The exterior of this old home, turned into a business, looking older than dirt, catches my interest.
As in Montevideo, there are antiquated 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 much 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 rustles inside. It is Wednesday.
A young man comes to the front door to see what I want and invites me to come inside to look at his business even though he is closed.
Guillermo is having mate first thing this morning and shows me some of 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.
When I leave the nursery, the ” Closed ” sign, in the front door, still hasn’t been replaced.
A business, it seems to me, that won’t open its doors for a customer, even when the closed sign is in their window, isn’t much of a business.
Guillermo, owner and caretaker of Eli Nuevo Vivero, has his finger on the pulses of both plants, and business.