Worldly-ness

The Soft Winds Of Buenos Aires Once Blew Into Her Room

La Boca[all photos are my own]

For all of my friends this past year, the sentence beginner, “In Argentina…blah blah blah,” has been a frequent one in my vernacular. I traveled to Buenos Aires last June and have been mildly obsessed ever since. It is such a quirky city that embodies the two seemingly opposite cultures of Europe and South America.  This can be attributed to Argentina’s immigrant-based roots, where unlike most other South American countries began by Mayans and Aztecs, etc. OK, my intention is not to write a factual report so here are my top ten interesting Argentine tidbits!

  1. Walk anywhere and you can’t help but notice sophisticated Argentines toting, not Starbucks or Dunkies coffee cups, but small gourds filled with Yerba Maté tea and drank through metal straw. It’s no frappacino but the distinct taste grows on you and has herbal benefits like non-crashing bouts of alertness, cancer prevention, immune help, and vitamin boosts!
  2. For those who think they know Spanish (namely my overzealous self on day one in BA), you don’t know their Spanish. Replace all your y’s with sh’s: yo becomes sho. Replace all your ll’s with sh’s, too: calle becomes cashay.
  3. Sunday is festival (feria) day. Tango dancers and street performers are  abound. And there are endless amazing things to buy: from leather to edible to items downright too crafty to pass up.
  4. Don’t try being a vegetarian in Argentina. It’s beef time all the time.
  5. Cafes on every corner (with espresso served in baby-sized teacups!).
  6. Eco-unfriendly alert: all the water is bottled everywhere!
  7. Spare change is sacred and preserved. Everyone needs coins for the SubT and buses so they go to one of the millions of kiosks to buy gum (chicle) or a drink to get coins. And the store people feel used and get pissed off.
  8. Petty theft is rampant. I witnessed one such swindling in a café. We were detained for a half hour until the thief came back and turned himself in.
  9. All the men yell catcalls at women. Literally every single time you go out in public this occurs. And it is considered completely acceptable.
  10. Napkins are wax paper, regardless of the fact that this material absorbs NOTHING.

I love Argentina and will travel back as soon as I have the chance. Please, please, please add it to your bucket list to see for yourself the lovely combination of European sophistication and Hispanic flavor that is Buenos Aires.

This is how Argentina does cemeteries (Evita is buried here).

This is how Argentina does cemeteries (Evita is buried here).

This satellite opens and closes with the sun!

This satellite opens and closes with the sun!

Famous cafe that is so overpriced has great croissants!

Famous cafe that is so overpriced but has great croissants!

Iguazu-the second largest falls after Angel Falls and BEFORE Niagra.

Iguazu-the second largest falls after Angel Falls and BEFORE Niagra.

WIDEST STREET IN THE WORLD!

WIDEST STREET IN THE WORLD!

We call ours the White House and they call theirs la Casa Rosada!

We call ours the White House and they call theirs la Casa Rosada!

Yerba mate: I know it looks suspicious but it's wholesomely cultural, I swear.

Yerba mate: I know it looks suspicious but it's wholesomely cultural, I swear.

Calle

Stunning architecture

Stunning architecture

I couldn't help it: seeing these falls was literally breathtaking.

I couldn't help it: seeing these falls was literally breathtaking.

Ciao, mis amores.

P.S. If anyone ever offers you a Frutigran, take one. Or nine, because they are the most surprisingly delicious ugly cookie you will ever eat.

Paz,

Title from “Sangre Dolce” by Carly Simon

3 thoughts on “The Soft Winds Of Buenos Aires Once Blew Into Her Room

  1. I enjoyed reading your view of my adopted city. The men don’t hesitate to say what’s on their mind to women, so “piropos” are something women have to get used to and ignor them. The city is promising a universal card for the buses which will alleviate the needs for hording coins. I hit the jackpot yesterday when the bank gave me 7 peso coins and the grocery store cashier gave me another 7. That should do for the next week.
    It’s the middle of fall and the temperature today will be 78 degrees.

    Former Chicagoan living ten years in Buenos Aires

  2. In one of those pictures you can see where you stayed while you were there. unfortunately, it wasn’t the casa rosada

  3. It’s nice to read this considering I take all of these as ‘natural facts’, just because I live in Buenos Aires. Now the change thing has been solved! SUBE (Sistema Unico de Boleto Electrónico) has been applied to every public transport and it makes it much much easier to travel on a daily basis. I’m not such a mate ‘drinker’, which means I’m pretty weird out here, hahaha. I agree with the ‘piropos’ thing, it’s very annoying but you end up getting used to it and you even end up ignoring them. Insecurity is what I hate the most. And you’re right about the napkings and frutigran, too! Did you visit La Plata city? It’s much nicer than Buenos Aires (city, not province).
    Greetings!

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