Uruguayo xmas.

In my new country of residence, the festive season is a time of high summer, where nearly the entire country repairs to the beach for a month or so. We’ve followed them, as evidenced by this pohoto of sunset at La Paloma on the Atlantic coast, looking across from where Africa tore away from South America all those millions of years ago. The basement here is around 2.5 to 3 billion years old, part of the Rio de la Plata craton, and gneisses intruded by granite and other high grade metamorphic rocks outcrop all along the coast.

The beach sand is eroded from deep within the continent, brought down by the Rio Uruguay that joins the Parana above Buenos Aires to form the Rio de la Plata (see http://tinyurl.com/kqqqmtv). Being a secular minded land these days, since its relatively recent emergence from a military imposed fascist dictatorship supported by the church, the season is known here as family week. I like that, no bowing to any church in this melting pot country where many people have grandparents from 4 different countries, but an acknowledgement of what is really important, spending a good time with your friends and loved ones.

And a good time here revolves around one quasi religious ceremony: The asado. This compares to your common or garden barbeque the way a gorgeous perfect diamond octahedron does to a black mis-shapen mass of industrial diamond. The asador, an open space with chimney and grill (called a parilla) is often large enough to roast a whole ox, and indeed a family event here often comes close.

A large fire is lit, and you then wait while chatting, sipping wine and nibbling until a good amount of embers are ready. You then spread them out and pile on cheese, vegetables and the obligatory large chunks of dead animal in all its myriad forms, and then play with adding more embers underneath while they cook. I plan to have several of these over the next week, when I can tear myself away from my new friends, wife, the pool and the beach. Hopefully I’ll have time to write a post or two a day as well.

Happy family week to all of you out there, whether freezing and making snow Daleks or lounging by the poolside.


Image credit of Anaconda beach a hundred yards away: Gustavo Uval

The former Air Commander of Guantánamo said that easily a third of the men at Guantánamo should not be there, were mistakes … There is never a moment of acknowledgment of wrongdoing for having held them without charges and having tortured them.
—  Pardiss Kebriaei, senior staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, discusses the recent release of four Guantánamo detainees and calls for the base to be closed. Watch her interview on Democracy Now! today.

2012 Bodega Garzón Tannat

Oh boy - Bodega Garzón makes some pretty fabulous stuff. Their take on Uruguay’s premier grape, Tannat, is no exception. Deep, dark fruit - blackberries, plums, blueberries - on the nose along with cocoa nibs, coffee, vanilla, and toast. More blueberries and blackberries on the palate with a host of yummy condiments - coffee, cocoa nibs, vanilla, wood, pepper, and baking spices. Yum!

5/5 bones



13.8% abv


Uruguay’s legal marijuana experiment will go on — but the future remains unclear 

One year ago, Uruguay became the first country in the world to completely legalize marijuana in a move that has since been dubbed the “great experiment.” But for the last few months, it looked like Uruguay’s experiment was coming to an end as public sentiment continued to go against legal marijuana and a rising presidential candidate vowed to repeal much of the law if elected.

At the end of last month, however, voters in Uruguay granted the leftist Broad Front coalition another presidential term by electing 74-year-old oncologist Tabare Vazquez over center-right National Party candidate Luis Lacalle Pou, 53% to 40%. In doing so, Uruguay solidified its left-leaning status and kept alive the country’s legal marijuana and the government’s growing dispensary system.

Where we are now