Observations from 7 weeks in Argentina

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January 8th 2016
Published: January 9th 2016
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Now that we've left Buenos Aires and moved on to Brazil we wanted to share a few observations during our stay in Argentina. We feel we made the right decision to start in BsAs and stay there for the first two months. It's been a great experience - it's an amazing country and BsAs is a lot fun. It also gave us the opportunity to get into the 'sabbatical vibe' (so easy! can't believe it's already been two months). We could easily spend more time here (still have a few points of interest left on our To Do List). Below, are a few observations, some good, some bad.

- There are still many things that can be improved in AR, but there is free wifi everywhere. Literally! In parks, metro stations, buses, restaurants, cafes, etc.

- Everywhere you go, you see people carrying thermoses. In it is hot water that is being used for preparing 'mate', the national drink. It's kind of a herbal tea. They drink it all day long and share it happily with friends. We both think it's rather bitter and never really got into it. We prefer the other national drink (wine).

- A few other phenomena in the Argentinian/BsAs streets are:

* dog walkers: people who walk other people's dogs for money, sometimes 12 at the same time.

* graffiti: or rather street art, which is not illegal and often used to brighten an old building/wall or send a political message. We saw quite a few beautiful pieces.

* holes in the pavement/side walks: apparently, the government doesn't take care of this and everyone is responsible for their own piece in front of their house/store/office. Not everyone does this as responsibly as they should or they just can't, so if you don't pay attention, you can easily drop in a deep hole.

* pedestrian crossings don't mean a thing, so NEVER assume cars will stop when in the middle. People will run you over - truly!

- It seems like many Argentinians like tattoos and botox, young and old/men and women. We'll see how that compares to Rio next week.

- If you need to take a bus, you better make sure you make yourself known to the driver AND do this right a the bus stop, otherwise the bus driver will just continue driving. Even if you do this, you better make sure you jump in quickly, as they'll hardly stop and continue on immediately.

- Driving a car yourself is an interesting experience as well. There seem to be rules, but it takes some time to figure out. At every crossing you have to guess if you get the right of way or not. In Salta we learned that whoever gets there first goes, followed by about 10 cars going in the same direction and the other side would do the same. Somehow this works fine. We applied this principle in Bariloche as well, no idea if they use this system there as well, but again it worked.

- The Argentinians eat 4 meals a day: breakfast, lunch, 'merienda' and dinner. Breakfast and Merienda basically consist of the same food (typically two sweetened croissants and cafe con leche). The latter you have at around 6pm to keep you going until dinner time, which is typically 11pm (not gaining any weight is probably going to be our biggest challenge during our sabbatical).

- Argentinians are very proud of their 'exported' famous countrymen. When realising you're a foreigner, they immediately start talking about three famous Argentinians: el papa (the present and first Latin American pope), Messi (best football/soccer player in the world) and Maxima (the queen of the Netherlands). Someone actually told us the Netherlands is now a colony of Argentina as our queen ('the boss of Holland') is Argentinian.

- Finally, a very nice custom we noticed. Everyone always gives each other one kiss on the cheek when meeting. Yes, men and women, always, whenever, wherever. Not sometimes a handshake, sometimes three kisses, sometimes two, sometimes a hug, sometimes a wave of hand or sometimes just nothing. One kiss, always. We like! X

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9th January 2016

One kis always
Mooi gebruik. Een kus per ontmoeting van man en vrouw. Verwacht je dat ook van ons bij terugkomst op je werk, Michiel?
11th January 2016

Ze doen het echt bij iedereen, of je ze nou kent of niet. We zaten ergens te eten en toen we zeiden dat we een gerecht erg lekker vonden kwam de kok naar buiten om toelichting te geven. Eerst zoende ze ons allebei 1 keer en toen pas vertelde ze iets over het gerecht. Moeten we dus op werk ook maar invoeren. Elke morgen even zoenen en dan aan het werk.

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