Posted by: Jena Davison | October 9, 2009

Some Observations

Some quick observations from my last two days here in Buenos Aires:

1) There is a HUGE problem with money exchange here. Not from U.S. dollars to Argentine pesos, but rather large Argentine peso bills to smaller ones. The ATMs spew out large bills and then no business wants to give you a lot of change if you buy something small. For instance, I went to the supermarket to pick up some food with Heather and only had a $100 (Argentine peso) bill, but the total cost of my groceries was $22. The woman asked me if I had something smaller and I said no so she asked me if I could buy more and I said no. Eventually she just acted all pissed and rolled her eyes at me and gave me the proper change. Then Heather wanted to buy a water, and the woman would not let her because her bill was too large. So I paid for it instead. Also, earlier, Heather bought something and the guy actually charged her 1 peso less so that he didn’t have to give her more change. Pretty ridiculous.

2. Yesterday Heather warned me that dog walkers here are a sight to see. Today I came upon my first encounter with one. The woman literally had 25 leashes wrapped around her two wrists, making up a huge pack of dogs that pretty much took up the whole sidewalk. I have never seen anything like it before. Also, people just leave their dog’s poop in the streets here, so as you walk, you need to be on constant lookout for dog poop and maneuver your way around it. However, the city does clean the streets every morning, washing away the feces and other dirt.

3. Road rules do not apply here. I am pretty sure I almost witnessed 20 or so car accidents my first day here. I pray that I don’t get run over by a car every time I cross the street.

4. The men here are absolutely beautiful. I sat in a park in Palermo yesterday afternoon and was literally drooling over all the gorgeous men passing by. I do not understand how it’s possible to have so many good-looking men in such a small radius. As Cuk says, it is as if even the most average-looking guy here would be considered one of the hottest guys at home.

5. The girls here love growing their hair extremely long. Like down to their butts. I didn’t notice it at first, but now that someone pointed it out to me, I see it everywhere.

6. Everyone is super friendly. I survived my first subway ride alone yesterday and three different people offered to give up their seats for me on the extremely crowded “subte.” I turned them all down, but was so surprised by their generosity, something completely foreign to me coming the New York City area.

7. Everyone greets and bids farewell with a single kiss on the cheek, even strangers. A computer technician came to fix the Internet in the apartment here and I did not exchange any words with him, but was sitting on the couch. I was taken aback when he came over to me and gave me a kiss on the cheek before he left.

8. Buenos Aires is very big and metropolitan. Though I can’t pinpoint what my exact expectations were, I feel as if it is completely different than what I imagined. For one, I thought it would be way more colorful, but I have yet to see that side of it. The buildings are very tall and beautiful in most of the areas I have been to and it is also pretty green for a city. The streets are lined with trees and I have seen lots of open green spaces and parks. When I walked around Palermo Viejo/Palermo Soho yesterday before heading to the city center, it felt as if I had been in two different cities. Palermo is very funky and has cobblestone streets lined with outdoor cafes and more colorful storefronts. The buildings are lower and it felt more quaint and artsy. However, when I got off the subway at the city center, my mouth was literally agape and how different it looked. The buildings towered above me and there was so much more hustle and bustle. It actually strangely reminded me of Barcelona, which is funny because Daniel (my friend from the airport) said that Barcelona reminded him of Bs As, but when I was walking around Palermo I was thinking to myself that it felt and looked NOTHING like Barcelona, only to retract my thought later on.

Yesterday, after walking around Palermo,  I went to Plaza Mayo, which is the main plaza in the city center and where the Casa Rosada (The Pink House, like the White House) is located. Many of the protests are held in that square because it is in the business district and that is where the President lives. There was an art installation in the plaza commemorating the Argentine soldiers who lost their lives in the war with Britain over the Falkland Islands. It was hundreds of wooden crosses suspended from a rod on clear strings with bouquets of flowers attached to each. We also went to Puerto Madero, which is a port along the river and there are many restaurants along the water there. We crossed over a white, modern-looking bridge to the other side and got some lunch as well.

Today we went to the Latin American Art Museum (MALBA), which houses some famous modern art by Latin American artists. I do not know much about Latin American art, but it was definitely an interesting museum, with many unique pieces of art that incorporated lots of different shapes and materials (metal, glass, fabrics, etc.). I saw Frida Kahlo’s famous Self-Portrait with Monkey and Parrot and Diego Rivera’s Portrait of Ramon Gomez de la Serna, among others. Afterwards, we walked around for a while in a really pretty section of the city. I’m not sure what the neighborhood is called, but it was where a lot of the foreign embassies and beautiful apartments are located. Today and yesterday both were gorgeous weather-wise and I’ve enjoyed spending so much time outside.

Tonight we are going out on the town and I’m really looking forward to seeing Buenos Aires by night. I have heard that the nightlife here is very fun, but does not get going until 2am or so. Looks like I’m in for a long night!



  1. I loooooove reading about your experiences. The part about your technician kissing you cracked me up! With so many hot guys and the intimate salutations, I’m sure there will be more great stories to come! Love you.

  2. omg jena that post brought back so many memories from adjusting to the craziness in bsas! keep having so much fun and of course keep writing. i miss you so much xoxoxox

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