We’ve been on the ground here in Buenos Aires for seven days and we’ve covered a lot of ground. We’ve walked mucho kilometres exploring the neighbourhood and checking out some familiar sites. I’ve even gone for a few runs.
We’ve begun to settle into a regular routine – days starting pretty much the same way as they did in Calgary. Coffee in bed while we check the interwebs for news from home and global goings-on.
We have been getting by with a smattering of Spanish words, mixed with a healthy dose of pantomiming gestures. At this rate, we are well on our way to becoming international charade superstars. Knowing little Spanish is holding us back from really getting engaged in life here, so the latest activity for our weekly routine is Spanish lessons. We will be spending a portion of Tuesday and Thursday afternoons with a local woman who will coax us into fluency. First lesson is this afternoon. Stay tuned.
Here are some of my initial observations, some I’d forgotten from previous trips:
- Farmacia – there are little drugstores every few blocks. If you are looking for deodorant you don’t need to walk far to find it.
- More popular than the farmacias, are grocery stores. It seems each are able to survive, but we aren’t sure how given the number of them. None are huge and some no bigger than a Starbucks, but all of them sell wine and, well, we like that. Gracias!
- The subway (subte) is clean, efficient and inexpensive. I think it works out to something like 50 cents a ride. What we found interesting are the people walking through the cars selling things as they travel between stops. One guy selling pens, another highlighters, another with gum. You know, those vital things you need in the subway. As they walk through the car, they put the item on each person’s lap. When the get to the end of the car, they turn around and pick up the items. In North America, we’d dread their approach then dissuade them from handing it to us – forget about having them put it on our leg. Here, no one bats an eye. And believe it or not, sales are made. Apparently some people need a highlighter at that very moment.
- Street parking requires some parallel parking skills (or not). The method here is parking by touch, no matter the size of the space. They back in until they make contact with the car behind them, then pull forward until they see the car in front shutter from the tap of their bumpers. Most park so snuggly that it is impossible to walk between the cars to cross the street. Needless-to-say, every car has some sort of bump or bruise.
With that said, the cleaning lady is about to arrive and we need to tidy up before she gets here and then skedaddle. We’re also taking our laundry to one of the many local lavanderias – I’ve been practicing the pantomime for “use less fragrant detergent” all week. I’ll let you know how it goes.
More observations to come in future posts.