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Things I Could do Without in Buenos Aires

I absolutely love this city! And with extremely nice apartments in the city and nice beach side homes for around $60k, not to mention the amazing people I have been meeting, I will return to this wonderful place through out my life. However, there are some aspects of the city that just cannot be ignored. I would never say these things are deal breakers, but none the less, they must be respected or fall victim to the horrible consequences.

  1. My house has a “huge” backyard but I would venture a guess that most of the inhabitants of this city either have no backyard or only a very small one. None the less, A huge majority of the people in this city have dogs. Dogs of all sizes and the people enjoy walking their dogs. If they cannot walk their dog(s) there are many people offering dog walking services. It is a law here, as it is in California, that you have to pick up your dog’s feces just to make sure that you feel inferior to your four legged companion. But no one does it here. No one, and the few people I have seen will do an embarrassingly poor job to the point you can see them looking around after their attempt hoping no one saw them. This makes for some treacherous walking on the streets. It has not happened to me yet but last year I walked right into a nice warm one n my rainbow sandals which do not offer much in the way of side protection. A friend of mine, Parv, had a great idea which I am supposed to execute on but it might be difficult in my time left here. He thinks it would be hilarious, and I agree, to walk around and find the hot steaming piles growing ripe in the hot argentine sun, put on some big wellingtons, and wait until people were walking by and just purposely stomp hard into the animal feces. Of course this would be done repeatedly and video taped and compiled into a youtube video. Wellingtons are expensive here though, I looked.
  2. I came here during the summer months on purpose. I knew it would be hot but I enjoy warm weather. I bragged to people in the northern hemisphere that I was living the endless summer this year. But it rains here, and it rains more regularly than a southern california kid would like to deal with. But the rain is predictable and usually follows extreme heat and rolls in around early afternoon and ends early evening. But with this rain comes three sub issues:
    1. With reference to my first gripe above, the rain will wash the dog feces away off the sidewalks. Seems like a good thing huh? Well with the hot sun around here and thin O-zone layer, the sun actually will quickly encapsulate the feces in an outter crusty layer locking in any odors. The rain breaks this outer layer down and the streets are filled with a faint odor of dog feces which blends with other species of dog feces and makes for an outrageously horrible experience.
    2. Bike tracks and races close.
    3. Since the sidewalks are made from tiles many times and not straight cement, water will collect underneath the tiles. It has been raining all afternoon and you are ready to go out for a drink and have gotten all dressed up now the rian has stopped. If one of these tiles is loose and you wlak on it, the water underneath will squirt up and cover your lower pant leg giving you a horrible sensation and a chance to practice your spanish on why your pants are dirty.
  3. The people here have an extreme love for the sidewalk directly in front of their store or house. The sidewalks are never consistent and made from different materials since each house builds their own sidewalk. So in a blatant spit in the face towards water conservation, they are always hosing down their sidewalk to clear the dirt, dust, leaves, or dog shit. I think this is great except for the fact that the one problem I have with rainbows is that they become lethally slippery on wet tiled surfaces. Refer to the blog entry on how to deep fry a turkey to get an image of how I have fallen on the sidewalks here.
  4. It can be extremely hot here and of course people have air conditioners. You can look up and see a 20 story building with hundreds of these things dotted on the outside of the building. Definately not central air. And more to the point, no central drainage either. Each of these things will drip water from the condensation of the machine. Some palces have bottles collecting the water but others just let the water drip to the sidewalk. So as you are walking you will see puddles of water and you cannot step over them, you have to go around or get wet.
  5. Walking in general can be trecherous. I have mentioned the landmines and uneven sidewalks making sure you stare straight at the ground. At the same time you need to be looking ahead for the air condition puddles. Busses and taxis will drive very close to the sidewalks and although the horn is used liberally here, it can be very rattling to have a 20 ton object whisk by you only inches as you are trying to avoid the dog shit. The people here are really bad walkers as well and can be very frustrating for someone who likes to move fast in general.
  6. People seem cold at first, on the streets, and rarely say hello to you. Likely because they are looking out for the landmines and busses, and air conditioning puddles. However the people here go out of their way to help you and talk with you all the time and are very approachable at bars, restaurants, heladerias, and everywhere else. A simple question for directions will start a five minute conversation about life, the universe, and everything in it.
  7. My double bed really being made from two single beds that are exceedingly “single” and linked with a very thin mattress top. I miss my california king memory foam mattress pad, I should have brought that.
  8. The guy at retiro who is convinced my bike box wont fit in a taxi and refuses to help me. So then I wavemy own taxi down and then when I am about to leave, demands his tip, and when I refuse to pay he starts to unload the bike box. I yell at him and he threatens me and I finally just give him my 60 cents. Apparently these people are mob related and next time I will just pay my 60 cents without arguing.
  9. Inconsistent internet and slow upload speeds.
  10. People telling me that the people here are not friendly and everything is dangerous. They are obviously doing something wrong as I have only had good experiences.
  11. Busses that only accept monedas and not cash and will kick you off the bus even if you try to tip the guy 5 times the amount of the fare.
  12. Clubs that kick you out for peeing in the girls bathroom because I did not see the little picture of a woman out front. I did think it was wierd that there were no urinals at that club. I did put the toilet seat down however.

Having said all that, I love this city more than most!

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