). I just looked for a potty seat for my daughter at a local shop and the only decent one I found was a Safety 1st model that is $50 here but only $23 on Amazon.com. On the flip side, food, most services, child care and medical are all much cheaper than what we experienced in the US.

The lifestyle is definitely different in Uruguay. We love it but we also know people here who are having problems adjusting. They expected it to be more like the US or Europe, I guess. With such a small market in Uruguay, many consumer goods are not the quality that you'd get in the US and the imports are insanely expensive due to all the import and sales taxes. Plan trips to Buenos Aires or the US to get anything you can't find here. While you technically could ship anything here, there is a very hefty price tag attached!

Good luck with your decision and feel free to email with any more questions- Lisa

If you have any specific questions and would like to email us directly, please use the 'Contact' link at the top right of the site, or feel free to leave a comment on this or any of our posts. Thanks!

Get Your own Toll Free Number

Another Great Find

Deli SingerI've been walking past Deli Singer for weeks. Just a few blocks away from our house and right across the street from the grocery store that we frequent, this place is a gold mine.  It's always closed when I tend to walk by (weekdays between 2-4 PM) but Friday evening we found it open.  Deli Singer is a Jewish deli that  has all sorts of prepared foods as well as wonderful bulk nuts, dried fruits and grains, peanut butter, and other lovely sundries that tend to be hard to find here.  I  am thrilled that it is so close and they have a great variety.  Tonight we enjoyed some amazing cashews from Singer and would have had sundried tomatoes as well, but I forgot to add them to the lasagna I made.  

Deli Singer's hours are 8 AM-2 PM and 4 PM-8 PM  Monday through Friday and 8 AM-4 PM on Saturday.  

Deli Singer, Scoseria 2607 , esq. Luis de la Torre 

tel: 712 12 75

 

Note to Brian and Chrystal: You have to check this place out. They have large bags of almonds, and not far away from you!

"It's The Little Differences"

Vincent: "But you know what the funniest thing about Europe is?" Jules: "What?"

Vincent: "It's the little differences. I mean, they got the same sh*t over there that we got here, but it's just, just, there it's a little different.

Pulp Fiction, 1994. 

 

Well, that goes for just about anywhere in the world that you visit, whether it is Europe, or Asia, or South America. And it's not that things are different as in "weird", just different than what we are used to. 

1.) Bugs.  We come from a cold weather climate of MN.  Sure, there are bugs there like mosquitoes, ticks, flies and spiders, but this is a little different.  It is not like when we were in the Amazon in Peru, but here the creepy crawlies are still a lot bigger and scarier than MN.  I'm generally not squeamish, but when I turn the light on and two "things" that are about an inch-and-a-half long go scurrying for the cover of darkness, I get a little freaked.  Ewww.  

2.) Other warm weather differences: There are indoor/outdoor spaces here. Our back courtyard is nearly an indoor space, except it is open above.  Perfect for entertaining, for cooking on the large brick parilla, for the dogs and G to play in and for doing laundry.  Our washer is out there (no frozen pipes!) and there is no clothes dryer so everything gets hung up on the line.  Single pane glass on the windows is also different.  Not wild about this because it lets in more noise, but hey, we're used to noise.  No window screens.  I could go on...

bagged-foods_edited-11

3.) Food in bags.  I've talked about the BioBolsa shopping bags from Disco grocery store, but food is also packaged in bags.  Milk is in liter bags, mayonnaise is in bags and olives also come in little bags. Plastic and glass recycling is limited here, and food packaging bags take up a lot less space in the landfill than the alternative of glass or plastic containers, I suppose.  Plus it would be less weight to transport.  I still don't like plastic bags one bit and I'm working on finding other options. 

4.) "Industria Uruguaya" on almost everything.  How can a country about the size  and population of Oklahoma make so much of its own food/products?  It is incredible that so many items display these two key words so prominently. It's the full gamut of foods and products, too, including but not limited to: flour, fruit, coffee, beef, wine, beer.  There are some imports as well and not surprisingly most are from from Argentina or Brazil.  

5.)  We really don't need a car at all.  We only had one car for the past several years in MN (the beloved MINI), but here we really have everything we need within walking distance so a car is completely unnecessary.  I love that.  If we need to go further, taxis are everywhere and the bus system is extensive. We can also rent a car if we need a weekend away. 

Liter beer bottles next to a standard wine

6.) Smaller sizes of most products.  The US is a bigger-is-better, bulk society. Here, you buy 4 rolls of TP at a time  and 2 or 4 rolls of paper towels instead of 12 or more.  I have not seen 24-packs of soda (although there are 1.5 and 2-liter bottles of the big brands).  The only big sizes I have seen are beer (1 liter bottles are standard, at grocery stores and restaurants) and restaurant serving sizes are gigantic for nearly everything.  

7.) Vets making house calls and most everything can be delivered.  We had a vet visit Paloma when she was being boarded and Pablo's medication dropped off for us once we got into the house.  SO nice.  Grocery stores also deliver, as do many restaurants, storefront fruit stands and food shops.  We have yet to employ those services, though.   

8.) Our microwave freakin talks to us!  In Spanish or English.  It is really cool and I'll have to post a video sometime. 

9.) Bidets.  This is a bidet culture much like many parts of Europe and areas of the world. The US is not a bidet culture and in fact, in my years in the Interior Design industry, I have  had only one request for a bidet and at the time had a giggle about it (This was 10 years ago, give me a break!)  The bidet is an integral part of any main bathroom in UY and I am sure it would be viewed as odd here to not have a bidet as it is in the US to have one. 

10.) Other things we've explained before: the late dinner hour, rental process, etc.  

Really, though, these are all the things that make exploring a new country so much fun; Taking everything that you know and turning it on its head and finding different ways to accomplish the same thing.  These are all priceless experiences.

Furnished or Unfurnished?

We brought a bunch of stuff with us but didn't want to have to worry about all the details of setting up a house in Uruguay, so we opted for a furnished rental.  I am so happy that we did.  

kitchen- A night viewFurnished apartments/houses generally come with everything from furniture to artwork, dishes to brooms.  Ours was no different.   There were things here that I never would have expected in the house we rented: curtains on every window, a vacuum, new kitchen towels, place mats and tablecloths, a bucket, gardening tools just to name a few. I figured that furnished meant just furnished. I did not  think that furnished meant EVERYTHING!  Most of the items in our place are new as well, so I can't complain. Our landlord keeps asking us if we need anything else.  We purchased a clothes line to string in the back courtyard and then learned that he would have taken care of it. 

On the flip side, UNfurnished means that it includes nothing.  Usually that also means no appliances.  Yep. The previous renters/owners take the appliances when they move out.  All of them.  Range, refrigerator, washer: all gone. Many houses that we've seen do not have clothes dryers or dishwasher, so I guess that is a few less appliances that you have to worry about replacing.  

We looked at unfurnished places but the thought of renting (there are a few furniture/appliance rental resources here) or acquiring all of the necessary items to furnish and equip a house was so daunting, we very quickly decided on furnished and I am so happy that we did (yes, I had to say it again).  

As advised by people already living in Uruguay, we brought bedding with us from the USA along with a few towels (have to get a few more) and favorite pieces of cookware/kitchenware.  We've been in the house for two weeks and feel that we are nearly completely set up and can focus on other things (like working, setting up daycare, getting health insurance, having long lunches out with new friends.  You know, important stuff!!)

The Baby List

Geneva in the toy bin

We have been recently corresponding with a couple who will be moving to MVD shortly with their daughter. They've asked great questions about traveling abroad with a baby and what to bring, and we've responded with our experiences thus far.  Another couple with a little girl just commented on this blog yesterday (what's with all the baby girls? They're the best, I know. But baby boys are portable too!) and I thought this would be a great time to publish our very extensive baby packing list.  

Whether you're moving to Uruguay, the UK, Australia or UAE (or wherever in the world your journeys take you) this list should help to plan out your move with a child.  Appropriate for birth to 2+ with some minor modifications, this is what happened to make the journey with us. 

I had been planning this packing list since shortly after Little G's birth.  We visited MVD to scope things out in March 2008, when Geneva was 3 months old) so I could really get a feel for what is available here and what is not. After talking to people here last year, I found that baby stuff in particular is not the quality that we are accustomed to in the US.  I wanted to bring as many things as I could that were portable, good quality and will grow with the baby.  I also brought a bunch of small stuff that I knew I could probably get here, but didn't want to worry about going out and finding it right away. I regret absolutely nothing in this list. Here goes:

  • Tripp Trapp® from STOKKE® Highchair with baby rail and cushion. Packs flat.  You can adjust the seat/foot rest to grow with the child and eventually become a standard chair that holds up to 300 lbs. Is a great design and we'll use it forever.  We have a 2008 model in red with the white baby rail and art stripe cushion.  The 2009  models are changed slightly so be sure the chair and accessories work together. 
  • Sunshine Kids New Radian 80 Convertible Car Seat   The only car seat that has a metal frame, FOLDS flat for storage/transit (great for getting through airports and into airplane seats) and fits up to an 80 lb kid. No booster seats here! This will be the only seat we'll ever need.
  • BabyBjörn Travel Crib Light I mentioned this one in a previous post and it really has been incredible. Set up takes about 30 seconds and pack up takes about a minute. Weighs a mere 11 lbs and comes with a sturdy bag that can be airport checked, or packed in a suitcase. Geneva loves the thing and we are still using it.  I wanted to get a "real" crib when we got settled down here but I am starting to reconsider if we really should get anything else.
  • Two mattress pads and few crib sheets including two jersey sheets that work well for the travel crib.  I didn't buy the baby Bjorn sheets because I just couldn't justify $30 each...
  • Clothes: 18 month summer and 24 month in both summer and winter- I get everything in lots off of craigslist and have the next two sizes boxed and ready to ship here if needed. 
  • All the sippys, plates, silverware to get her through the next year.
  • Cloth diapers- several different varieties including All-in-One's (AIO's), prefolds, fitteds, PUL covers and wool covers. See note below about diapers.
  • 4 packs disposable diapers Nature Babycare Eco-Friendly Diapers and several packs of wipes to get through the first few weeks
  • Chicco C6 Stroller Comes with a storage bag and shoulder strap.  Great for checking it at the airport.  We left our larger stroller behind and brought this one to MVD both times.  Was great when G was 3 months old and still great now with that she's 16 months old.  
  • California Baby Super Sensitive Shampoo and Body Wash I brought two 8.5 oz bottles and wish I had more because I use it as a face cleanser, too. I like this because it is unscented, biodegradable and tear free. 
  • Baby proofing stuff for cabinets and door knobs- A big help in the hotel rooms, too. 
  • Baby toys, books (English and Spanish), etc. Another post to come of some specific toys as well as the items I brought with us on the long plane ride here!  3 flights and almost 24 hours of travel,  I  had to have a few tricks up my sleeve!! 
  • Geneva in the tubSafety 1st Kirby Inflatable Tub Lots of hotel rooms and houses here only have showers (but they do have hand-showers).  I received the tip to bring an inflatable tub when we visited a family here from Canada.  It's been wonderful.
  • Clock Radio with white noise feature- We used this in MN and its been nice here to block out noises and create a great sleep environment for Geneva. We need to use it with a transformer since it is from the USA, but it's what she's used to, so we packed it up with everything else. 
  • Closetmaid 2 Pack Fabric Drawers Blue Cloth storage bins that fold flat.  I had used this style for my socks/tank tops, etc before baby and ended up getting two for Brad in blue and several for Geneva in a deep pink color.  They're great for toys, books and clothes (or the baby, as pictured at the top of this post) and once again, packs flat for transit. 
  • Small photos and momentos from home to keep a similar look to the room that she is used to
  • Several blankets including a few that were mine when I was a baby
  • Big Kids' Halo SleepSack - Pink This is the walker version with holes for little feet, rather than just the sack for infants. It will be great for cool nights where blankets get frequently kicket off.  I got the 2-3T size and it is huge on our tall girl.  Something to grow into!
  • Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 (Black) and Vision Pro for Mac Webcams are a must to stay in contact with the grandparents and other family back home via Skype.  We purchased one for us and 4 to give as Christmas presents this past year.  The reviews for this camera are outstanding and we have had the best experience with this after returning a previous webcam and giving others grief after also purchasing another brand of webcam.  This is the best!
  • There are also several other items that I will include in the next packing/toys post
Note on diapers: 
Disposable diapers here kinda suck. We've heard that from others here and discovered it ourselves. I actually know of one family that bought most of their disposables from Argentina.  We used a combination of cloth diapers and Naturebaby Care biodegradable disposables in the US.  I brought 4 packs of disposables here and all of the cloth diapers that we had been using.  We've tried a few brands of disposables here and the absorbency just isn't the same and one brand seems to be a very slim fit which has leaked badly for us. Sounds weird, but I can't wait to get some decent laundry detergent so I can start cloth diapering again. 
Thinks that I wish I could find here: 
  • Cheerios for the baby (or an organic/natural equivalent) - there is nothing similar down here except for sticky honey covered stuff. 
  • Unscented/natural laundry detergent- I'm sure we'll find it, but we haven't yet.  Everything readily available is scented
  • More California Baby shampoo/bodywash.  See note above.
  • More suppy cups.  Baby chompers are sharp and like to chew...

If you have traveled or moved abroad with young babies/toddlers, we'd love to hear your ideas and what has worked for you.  If we become friends via the blog and you're coming in this direction, be warned. We just bay ask you to bring something from our wish list!

* Note: All of the links above are Amazon because in preparing for this move, we hopped on Amazon all the time when there was something that we needed. We heart Amazon and are "Prime" members so we got free shipping in 2 days on most items.  Plus, there are reviews of all the products so you know what you are getting.  Brad had a good time practicing his HTML skills placing code for all of those links!

A Trip to the Supermercado

Disco Supermercado I just went to the grocery store this afternoon. We're always walking so I can't buy too much each time I go to the store. I tend to go there almost every day for a little something but it's two blocks away from us, so not a big deal. Today I wanted to have a "Te Completa"  (tea or coffee with croissants, cakes and little sandwiches) at home and needed some little bakery goodies to do that. I thought I'd share my shopping list with you to give you an idea of some food costs here. Granted this was a trip of little items, including some frivolous items, but still should be worthwhile to see. Prices are based on an exchange rate of 24.5 UY pesos to $1 US and rounded up to the nearest cent. Price in pesos is listed first with no symbol (although they use both the $ and U$ here for pesos) and dollars listed second in parenthesis.

  • Olives- pitted in a clear plastic pack 360 g - 44.50 ($1.82)
  • Empanadas- Cheese and Onion, pack of 6 premade - 68.00 ($2.78)
  • 12 medialunas (mini croissants)- from the bakery sold by weight - 46.96 ($1.92)
  • Frozen Pizza- 3 cheese, onion and olive - 104.00 ($4.24)
  • Whole Milk- premium baby formula (nearly double the price of regular milk), two one-liter bags - $72.80 ($2.97)
  • Pilsen Stout Beer, large 960 mL size - 45.00 ($1.84)
  • Beer bottle deposit - 9.90 ($0.40)
  • Plastic food storage container, large 1.3 liter size - 69.90 ($2.83)
  • Plastic food storage container, small 0.6 liter size - 41.90 ($1.71)
  • Paper towels- 2 small rolls which are standard here, medium grade- 49.90 ($2.04)
  • Pepper- whole peppercorns with bottle grinder- 134.00 ($5.47)
  • Salt- 500 g box - 18.50 ($0.75)
  • Wheat crackers 200 g bag - $26.50 ($1.08)
  • Dozen Eggs - brown (side note: eggs are kept out on the shelf here. Really freaks me out.) - 42.50 ($1.74)
  • Refund of 19.80 for return of 2 beer bottles (- $0.81)

Total UY pesos 754.56 (or $30.79)

You can live inexpensively here but that really depends on how and what you eat, among other things of course. I bought no fresh fruit or veggies from the grocery store today because we purchased a few things yesterday at the Villa Biarritz feria market (not sure if this is really what it's called) and we still have bananas, peppers, onions, sweet potatoes and tomatoes left from earlier in the week. I find the feria prices are less than the grocery stores and it's so much more fun to go to the big open air markets!

We bought a few small zucchini at the feria yesterday, along with a kilo and a half of both apples and oranges (3.3 lbs each) for a total of about 85.00 ($3.47).  Fruits and vegetables are plentiful and can be quite inexpensive. Purchase locally produced and in season produce and it's even better.  This is perfect since we are a strictly veggie family at home.

Now off to crack open that big bottle of beer!

One hint: Bring a few of your own reusable shopping bags.  We have two that fold up when not in use and they are used every day.  All of the grocery stores and markets use small plastic bags, and many multiple plastic bags for each trip there.  We have tried to avoid plastic bags as much as possible ("Sin bolsa, por favor"), but still have them all over from when we forgot the reusable ones. Kudos to the Disco chain of grocery stores that has "Bio Bolsas" that are still plastic, but are supposed to decompose in 2-3 years. 

Stay Tuned: New Technology Feature

In the coming weeks, we will be featuring a new six part weekly technology series by Brad to be released on Mondays. This coming Monday will be the intro feature with the description of the topics to follow.  We're also working on an extensive list of baby items that we brought with us- along with a few items that we wish we had.  This will be released in the coming days.

Culinary Discoveries

I had read in some of the Expat forums prior to arriving here that certain products are either hard to find, extremely expensive or even non-existent in Uruguay. Specific spices, nuts (expensive), Goat's milk and prepared "ethnic" foods like Mexican are a few examples that come to mind. I am so very happy to report that while preparing for the worst, we have been very pleasantly surprised. The most common foods found here are an Italian/Spanish hybrid along with what most outsiders consider the "Argentine" Asado. We've been to one Mexican restaurant, Roma Tijuana, were quite pleased and know of only one other by Montevideo Shopping. Contrary to what some Norteamericanos think, Uruguay is NOT Mexico!!!  It is easier to find a Heineken or Stella Artois here than a Corona!

 

We packed a few things with us that we'd use frequently, like fish oil and flax supplements along with a hefty sized bag of TVP (texturized vegetable protein).  We thought it was such a specialty item, there was no way that we'd be able to find some down here.  We use it as a filler instead of meat for stews, chili, etc.  Well, lo and behold, today I found it.  

Market at Berro and Marti

There is a street market or Feria that sets up every Friday just outside of our hotel door.  Stretches one block down calle José Martí and two blocks down Pedro Francisco Berro and is mostly fresh fruits and veggies with the occasional meet, cheese, clothing or housewares stand.  I was walking through with Geneva today and wanted to get some fruit (Now which one of the 40 fruit vendors do I go to??) when I happened upon a lone vendor of spices.  He was jammed in between a few busy fruit stands and with baby in tow, I coundn't muscle my way in to the stand for a closer look, but my superior height allowed me to see the labels of the items, including bags of a chunky, recognizable, dried product labeled "Protein de Soya".  Bingo!  It's here.  It's around. Our bag will probably last us a long while but it's good to know that reserves exist!

The whole atmosphere surrounding the discovery was made more wonderful by the old accordian player sitting on the corner.  As he hunched over his well loved instrument, I dug for some change and put it in his tin.  I am a sucker for the accordian.   

Later today, long after the market packed up and traffic once again took over those streets, we found that the Mexican restaurant down calle José Martí in the other direction was open for business.  After several days of watching and waiting while they set up, we can't wait to try it out.  It is more of a restaurant stall, with a vey small but cute storefront and outdoor seating (picture to come tomorrow).  No matter, I'm sure we'll end up there tomorrow to try out their veggie burrito (Brad) and some wonderful meat option (me) all washed down by a few lovely Corona....

Other Great Stuff (that we brought along)

There are a few other things that we brought with us that have been invaluable to an extended stay in a hotel. These were all items that we purchased for previous adventures abroad (Peru and Thailand) and I think they are all nifty little tools to share: Campsuds

Campsuds: This is a multi-purpose, biodegradable liquid soap that can be used for clothes, dishes and body. While we have bathed with it before, we are using it for clothes and dishes right now. There are several scents available and it is concentrated so it lasts forever. We have a 4 oz bottle that has lasted us from our Peru/Inca trail trip a few years ago.

We use Dr. Bronner Castille Soap for showering and other cleansing.  Another excellent concentrated all-purpose naturally derived biodegradable liquid soap.  

Pack Towl: These microfiber towels are amazing and we have them in 4 sizes. Ours are a previous generation, so I assume that they could only get better. They have been great as dishtowels, bath towels, wringing wet clothes dry- you name it. They're light, have a snap loop to hang with, wash perfectly and dry incredibly quickly. What more could you ask for?  Be warned though, these are not cushy towels.  It's a bit like drying with a giant chamois, but they get the job done. 

Frio Pouch: This was the only solution that I could find for trekking in Thailand in 2002. I needed something that would hold my insulin and keep it cold when I was going to be away from refrigeration for extended periods of time. The Frio pouch was/is a godsend. It has a gel that is activated by water that keeps the pouch cool for days. Soak it for about 10 minutes or so and you're ready to go. When the water starts to evaporate, simply re-soak it (I did this in more then one stream during the Thailand trek). The gel dries to a sandy texture and it completely reusable. Saved my insulin from the Thailand heat and has gotten through airport security in my carry on and everything!! MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: I highly recommend carrying a doctor's note when traveling with any medical supplies/devices. I have also found it helpful to call the airline and have a note added to your record if you are traveling with large amounts of supplies (thank you to Brad for recommending this). It saved me a whole lot of trouble this last time! Also, just because it worked for me, does not mean it will work for you and/or the airline you are flying. Check and double check with them first!!