I’ve been here for about one week now, and I thought I would start a series about some of my random observations as a new expat. Some of these will be expanded on in further posts, some are just random one liners. So, without further adieu:
Random Observations: Week 1
- Learning Spanish is going to be more challenging than I thought.
- Everything they sell seems to be much smaller than the U.S. equivalent.
- They love to package food in bags and boxes (yogurt, mayonaisse, etc in plastic bags – milk, oj, etc in boxes). There are not as many plastic and glass jars. The question is, what do you do once you open these up? You must have to store them in another container.
- The paper products are smaller and are not of the same quality as in the U.S.
- Finding plush towels is almost impossible, as is finding high thread-count sheets.
- No one picks up after their dog and I mean no one. I picked up after Delilah and felt weird doing it. They also have orange garbage bins everywhere, so it is very easy to dispose of. I have a new policy of taking my shoes off at the door and am wondering when I’ll first step in a big, fresh pile.
- Not everything is as cheap as I was expecting. Electronics are much more expensive due to state tax as well as import tax. I found this out when having to replace my LCD. Beer however is incredibly cheap – a liter of Brahma or Quilmes is about U.S. $1.50. Dinner at a nice restaurant is pretty cheap too, especially when compared to NYC. You can have appetizers, entrees, a bottle of wine and dessert for two for around U.S. $50.
- There is no garbage room in my apartment. Everyone just puts their trash out on the street before 8pm. You do not sort cardboard or recyclables – cartoneros (waste pickers) come through the city each evening and open all trash bags to remove cardboard, paper, and metals. After that, city trash collectors haul away the rest.
- Pedestrians do not have the right of way. Taxi drivers drive much worse than they do in NYC. I’m really surprised there are not more accidents.
I’m sure I’ll have plenty more of these each week as I explore and learn more about the country and culture.