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Notes on Buenos Aires

Tomb in Recoleta Cemetery

Tomb in Recoleta Cemetery

Here’s a few things I’ve noticed in the last few weeks of living in Buenos Aires.

  1. There is a shortage of coins and people guard their change jealously. You won’t make many friends by giving a large note for a small purchase.
  2. The Subte (subway) is a bargain at AR$1.1 per trip (about 20p).
  3. I still don’t know why the same people who push you out of the way to get off the Subte can’t walk on the escalators. And there’s no ‘fast lane’ like the London tube.
  4. The menu ejectivo (at lunch) is normally the best value meal of the day.
  5. The per-capita consumption of fizzy drinks (gaseosas) must be astronomical. Many people will go through a 2l bottle at lunchtime by themselves.
  6. Taxi drivers are in a race with everyone. All the time. At least you can’t accuse them of spinning out the journey.
  7. Why would you do your own washing when you can get a basket of clothes washed and dried for AR$8?
  8. By European standards meat is amazingly cheap. And excellent quality.
  9. Local chocolate is awful. Imported chocolate is expensive.
  10. Plain yogurt (of any variety) is pretty much impossible to get. Everything is flavoured. The closest to plain is ‘natural’ yogurt – with added sugar.
  11. Service at cafes and restaurants is usually slow. It’s fine when you want to spend all afternoon there, but that’s not always the case. And is it too much to ask to have dirty plates cleared from the table?
  12. Be prepared to queue. And queue. And queue. Standing in a supermarket line can bring you to tears.

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