I have now been in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for just over 24 hours and already I have seen many things I have never seen before in all of my travels.
However, before I come to that I want to briefly mention something that happened at Heathrow Airport. We saw Jamie Oliver boarding a flight to Brazil (first class!), presumably to film something for TV. We didn’t get his autograph, but my sister did get a tweet from him.
Moving on to the purpose of this post, here are five things that have made an impression on me during my first day in Argentina. Unless otherwise specified, any pictures were taken by me.
Buenos Aires is a fascinating mix of old and new buildings. Like any city, the run-down neighbourhoods in the suburbs contrast with the shining facades in the city centre.
The city has many European style buildings which are remnants of Spanish occupation, which ended exactly 200 years ago this week. In these parts you could just as easily be in Madrid or Barcelona.
There is also the more modern districts, where the towering skyscrapers and high rise apartments are not unlike what we saw in Tokyo last year.
Argentina is renowned for is beef, so naturally we headed to a restaurant with an extensive steak menu. I never knew that a cow had so many parts. The meal we had was nice but not spectacular, although it is just one restaurant out of many so I can’t pass judgement on Argentinian food yet.
One thing that is surprising is how late people eat here. The restaurant we ate at only opened at 8pm, and by the time we finished at 10pm most people were only arriving.
Apparently dinner can be as late as 11pm here, a definite cultural difference that will take some getting used to.
Also, I won’t count McDonalds as proper beef, but they sell the largest Big Macs I have ever seen! I haven’t even seen that large in the USA.
Even from a single car journey from the airport I have got the impression that driving laws are taken with a pinch of salt here. We were driven to our accommodation in a car that did not have enough seatbelts for all of us and of course I ended up being the sacrificial lamb! Scenes from various DOE adverts played through my mind, not helped by the fact that the driver was on his phone most of the time.
It is not as bad as India though. At least in Argentina our car had doors.
The same sense of apathy towards rules applies to pedestrians. There are traffic lights, but they are largely ignored and it seems to be a free for all.
All in all, it’s been a day and I’m still in one piece, so perhaps I should lighten up a bit.
Something I can’t get over is that you buy milk in bags, which seems bizarre. Apparently this is how milk used to be sold at home as well. I am too young to remember such things…
5) Dog Poo!
Generally the streets of Buenos Aires seem to be quite tidy but I was warned by guidebooks that there is a real problem with dog fouling. They weren’t kidding. I will spare you from seeing a picture for this one, instead I will link to an interesting article on the topic from CityLab.
Overall, I’m looking forward to what else I’ll discover on this trip!