The exterior of this old home catches my interest.

As in Montevideo, there are old homes in Salto too.

These were built in the last century, or before, and feature ornamental stone work, balconies, tall shutters, statues, touches of Greek and Roman architecture. Some have been renovated, replastered, replumbed, and reinhabited.

This old casa on a street off the main thoroughfare is one that needs more care than it will ever get. While it waits for someone with a dream to fall in love with it, it is a garden shop – El Nuevo Vivero. Inside, plants and trees for sale are placed in empty rooms and since there is no roof on the building, rain waters them right where they stand. 

The sign in front says the business is open on Saturdays and Mondays. This morning the front door is open and someone moves inside. It is Wednesday.

A young man comes to see what I want and invites me to come inside to look at his business.

Guillermo is having mate and shows me his plants. He is wearing a Brazil soccer shirt and we laugh about that. People take soccer serious on this continent. How can you be a good Uruguay citizen and not wear a Uruguayan soccer shirt? 

In the U.S., this place would be closed for code violations.  Here, there is no harm, thus no foul.

I buy a few plants and donate them to the front desk at the Los Cedros hotel where I am staying. 

When I leave the shop, with my plants,, the  ” Closed ” sign, in the front door, still hasn’t moved.

A business that won’t open its doors for a customer, even when the closed sign is in their window, isn’t much of a business.




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