Things I learned in Argentina

Argentina has to be one of the quirkiest (from the view of a North American) countries I’ve visited. During the last few days of our trip, my dad and I worked together to compile this list of things we learned in the birthplace of Tango.

1. Nothing really moves before 10 AM and most not until at least noon.

This was probably my favourite part of the trip. Between the jet lag and my general inability to sleep, I wasn’t up until 10am anyway.

2. They have not really got the message that smoking is bad for you.

Although not as bad as some European countries (here’s looking at you France), smoking could be considered the third favourite national pastime (after soccer and tango!).

3. The Double “L” does not make a “y” sound luke other Spanish speaking places. It is a lazy “j” sound. Chicken is pronounced pojo not poyo.

After hearing Spanish in Barcelona, I was pretty sure that nothing could be more unintelligible. *open mouth, insert foot*

4. Dinner is late. Most don’t eat until about 9 PM.

I think this is normal for everywhere but the US/Canada. Considering the fact that nothing is open before 10am its not that late!

5. Platform Sandals for ladies are a thing

Hey Argentina, ABBA called and they’d like their shoes back.

6. Crocs still exist. No joking. Really.

Apparently Argentina is stuck in some weird 1970s/2000s shoe continuum. And no one is thrilled about it.

7. Being over 6 feet tall is awesome in crowds – you can see for miles.

Never have I ever had a better view of the top tourist attractions.

8. Being over 6 feet tall sucks in a place built for 5′ 6″.

The amount of times I walked into awnings,etc. is actually astounding.

9. Seems like every 20 years there is a coup and/or a new currency.

It seems that the country is now on more stable footing, but you never know what Cristina and her minions can do in the next couple of months!

10. Buenos Aires has lots of really cool museums. You just cant get past their front door. 

Among the better excuses:

“Its under construction – it will be open in March” – The National Police Museum (featured in the Guidebook AND on the 7th floor of an office building…ok friends)

And my all time personal favourite – the Mitre museum. We went in, thinking it was free. Until we were chased out by the security guard yelling at us in rapid fire Spanish… (side note: we saw the whole museum for free before this happened)

11. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Spanish-speaking people is hard to get used to. So are Brilliant red-heads.

Chalk this one up to post-WWII immigration and genetic mutation.

12. There are more parks and green space in Buenos Aires than you would think.

Its honestly so refreshing to walk around a big city and be surrounded by trees and see a park every few blocks!

13. Getting around on foot, by bike and by bus is easy and convenient.

Pedestrian streets and bike lanes are everywhere in the city centre! Not to mention the astounding amount of buses!

14. Protect the environment…say what?

What is recycling? Side note: What are public garbage cans?

15. Lanes are just a suggestion. As are red lights.

They’re there, but that doesn’t mean anything. Green means go, red means go faster.

16. The smell of barbeque is EVERYWHERE.

And no one complains about it… because why would you.

17. The quality of restaurants and food is very good.

4 for you Argentina. You go Argentina.

18. Pan handling is taken to a new level with breastfeeding moms and infants in on the game.

Its heartbreaking to see happen, but its something that happens in every big city.

19. You can order ice cream on line and have it delivered by a guy on a scooter.

Because who doesn’t want ice cream delivered to your door. I’m not even being sarcastic. This is the second greatest invention in human history after the wheel.

20. Pizza delivery guys use roller blades.

Because the roads already weren’t dangerous enough, lets throw in boys on roller-skates trying to reach their destination before 30 minutes is up.

21. More or less is a thing. Believe it.

“We’ll meet at 4:30, more or less” *actually end up meeting at 7pm*

22. Cash is King.

You can do ANYTHING with a few pesos.

23. Just because it is a bank and it says that your card will work does not mean it will work.

A new song by me. Featuring the morning we went to 7 different banks and got no money.

24. It takes longer than you think, period.

EVERYTHING takes a good 30 mins longer than you think. Just going to the store around the corner? No problem, LETS JUST PUT 10000s OF TOURISTS IN YOUR WAY.

25. Many public services are private enterprise. (mail, transit, etc.)

I’ve never seen so many different CITY buses run by different companies.

26. They love mayonnaise. Serve it like ketchup.

And not a single time did I complain.

27. For a land full of farming and agriculture, green vegetables are a rarity.

Oh you want veggies with your steak? SURPRISE YOU GET POTATOES.

28. The artisan market in Recoleta needs to have a sign out that says, id you are over 5 foot 6, please wear protective headgear.


The 10 Commandments of Air Travel

On the way back from a recent trip to Argentina (blog post to follow), it occurred to me that many people just don’t understand the basics of considerate air travel. While I understand that many people don’t have the opportunity to be exposed to air travel as I am, I think that at some point common courtesy should kick in. After all, we’re all sharing the same small metal tube in the sky.
This lead me to write what I consider to be the 10 commandments of Air Travel.

1. Thou shall not recline thy seat (unless thou hast permission).

Ah yes, the age old question. To recline, or not? While I am a bigger human being (being 6′ 2″ does have its perks in other places), I have no problems with you reclining your seat – IF YOU ASK ME FIRST. I understand that YOU need to be comfortable – but what about me? I’m all for doing Yoga, but sitting for 12 hours like a lopsided pretzel isn’t that enjoyable.

2.Thou shall not wear strong scents

Ok, this may only be because I’m particularly sensitive to scents but if I can smell you 17 rows back and across both aisles then we may have an issue. Yes, ok, no one wants to sit next to someone that doesn’t have the most pleasant body odour for a long time but I also don’t want to sitting beside Elizabeth Arden’s ACTUAL PHYSICAL Red Door either. ALSO PLEASE LEAVE YOUR SHOES ON – I DONT NEED TO SMELL YOUR FEET FOR 12 HOURS.

3.Thou shall share the armrest with thy neighbour

We’re all on this journey through a tiny tube in the sky together, lets be kind and share. Space is at a premium, and I’m sorry but I don’t exactly want to meet my future partner because you and your giant chicken wing arms forced me to sit in their lap.

4. Thou shall restrict seat exiting to a minimum

I’ll let you have your bathroom break. Thats fine. I don’t want you to explode. BUT WHEN YOU GET UP ONCE AN HOUR TO GO TO THE BATHROOM THEN WE HAVE AN ISSUE. As much as I’m all for getting up and walking around (who wants to sit down for that long) but PLEASE, for the love of everything good in this world – IF this is an issue for you request an aisle seat. Then you save both of us grief.

5. Thou shall pack thine carry-on in an organized fashion

I know that things shift around during travel. But when you need to put your suitcase in the aisle to root around for that book that you put in the bottom left hand corner of your bag, COME ON. If you think you’re going to need something right away, put it on top! OR BETTER YET – Take it out at the gate! WHAT A CONCEPT!

6.Thou shall place thine carry-on close to thine seat. (Thou may only break this if explicily told by a flight attendant.)

Its easy, folks! You have room above your seat AND under the seat in front of you! WOW! WHAT SPACE! Plenty of space for you and the 17 suitcases you brought on the plane! I understand that other people do place their things in the wrong spot. But PLEASE try and keep your stuff close to your seat. Its easier for all of us.

7. Thou shall always watch thine body parts and bags. Especially when walking down the aisle.

As a person of slightly larger stature this is one of my biggest pet peeves. I understand that planes are tiny and cramped. All I’m asking is that you don’t smack everyone with your bag as you walk down the aisle. This goes for kids too. Yes, they’re hard to control. However, they’re tiny! Plenty of space for them to walk down the aisle without acting like a human pinball.

8. Thou shall only use the space allotted to you.

Your neighbour is not your pillow, nor do they want to smell your feet. I know everyone loses muscle rigor when they sleep and flop like rag dolls. If you need to fall asleep against something – the headrest does this nifty thing where it folds out and you can rest against that (side note: that wasn’t actually sarcasm). Also, please don’t go all crouching tiger hidden dragon – especially if you’re in the middle seat. I don’t need your feet in my face.

9. Thou shall not push the call button unless absolutely necessary.

If you have an issue – use it! Thats what it’s there for! But please, don’t make the plane sound like Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

10. Thou dost always respect the flight attendants.

My last point. Flight attendants have one of the most thankless jobs ever. They’re across between a Waiter/Concierge/Mom all without being tipped and being cramped in a tiny metal can for 12 hours. Be kind. Be polite. Say please and thank you. No, Im not trying to be your mother – but a little bit of kindness goes a long way. Trust me.