Value-added tax refund scheme for foreigners in Uruguay

Now that we’re back in Uruguay for the last few days of our South America trip, I thought I’d share an interesting value-added tax scheme being used to promote tourism in Uruguay. Apparently, if you dine at a restaurant in Uruguay and pay with a non-Uruguayan credit or debit card, the value-added tax — which … Continue reading Value-added tax refund scheme for foreigners in Uruguay

Montevideo, our first day of sightseeing in photographs

After about twenty hours of traveling, including an overnight flight, our first day in Montevideo should have been a throwaway. We did have a short power nap when we arrived, but shortly after that we began a walking tour of our neighborhood and the surrounding areas. Two blocks from the guest house we found Teatro … Continue reading Montevideo, our first day of sightseeing in photographs

Excellent customer service at McDonald’s

This morning I drove Kathryn to work, her car being in the shop today for a minor repair. She typically leaves for work about 90 minutes before I do, so I decided to skip my usual breakfast at home and grab something to eat after dropping her off. I had a hankering for a sausage … Continue reading Excellent customer service at McDonald’s

France’s most courteous McDonald’s order-taker

Kathryn and I visited a McDonald’s today for the first time this trip. The store was near an autoroute just outside of Reims, France. Our order-taker was willing to pose for a photo. She spoke nine languages, repeated our order correctly the first time, charged us the right amount, and gave us a receipt without … Continue reading France’s most courteous McDonald’s order-taker

Passing through Atlanta Hartsfield en route home

I’m at the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport in the boarding area for the flight back to Phoenix. After an exhausting flight from Johannesburg, at this point we’re roughly three-quarters of the way home. The formalities in Atlanta were tolerable. The low point, as usual, was the TSA checkpoint. For the second time this trip, it was … Continue reading Passing through Atlanta Hartsfield en route home

Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

We checked out of the hotel and arrived at Our Lady of the Angels around 9:30. I’d never been to a church quite like it before. It sits on a massive complex, with its own multilevel parking garage and plaza, including a restaurant and gift shop. Its modern architecture, admittedly somewhat imposing and unpleasant when viewing it from the freeway, is much more appealing close up.

Three Graces, Place de la Comédie, Montpellier

The iconic statue of the Three Graces is a prominent focal point on Place de la Comédie in Montpellier, France. It’s often used as a recognizable meeting place for tourists, students, and locals. Busy cafes, restaurants, and shops line each side of the square, including a Monoprix grocery store and a surprisingly subdued McDonald’s.

Spending a Saturday exploring tourist attractions in Vienna

The woman hostess at the hotel-pension sold us farecards for the Vienna subway-bus-streetcar network (nice, because we were a little puzzled about how to buy them the night before) and we did a one-day exploration of Vienna — a lot of footwork but very fun. We took a lot of pictures and did a lot … Continue reading Spending a Saturday exploring tourist attractions in Vienna

Paris on Bastille Day, German tanks on the Champs-Elysées

I wanted to get an early start on Thursday so that I could get a good view of the military parade. The parade started at 10 am. Kirsten was ready at about 10 a.m., so about the only thing I came to Paris to see was obscured by the heads of about 5 million Parisians. … Continue reading Paris on Bastille Day, German tanks on the Champs-Elysées