101 Things About Argentina: Part II
This is a continuation of Part I of my list of things about Argentina. Start there if you haven’t read it yet by clicking on the link 🙂 So, without further ado:
26. You put your picture, gender, race, age, and marital status on your resume (curriculum); if you don’t, employers might think you’re hiding something.
27. Shoe store right next to a fruit/veggie stand right next to an apartment complex—not weird.
28. Someone casually lights a cigarette in the school cafeteria, right next to the “Prohibido Fumar” sign; no one casts a second glance.
29. You panic about a big group project the teacher assigned. No one starts talking about it until the night before it’s due, and nobody does a single bit of work until the morning of. The presentation is bound to crash and burn, but the teacher forgets there was any homework at all. Two weeks later, he remembers, but forgets again the next class period. If you’re interested for future reference, this is a potential method you should consider if you’d like me to die of a heart attack someday. <–This might just be Universidad Belgrano…still investigating.
30. Pigeons are more common than ants on a spilled Slurpee. They’re impossibly uglier too.
32. You think you must have something in your teeth if you get
through the day all the way to the bus stop in the morning without at least six or seven comments of “princesa“, “linda chica“, or “Te acampaño o te persigo?”
Actually, my favorite piropo (these types of comments/pick-up lines) happened to me a couple of weekends ago while I was standing at a bus stop with my friend Marianita outside the city center in Olivos. A little truck with three or four guys, all in their mid-twenties or thirties pulled across the road and into the wrong lane and rolled down their window. “Perdón chicas, pero estoy media perdido,” said the driver (Sorry girls but I’m a little lost), “Me pueden decir como llegar a tus corazónes?” Could you tell me how to get to your hearts? Then he drove away with a wink. I was left a little bit confused, my naive mind calculating how to get to the center of the city exactly from where we were. It clicked within a matter of seconds though and both Marianita and I coughed a little from the cheesiness of it all. I don’t necessarily like the piropos, though.
Most are harmless enough and the guys in the truck made me smile at least, but sometimes they’re just gross and disgusting. I don’t think it’s common to have this happen to you, but last Tuesday I was walking by myself on Santa Fe coming back from the gym at around 10 PM (still dinner-time-ish) and a young guy around my age followed me for about a block asking for a kiss and actually grabbed me. I whirled around telling him to go away in more explicit language and raised my arm when he got close to me again… The streets were strangely empty but a watching doorman pulled him away from me, made sure I was ok and told me to continue before I got a chance to slap the jerk harassing me. I shouldn’t have spoken English to tell him to go away, but the words that come out of my mouth in those situations aren’t necessarily well thought out. He’d effectively pissed me off though. Anyhow, I don’t think it’s a really common experience to have and the guy seemed drugged or drunk
33. You’re a shark and seats on the bus are the minnows.
34. You have a separate bag for your mate supplies and a mental map of refill stations throughout the day so you don’t run out of hot water (or at least for some Argentines.)
35. By the end of the day your purse is full of ads for learning English, painting your baby’s bedroom, pizza delivery, and various other promos you were too polite to refuse on your five block walk home.
36. Empanadas, dulce de leche, and medialunas all have their own food groups, here’s my personal food pyramid:
37. Two pieces of bread with jam and a single half mug of Nescafe fills you up like a regular meal used to in the United States.
38. A little girl comes up to you in a restaurant where you and your amigos are morfando una pizza and asks you for a slice. She won’t leave until you oblige, and then she goes outside and eats it in front of the window. She’s not homeless or anything (she’s wearing a private school uniform…), only craving pizza and feeling bold.
39. Pizza is delicious (as proved the little girl in #38), but delicious in Argentina for a more gourmet reason than the United States (still miss my Papa John’s Special Garlic Dipping Sauce: aka butter mixed with a bit of cream and powdered garlic for use on already artery-hostile pizza.)
40. Someone puts a pair of socks on your lap on the colectivo with tape across them spelling out “ADDIDAS.” He follows with a presentation involving tying the socks to the bus seats and comically stretching them as far as possible to prove that they are sturdy before emphatically announcing that they are offered for a limited time and ONLY FIFTEEN PESOS FOR NOT ONE, BUT TWO, that’s TWO durable pairs!!!
41. Red lights outside of the city center are just suggestions.
42. Almost all of the cars are manuals. For this reason the lights go from green–yellow–red–yellow–green.
43. It no longer surprises me when my bus driver gets road rage, slamming on the brakes and calling a fellow driver an “hijo de puta” with a characteristically Italian shake of the fist.
44. Mayonnaise obsession. Seriously, a whole aisle in the grocery store is devoted to mayonnaise. Since ranch dressing is virtually nonexistant, guess what the choice topping for salads here is? Not kidding. I used to think this was weird and gross. Now I don’t know what a meal is like without mayonnaise.
45. I may have mentioned this before but milk is usually purchased in bags like the ones below. Yes, they do have cartons (although they’re square and weird), but I’ve yet to see a typical plastic bottle or translucent jug like the ones so common to the USA.
46. When I order a whiskey/7Up I don’t get 7Up with whiskey, I get whiskey with a couple shots of 7Up. Sometimes they give me the can too just in case I want to dilute my drink after the first shocking sips.
47. You have to light the oven and the stove with matches, a task which took me many fortnights to master. I still fear lighting the pilot light on the oven, actually….
48. The doormen water the sidewalks early in the morning just in case the grass decides to peek through the cement surface one day. These porteros will be there to tenderly care for such growth when it comes, I’m sure. Maybe it’s a city thing, or maybe it’s a preemptive strike against the dog poop that is seeming to invade the city, qué sé yo…
49. Everyday one plays a life-size version of Minesweeper walking along the streets of Buenos Aires. Ironically, the parks seem to be eerily clear of feces, but the same cannot be said of the sidewalks. Walking in heels is quite the feat among the cracked, uneven tiles with the occasional sneaky bomb of dog poo that make up Buenos Aires’ sidewalks. I guess when you’re a dog walker with 20 dogs in tow you might find it a bit tedious to bag it ALLLLLL (see #5.)
50. Electronics are insanely expensive because of import taxes. I bought my Droid Razr (which got stolen a few weeks ago 😦 ) in February of 2012. It came out sometime in 2011 I think. Right now in the US, you can get one brand new without a contract for about $200 (free with a contract.) This one pictured here is the equivalent of $520 WITH a new or renewed contract. I hate to think of what it would be unlocked!
To be continued…
Posted on May 31, 2013, in 101 Things About Argentina, Spring Semester, Travel and Study and tagged Argentina, Buenos Aires, culture, facts, standinginargentina, Study Abroad, Travel. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.