3 things you never see down here, 3 things that aren't the same, and 3 things I am going to miss back in the States! (If I have to crunch it down to 3 of each.)
Things you never see in Argentina:
1) stop signs.
Its first come first serve down here. If the road is busy, the cars, busses and motorcycles play a giant game of Tetris to see how they can fit. I'm still not sure if there are speed limits, taxis don't have seat belts, and pedestrians in no way have the right of way. I'm not trying to scare you mom, even though it seems like there is no system or organization to me, everyone down here seems to know what to do! Lets just say it’s a very good thing that no driving is one of the four D's, or I would certainly crash.
2) girls running.
And my siesta runs have become one of my favorite routines down here. The weather right now here in Formosa is perfect for a good run, and while the air is thick and will likely get thicker as the year goes on, I've begun to love just getting out and exploring... but so far it's just been me and the men out there. In fact, as far as sports go- there are not many options for girls. As far as I can tell it's dancing (which is my 'gym' every Mon. and Wed.), volleyball, and swimming. My soccer cleats are getting lonely:(
3) babies. Okay, we have babies in the states too... but not babies on scooters. Here it's not uncommon to see a mom and dad driving a motorcycle with a little baby just sandwiched in between for the ride. This isn't something I'm judging either- for many of these people the cost of transportation any other way just isn't an option. Even for me, the cost of the taxi ride to school every morning is starting to take a hit. While taxi fees are not even CLOSE to what they are in the states, I end up dishing out two bucks each ride. Good thing my school has so many days off!
things that are just different here.
Papayas, mangos, oranges, bananas, grapefruit, pineapple, you name it. SOO fresh.
I’m not sure if it is the Argentine culture or if, since apparently some 2/3 of the population are from Italian descent, the credit should go to Italy... but between exaggerated hand motions, tones, and facial expressions- it is not ever too hard to tell exactly how someone is feeling. Even from a block away. This has been fun since for the most part this is one of the happiest cultures I have ever known.
I know I've said this before, but I can't stress enough how different it is! I have yet to have a full week of class, in fact I have yet to even have four consecutive days of class! Next week is no exception either, Tuesday is 'the day of the student' (one of the many school-related celebrations in September) and we all have the day off. Ahh Argentina:)
things we don't have back home (and that I'm going to miss dearly!)
1) yerba mate. One of Argentina's most traditional customs, more popular than tango and cheaper than a good steak, can be served in two ways: mate or tereré. To drink mate, simply poor hot water over the grassy herbs. For tereré, fix ice water, lemonade, tang, whatever you want and again, pour over the glassy herbs. Top either off with a metal spraw (spoon/straw), friends and/or family and enjoy! The result is a refreshing herbal tea of sorts with a bitter taste that has grown on me to the point of addiction.
2) siesta time.
This is Argentina's nationwide naptime! The actual siesta varies in length and hours, but generally takes place after lunch in the early afternoon. For many of my friends here, they can hit the sack from 1 till 5/6 on days when there isn't gym or something going on. I, on the other hand, cannot nap (which has kind of turned into a bit of a curse in a nocturnal culture like Argentina's) but it is still a part of my life down here I am going to miss. Especially when I am crunching to finish my term paper for college and am trying my hardest NOT to drift into a siesta!
3) cumbia music!
This music (which is blasted from restaurants, cars, cell phones, gas stations, you name it) takes on a "che, che-che che, che-che che, che-che..." rhythm is super popular down here. I'd also like to clump reggaeton and salsa into this category and warn my future room mate that a fair share of my itunes library next year will have incredibly fast, sexy Spanish lyrics!
Note: the popular American music down here has such a funny variety: Lady Gaga, Guns N' Roses, John Lennon, Greenday, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are some of my friends' favorite artists.
There are sooo many more differences that I could list, I just thought 3 was a good number. I still can't believe that all of this is real! I'm off to La Fiesta del Pomelo, or the Grapefruit festival! Formosa is known for having some of the best grapefruits and in true Argentine fashion, that calls for a fiesta! So I'm headed out to Laguna Blanca for a night of live music, dancing, and of course food to kick off this weekend's festival. We are going to dance 'hasta la madrugada' meaning until we see the sun in the morning. So lets see: fresh fruit, music, and staying up all night...yup, looks like I'm in Argentina!
besitos a todos-