Tag Archives | summer

Random Observations: Weeks 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, & 18

Yep, as the title shows, it’s been awhile since we’ve posted any of our random observations. Why you may ask?  I think it’s a combination of having too much work to do as well as becoming more familiar with our surroundings.  It’s amazing how quickly one adapts to their surroundings and things you once thought of as strange become commonplace. 

So, what are some of the things that we haven’t quite adapted to and still notice? Well…

  • Now that it’s summer, we’ve been constantly battling the mosquitos here. In NYC, mosquitos never seemed to be a problem, but here they must have ample breeding ground because we have them all the time. It doesn’t help that screen windows don’t seem to exist here either.  We’re about to make a trip to Easy (like Home Depot) to see about buying some screen and trying to rig something up.
  • There’s still dog poop all over the sidewalks. The summer heat makes it even more enjoyable.
  • Driving is still insane here – taxi drivers are crazy, lanes in the road are not observed, stop signs are simply “suggestions to stop,” and pedestrians never have the right of way.

And, we have noticed some new things too:

  • It's Candy HereHalls are just another candy here, and not something that you only take when you’re not feeling well. Our Spanish tutor offered us some “dulces” (sweets) the other day and proceeded to pull out a pack of Halls.  They’re also sold in all the kioscos and come in a  lot of varieties.  I suppose this is much better for the Halls company as they can sell a lot more here.
  • My Spanish has improved a lot in the 4+ months we’ve been here (although I did originally think that at this point I would be much better than I am now, but that’s another story). Anyhow, the issue now isn’t knowing the right word to use, it’s how to pronounce it. I still can’t believe that it often takes me several tries to properly pronounce a word and the people I’m talking to still can’t figure out what I mean. It’s not like it’s that far off!  I would think that they could infer what I mean, but nope, that doesn’t seem to happen much.
  • Breaking a $100 peso bill here is always a real pain.  The $100 peso bill is worth about U$S 30, but breaking it is about the same as trying to buy a pack of gum with a U$S 100 bill back home. The stange thing is that $100 peso bills are the most common bills to get at the ATM. We’ve now reached the point where whenever we buy something over $50 pesos, we try to use a $100 peso bill if we have it just so we can hoard the smaller bills we receive back. We also use them whenever we go to the grocery store or a larger store, because small merchants hate breaking them.
  • I always wondered what the motorcycle helmet laws were here, and luckily, Michele and Tom’s Blog answered my question. It turns out that the law requires that you have a helmet on your person when riding a motorcycle. This means that it does not have to be on your head, so you quite often see people with the helmet half on their head, hanging on their arm, etc.

Ok, that’s all for now, but we promise we’ll try and post more frequently.


Random Observations: Week 11 & 12

One nice thing about numbering all of the Random Observations is that we know exactly how long we’ve been here, and wow, 12 weeks goes by really quickly. Some of our new and improved random observations now include photos!  Enjoy…

Random Observations: Week 11 & 12

  • Spring is definitely in the air here. The weather is getting hot, the sidewalk cafes are full, trees are blooming and there are kids making out everywhere. I guess they don’t really have a house to go to, so they take to the parks, streets, etc.  Sorry, I only have a picture of the flowers, not the kids making out.

  • This picture pretty much sums up the Argentine attitude towards salads and vegetables with your dinner. Yes, it does say “Salad Bar,” but do you see any salad?  I see a bowl of olives, but everything else is pretty much the garnishes for the meats.

  • Maybe to make up for the lack of salad here, we’ve found that portion sizes at the stores are much smaller than in the U.S.  This picture shows the biggest possible bag of M&Ms that you can buy at the grocery store near us – the “GRANDE” bag. Compare this to what they sell at the grocery stores back home (the XXL bag is 52oz – over 15 times larger) and you can see why we have an obesity epidemic.

And a few other random observations:

  • There are not very many people of color here. Argentines themselves are for the most part fair skinned, probably stemming from the many European immigrants here.  There seems to be very few African immigrants in Buenos Aires, so they are more noticeable when you see them. (Something that you would never even think about in NYC because it’s such a melting pot of people and cultures.)

    The strange thing is that I saw an African immigrant on Santa Fe street selling fake watches out of a briefcase.  This scene could have easily been taken directly from mid-town New York.  What is with African immigrants selling fake watches? Is this a universal thing?

  • I’ve seen limes in grocery stores, so I don’t think there’s a problem getting them here, but don’t expect one in your drink at the bar.  They have some lemon slices, but I have yet to see limes. Even when I ordered a Corona, it came sans-lime…just not the same.
  • Happy Halloween!  While it may not be an officially recognized holiday here, the kioscos all sell Halloween candy and you can find a good number of costume parties (although it is still impossible to get a real pumpkin). I’ve heard that the celebration of Halloween in Argentina has especially picked up in the last 10 years, which is good for candy and costume sales. (Halloween generates $5.77 billion in sales in the U.S.) Plus, it’s my second favorite holiday after Christmas…