Very Argentine Problems

  • As a nation of Brits, we naturally hate confrontation and have an innate quality known as ‘phone fright’. So, when we want to communicate the most normal and socially acceptable thing to do is send a text or Whatsapp message. Well, not in Argentina it’s not. Why waste time typing away when you can send a voice note? There’s nothing better than hearing your own voice, trust me. Well, maybe don’t. But, it does save a lot of time and allows no room for misunderstandings. Just don’t be baffled when you see people talking into their phones in public. It’s very likely that they are voice messaging their madre’s to ask what’s for dinner tonight, not just conversing with a mobile device because they’re lonely and strange. Not that I ever thought otherwise..


  • Coffee is totally not a thing here. Ask for a black coffee and you’ll get it in a shot glass or slightly bigger if they’re feeling generous. But they’ll also charge you approximately £3 for it. “Americano o café doble?”. They’re exactly the same apart from the fact that an americano is smaller than a normal coffee. Tea? Forget it. Unless it’s their infamous maté, you ain’t getting no normal tea. Tea with milk? Hilarious. A glass of hot frothy milk with a side of teabag is what you should expect. And even if you don’t, that’s what you’ll get.


  • If you ask for a croissant, again, you won’t get a croissant. It’s almost as if we should stop asking for things we want because evidently that’s not how the Argentine life works. Anyway, this so-called ‘croissant’ is actually a medialuna. Literally translated as a half-moon. But it’s not soft and warm like you think, it’s actually just dry, cold and pretty bland (so I’ve been told).


  • There’s a legitimate mini-market called “25/7” and it closes at midnight. Just take a minute to let that sink in. I know, right?


  • On topic of buses and transport, finding the bus stop is beyond impossible. You’re most likely to wander the streets for half an hour looking for a visible sign but instead people will be pointing up to stickers on street lights where the bus number is hand written in soluble biro. If you see a queue it’s definitely a bus stop. They always queue politely. How sweet.


  • Need to be somewhere at a certain time? Firstly, time isn’t a concept. Secondly, buses don’t have timetables. Well technically they do, but they really don’t. Patience is key. Don’t be surprised if you’re standing hopelessly for 50 minutes and see 3 buses come at the same time. Once you’ve successfully boarded the bus, now it’s the guessing game of when to get off. There are no signs, or fancy LED lights that write “Next Stop:” and then say it out loud. Instead you just press the button and hope for the best. You’re very likely to get off a stop too early or late and walk an extra 15 minutes. It’s also very probable that foreigners and Argentinians alike will have Google Maps open, following the blue dot to their final pin-point destination (a year later and I still do this). No shame.


  • It’s normal to see people push their way past the busy commuters “permiso, permiso” heading towards the bus doors if they’re about to get off at the next stop. However, there’s a plot twist. They just don’t. It’s all a mind game. Everyone gets ready to get off, at least 2 stops before their anticipated destination and ask each other “bajas?” which means “are you getting off?”. But..why?


  • On certain days, specific buses decide to take different routes and there is absolutely no way you can find any information about this..anywhere. It’s just something you should to know. You’ll be heartbroken when you see your bus turn left before your stop but it’s your fault. You should’ve just guessed.


  • The underground closes at 10pm. Huh? Yes i’m from London and this is totally not okay.


  • Uber is uber cheap..unless it’s popular and in high demand…which it is. every. single. time.


  • No one is ever in a hurry. 45 minutes waiting for a coffee? No pasa nada! Shop assistants lack digital calculators and have to resort to the old-fashioned ways of adding everything up with mental arithmetics and you’re just there like………. hello……. maybe unlike you, I actually have commitments to fulfil and they’re just chatting, taking their sweet time…. no pasa nada..


  • Dinner is between 9-11pm with some people arriving at restaurants at midnight. Totally casual. Indigestion is yet to be a thing here.


  • Club’s get busy after 2:30am and close at around 7am. Great for those late nights. Maybe not so great for those early mornings.


  • They’re very catholic. You’ll see people signing the cross as they walk, drive or even cycle past churches (I can’t even cycle with one hand off of the hand-rail?).


Regardless of it’s lack of organisation and far from normal ways, I must admit; I would not change a single thing about it.

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