Strange country

Well it just is. Quite apart from the weird customs, and the fact that they litter everywhere, their prices make no sense at all.
You can get almost anything here if you can pay, but don’t expect to get a washing machine or any other white goods without a kings ransom. Then there was the price of beer in Gratto bar. It’s just nuts. In contrast beef is so cheap you end up buying too much. Then there are the utilities almost a hundred times cheaper than the UK.
This morning I decided to change the plug on our boiler. It just looked ugly with the cable coming out the wrong way. So I went to the fereterria and bought two. $35 that is £1.60 more or less. They would cost a fiver each at home.
Anyway we are off to school again on the subte $4.50. These 25 pence’s are adding up.
My confirmation from Azimo came just before we were due to leave, and I did not want to carry that much money around with me. So we decided to pick it up after school.
It was not only Viv who’s head was mashed today. After a whole lot of indefinite objects, I could take no more. I was ready for bed, not for going out.
We got off the subte at Carlos Gardel and walked the three blocks to the office address we had been given. The shutters were down and there was no sign of opening hours. The gate was not locked so I stuck my head in. There was a guy behind a screen waving at me to “Get out”. I was having non of it “que hora abierto?” I asked. He waved again, so I asked again, in a louder voice. He relented and said “Diez a cinco”. So if it closed at five there was no way I was going to get there after school, I would have to come back in the morning. I thanked him and left.
We stopped to buy some provisions, but at the local amacen I missed my number. Nobody was going to serve me now unless I started again. Just too tired and fed up, I screwed the flimsy ticket up and left. I got some cheese in the chino instead.
We sat on the balcony drinking coffee and eating media lunas, then we took a walk down to Plaza Monseñor de Andrea. I rescued a youngsters ball from the fountain and then we crossed the road for ice cream.
You never quite know what you are getting here. We got large cones with nuts and covered with chocolate. Sort of a hand made choc ice. It was delicious, but I was covered in it by the time I had finished. So while Viv delicately wiped her hands with tissue, I plunged into the fountain again. (just my hands, you understand).
It was getting cool, I have no idea what happened to the famous heat, but it was time to head for home.
Some baked potatoes then bed, too tired for tango tonight.


Filed under Argentina, Tango

2 responses to “Strange country

  1. tangobob

    Thank you Janis, hopefully we will finally have some free time in March

  2. jantango

    There are so many local customs I like. For example, parents walk their children to school in the morning and meet them after school. They hold hands walking down the street, even boys and fathers. It’s delightful to see their connection. Couples walk arm in arm or hand in hand, even the older generation which is especially sweet. Yesterday I saw two teenage girls holding hands while walking together. People are not afraid to touch, to hug, to kiss. People who know you in the neighborhood say hello when they see you. They stop and talk. The health food store owners call me by name and kiss me on the cheek. Where else in the world is that done? I don’t know. But I love it here. Men greet their male friends with a kiss or a hug; and this includes the milongueros viejos. They say Americans are “cold” because they shake hands. Affection is normal and natural in Argentina. It’s no wonder that tango was born in Buenos Aires.

    When a person enters a waiting room (hospital, doctor’s office, beauty salon), they greet others. When a workman enters your apartment to do repairs, he says “perdon” upon entering. Portenos are very polite. Perdon and gracias are used often. If the bus driver waits for someone rushing to catch the bus, the passenger thanks him. When an elderly person or someone with a child boards a bus, someone offers them their seat. Young people offer their seats to older people. I’ve been offered a seat many times even when I prefer to stand. This wouldn’t happen in Chicago.

    This is a city of considerate walkers. Men step aside when a woman approaches. Young people step aside for older people. There is courtesy that I never saw in my home city where everybody rushes and doesn’t care.

    Instead of listing the differences, I’ve noted all them as improvements to the life I knew. I can’t complain. I chose to live in this bi city in a third-world country for the rest of my life where I am happy and so content with my simple life. Things go wrong, but that happens everywhere. You miss your turn, so you take your turn out of order. It’s not a problem. Some things cost more, and some things cost less here. I buy less stuff that way. I enjoy free concerts all the time, even at Teatro Colon on a Sunday morning. There are no free concerts in Chicago. It’s worth standing in line for two hours to get free tickets for a concert at Teatro Colon that nourishes the soul. Just being in the place is thrilling. The concerts begin in March, so I’ll get two extra tickets so you and Viv can join me.

Please comment, I love to hear your views.

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