Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Things Argentinians Like

Soooo I don't know if I'll ever get around to loading up all my old e-mails but here's my ongoing list of things Argentinians like.
1. Complaining about how much they think Argentina sucks. (I, for the record, love living here). When I first moved here, rather than telling me what a beautiful country this is, etc. all the Argentinians that I met constantly warned me that I would probably get robbed and eventually kidnapped for ransom. Ironically, Argentina is actually a fairly safe country, and the odds of that happening are pretty slim.
2. Being really afraid of sickness. When I first moved here the swine flu panic was in full swing and people were really flipping out about it. People were wearing medical masks just to go out on the street and many large public events were canceled. what was funny actually is when you would see someone with their swine flu protective mask hanging around their neck because they were smoking a cigarette.
3. Putting whole olives on their pizza, but for decorative purposes only. Here, all pizzas come with a few olives on them, but I have yet to see anyone (American or Argentinean) actually eat the olives. Everyone just picks them off. I can't figure out why they still insist on putting olives on the pizza. I feel bad for the olives; they probably traveled all the way here from Greece, just to get baked, picked off, and thrown out.
4. Putting sweaters on their dogs. For some reason, during the winter, at least half the dogs here have sweaters on. Even the homeless people put sweaters on their dogs. And its not that cold here!
5. Letting their dog shit all over the sidewalk and then not cleaning it up. Yea, no pooper scooper law here. There is always soooooo much dog shit on the sidewalks.
6. Throwing things off their balconies without regard to who is below. This one I know is eventually gonna bite me in the ass. On the sidewalks you always see like a huge water stain or something that makes it obvious that someone in that building was mopping their floor, then just walked onto the balcony and threw the dirty water on the sidewalk. Im pretty sure I'll finally get hit when im like dressed up and on my way to an interview or something.
7. Getting things delivered. Argentinians LOVE getting things delivered! You can get anything delivered here too. You can go to the supermarket, pick out your groceries, then have them delivered. We have seen pizza, empanadas, sushi, pastries, meat from the butchers, and ice cream get delivered. Probably the most exciting one ever tho --- beer. YOU CAN GET BEER DELIVERED TO YOUR APARTMENT!!! Its every lazy alcoholic's dream!
8. Hair removal. Maybe its that most Argentinean have Spanish or Italian ancestry (both very hairy) or maybe its their proximity to Brazil, I don't know. But I do know that Argentinean love hair removal.
9. Buying underwear, socks, and pantyhose from the Paraguayan ladies who sell them on the street. Im actually inferring that they love this one. I see a lot of Paraguayan ladies selling underwear, socks, and pantyhose on the street corners, so I'm assuming there must be some sort of market for them. Or it could be like the olive thing; they're just there for decoration.
10. these really weird baggy and then tight pants. ok, so this one im going to try really hard to describe because this is like nothing we have in the states. so these pants are usually made of cotton or linen. they are super baggy and poofy at the top (they kind of look like the pants that Alladin wears), then at about the knees they change and become skin tight. WTF. i really don't get it. I think maybe the only advantage of those pants is you could like poop out a watermelon into your pants and no one would know. or your ass could just be really really fat and no one would know.
11. these sneakers that have a slit in between the big toe and the rest of your toes. i think they kind of make people look like ninja turtles.
12. leg warmers. i just want to stop people on the street and be like "hey, 1984 called, and it wants its horrible fashion trends back". also, they don't just wear them over leggings, they also wear them over jeans.
13. bromances. argentina is definitely the land of the heterosexual man kiss. here, you greet someone by kissing them on the cheek. everyone does this, including men. its really funny to see an american or english guy say hello to people here, they are obviously sooooooooo uncomfortable kissing other guys on the cheek.
14. fernet. this is a type of alcohol, that here is always drunk with coke. actually a few people have told me that fernet and coke is the national drink. sooooo the thing about this one is that everyone acknowledges that fernet is in fact disgusting. you can not drink it plain- its way too gross. it creeps me out a bit because it kind of curdles the coke when you make the drink -- the coke develops a thick head. i know that drinking too much coke can burn a hole in your stomach, so im pretty creeped out by anything that can curdle coke. after trying it though, i became a fernet convert and now almost always drink it when I go out.
15. frutigrans. these are these hard cookies that come in a roll and in different varieties. im pretty addicted to the oatmeal raisin ones. its disgusting how quickly i finish off a roll.
16. absurd English names for stores. theres a pizzeria called "Crack". i liked that one. also i saw an ad for a car parts company called INA FAG. But...I've found the definite winner in the competition for "most absurd store name" and it is... ::drumroll please:: .... TRAMPS. No joke---- there's a women's clothing store here named "Tramps"!!!!!!!! I DIED laughing the other day when I saw a woman walking around downtown with a shopping bag that said "Tramps" on it. I had this image in my mind that she just went to the store to pick up some tramps (lower-back tattoo included???).
17. having irish surnames. so i know that some of the famous liberators of latin america were from irish decent, but i still can't get over this one. right now there are advertisements everywhere for this book by pancho o'donnell. what a name~ pancho o'donnell! thats sooooo quality.
18. tanning in a bikini even if they are grossly overweight/pregnant. I really think my favorite sight was the pregnant ladies tanning their pregnant bellies. I was just like ohhhh god.
19. Drinking mate even if its 90 degrees out. Mate is a type of hot tea that is incredibly popular here. Its drunk out of special mate gourds with a special straw and its very common to see people walking around the park, etc holding a mate gourd, drinkin some tea.
20. wearing jeans and leather boots even when its 90 degrees out. This one really kills me. I'll be there suffering in the sweltering heat while wearing a sun dress, and walk by women wearing jeans tucked into leather boots. I want to stop them on the street and say "are you crazy!?!!?!?!?"
21. Really long lines. I think this is actually a latin american thing in general but it gets pretty ridiculous at times. For example, today I went to the bank to cash my paycheck. There were two lines; one for priority customers, and one for the rest of us poor schlums. The kicker: there was only someone actually working at the priority window! The rest of us just had to stand in line waiting to see if someone in the priority line would let us go before them. I waited for over an hour just to cash a check! I would go to another bank, but the problem is that they are all like this. They never have nearly enough people working. Its even worse if you have to do something involving the government. those lines are INSANE. On my way to work i pass by the ministry of something or other (I dont even remember which one it is now) and the line is always around the block... at 7:30 in the morning! the office doesnt open till 10! People spend all day waiting on line just to get their forms filled out! there are mobile coffee and pastry carts that hang out over there and go up and down the line selling breakfast and lunch to the people who are waiting.
22. having really crazy jobs. let me explain this one. as a former student of labor i've found this one to be pretty interesting. here the labor supply far exceeds the labor demand so the price of labor is quite cheap. therefore, there are all sorts of jobs here that don't really exist in the united states. for example: the human billboard. at main intersections when the light turns red guys will walk out into the crosswalk and just hold up billboards in front of the cars waiting at the red light. thats their job! also, we put the garbage out on the street daily here and you dont have to separate your garbage from your recycling because there are people whose job it is to go through all the garbage and pull out the recycling. you see them on the street mostly in the evening pulling these huge wagons filled with recycling. also people will sell you anything anywhere. there are always people on the train selling not only things like soda and candy but also random shit like booklets to hold your cds or harmonicas. even though you can buy candy at any kiosko (there is usually at least one per block) you dont even need to go to the trouble -- because people come right onto the bus and try to sell you candy! the bus drivers just let them hop on and off the different busses all day long selling candy.
23. Protesting. When the weather is warm there are all out protests with marches and drums every day. Sometimes there is more than one in a day. They protest EVERYTHING. As you know I'm all for creating equality in whatever way possible but even I have to admit that it gets a bit ridiculous. It just becomes such a hassle every day. The metro is shut down a lot and you don't know until you get there that you have to find another way to work.
24. complaining about inflation. this is actually legit though. at first i thought they were crazy when people told me that inflation here is 20-30% per year, but now i see that its definitely true! over the summer prices REALLY went up -- its crazy! thankfully im making more money!
25. ordering coffee or lunch from a restaurant and having it delivered to their office on real dishware. people will call a local restaurant and order something to be brought to their office but not like normal delivery, like on real dishes! you see waiters walking through a restaurant with a plate of food on their tray (like normal), then they just walk right out of the restaurant, down the street, and into a nearby office to bring it to the person there! how funny is that! why go sit at a table AT the restaurant if the restaurant will come to you?