Things I Don’t Understand About Buenos Aires

I consider Buenos Aires, Argentina to be my second home. Since I have family here and was raised with the Argentine culture, I have a special connection with this city. I love it here and I plan on continuing to come back often. It feels great to be back but there’s a few things that just never change and still gets to me a little bit. To me, they seem like easy fixes but perhaps there’s more to it than the way I’m understanding it.

While I am complaining in this article, it’s also a lesson in the different values and priorities.

Why Doesn’t Anyone Ever Have Change?

The highest domination is the 100 peso bill. The ATM’s will always give you your money in 100 peso bills. Most allow you to take out one 50 pesos bill meaning if you withdraw 350, you get three 300 peso bills and one 50 pesos bill. You’re screwed if you ever want to buy a can of soda that costs 5 pesos. Small change is like gold here. Every kiosko, supermarket, chinos, and restaurant will always ask you if you have smaller change EVEN if they have the change. They don’t want to waste the little change they do have on someone that does have change.

I tried to buy a bottle a water that costs 4 pesos. I handed him a 10 peso bill. I couldn’t buy it because he didn’t have six pesos in change to give me. How does he even have a business? The guy told he hasn’t had change in three days. Seems to me he’s losing business by not having change.

Why don’t the ATM’s just give you smaller bills or least the option to?

 

Pesos
I collect as much change as possible. I treat it like gold. When someone asks me if I have change, I say nope. If they definitely don’t have change and I’m forced to take out mine, then I act surprised that I actually did have change when in fact I have loads of change.

Watch Your Step

The sidewalks of this city looks like they’ve been through war. It’s the worst when it rains because you have no clue whether you’re about to step in a puddle or not. The city isn’t even trying to repair it. Many of the sidewalks are broken and just left that way. Perhaps in these hard times there’s no budget to repair all of the sidewalks and I can understand that. But they’ve made no attempt whatsoever in repairing ANY street. The pieces seem to break off easily. I could take a full piece of the sidewalk and drop it a few feet high and it’ll break in half.

 

Buenos Aires Sidewalk
Where’s the sidewalk?

Graffiti on National Monuments

I can’t ever imagine someone getting close enough to the Washington Monument to spray paint it. You’d be arrested or shot faster than you can take it out of your backpack.

Even if I were very against the government, it seems disrespectful to tag national monuments. It’s not even nice graffiti either or anything with serious meaning. It’s usually a single curse word sometimes in english like Fuck or Shit. It looks ugly. And what surprises me more is that the city just leaves it there. They don’t bother repainting it.

If you’re going to tag a national monument, at least make it look cool.

Buenos Aires Monuments
Not the best example as this one has a little bit of a meaning. Descamisado literally means shirtless. Juan Perón and his wife Eva Perón affectionately referred their followers as “descamisados” as a term of pride. The background building is the Casa Rosada (executive mansion of Argentina).

 

January to March is Dead

Don’t even bother coming to Buenos Aires between January to March. Everyone heads south as the heat in Buenos Aires is unbearable. Most shops are closed for at least a month or have short hours. Sundays are the worst. The city looks like its been through a zombie apocalypse with not a single soul on the road. The only place that’s open year-round are the chino’s supermarket. The world could be ending but they’ll stay open till the end.

What I don’t understand is how so many businesses all at once can afford to take off for at least a month. My only assumption is that it’s preplanned every year and it goes towards their budget. Its like super break extending from school and into the work place. If I lived here permanently, I’d leave too. It’s too damn hot to do anything.

Buenos Aires

 

Too Much Salt!!

I saw this one lady pour salt for a solid two minutes into her salad. The city had to ban salt shakers from appearing at the tables automatically in restaurants because too many Buenos Aires residents have hypertension. You must now specially request salt only after you’ve tasted your food. They must really love their salt. To me, putting too much salt just takes away the taste of the actual meal. Chill out with the salt.

Am I missing anything else?

Michael Tieso

Michael Tieso travels around the world writing, photographing, and filming his adventures. He is the Editor-in-chief of Art of Adventuring.

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