Memory Scrapbook

19th December 2007

More small differences between Argentina and home:

-An entire table of men in animated conversation will go completely silent when a woman walks by, in anticipation of checking out her ass once she passes.

-You have to ask for the check. In fact, you often have to get up from your table and go find your waiter so you can get the check. (This seems to be true everywhere but the U.S.)

-Everyone we meet is an artist.

-Bars have no last call, and nearly all of the women’s restrooms in bars have condom dispensers.

-This is the only place I’ve ever seen a roll of toilet paper hung on the wall next to the sink for use in drying one’s hands.

-In the grocery store, you have your vegetables weighed in the produce section. They put a tag on them so the cashier knows how much to charge you.

-Lowfat milk? No. Decaf? No.

-In our neighborhood alone, there are four car-washes that are also restaurants.

-You pay extra to sit outside.

-The napkins at many casual restaurants are like small squares of tissue paper.

-A burger “with everything” will come with tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, ham, and boiled or fried eggs on top.

24 thoughts on “Memory Scrapbook

  1. Leticia

    Ohhh…I’ve heard about the fried egg thing on the burger and have heard its DELICIOUS. Did you try?

    Also, what about the weather? Does it feel Christmas-sy over there?

  2. jessica

    Ah! “salad” and eggs on burgers! they do that in some cafes in Amsterdam as well. Really surprised (and by surprised, I mean disgusted) my husband! After that, he never assumed anything when ordering food, and ALWAYS asked what would be included ON his food. Personally – I loved eggs on my burger, but I was pregnant while living overseas, so my tastes were a bit…off. (I do plan on trying it again though when we get to go back next fall.)

  3. Charmaine

    Where in the city are you living? I spent almost a year in Bs As in 2001 and it was one of the best times of my life. Enjoy!

  4. Heather

    The whole egg and lettuce on a burger with the lot is pretty standard in Australia, too, I think it’s yummy. It’s pretty rare to have the bill brought to the table here as well (I’d actually find it almost rude if it was, personally, as if I was being hurried out or something), it’s generally a pay on the way out thing.

  5. heather

    Venezuela does the egg on the burger thing, too. I despise eggs, so always had to remember to say, “sin huevo” when ordering my late night drunken street burger.

  6. samantha

    i live in miami, so the ass-checking happens all the time here too. quite entertaining, until it’s you getting up to walk by. :)

  7. Jules

    I can see if they charged the men extra to sit outside because they can stare at all the ladies’ asses walking by (that would probably keep me in my seat the entire night, never moving until I was on my way out) but do they charge the women, too?
    House of Jules

  8. Allison

    Oh!! I love the car washes/restaurants. Combo businesses are my freaking favorite! I just moved to Mississippi and wouldn’t you know, there is a gas station/pharmacy/donut shop. My first thought was, Really? This was one of the first businesses I saw when we first arrived… and describes the town to a T. Another combo I love is the tanning salon/video store.

  9. Rose

    I lived in Rwanda this summer, and there was actually a car wash-slash-restaurant called… “The Executive Car Wash”

    It was fabulous.

  10. The Queen

    Have you found the car wash/whore house combo yet? That’s also a thriving business that I had was fascinated about. And that sloppy Joes are called sloppy José.

  11. MarkDM

    When I was in college (around the last ice age), the Twilight Room in Portland served a hamburger called the T-burger that had a fried egg on it, along with damn near everything else you could think of.

    And the napkin thing is true in Spain as well. Unabsorbent, almost entirely useless. That makes at least two entire countries full of restaurant patrons searching in vain for ways to get goo off their hands.

  12. Laura

    In my town in VA there is a restaurant that serves what they call a Cheesey Western — a dive diner burger with chili, cheese, mustard, onions and a scrambled or fried egg. You know, for those times you just need a light snack

  13. kimberly/tippytoes

    A car wash restaurant would be awesome! There is a gas station in Daly City where you can order fast food at the pump and they bring it out to you. I thought that was cool (even though I never used it).

  14. missbeegail

    Maggie – I am loving these observations from Argentina! I’m in Seoul right now and I could come up with a whole list as well. One thing that stands out right now is that housing, restaurants, stores, everything just seems to occupy a smaller space. The two bedroom my friend lives in is the size of most studio apartments in Chicago.

  15. Heather

    Here in the US – you can go to any Red Robin Restaurant and get a Royal Red Robin Burger that comes with the fried egg. It is MUY DELICIOUSO!

  16. Leah

    re: the check differences — I’ve got an Ecuadorian friend here in the states, and he was completely offended the first time a waiter dropped the bill at our table. Apparently, in Ecuador, if a waiter brings the bill without being asked, the customers wouldn’t have to pay for the meal, and the waiter would have to apologized.

    Dining is a completely different experience in countries where a good meal still actually costs a significant amount of money.

  17. Tami

    Maggie, have you tried Milanesas a caballo? Mmmm, I miss those! And I totally forgot about the produce weight and tag thing. Feliz Navidad!!

  18. Gry

    “-In the grocery store, you have your vegetables weighed in the produce section. They put a tag on them so the cashier knows how much to charge you.”

    That’s how we do it here too, and I’m in Finland :)

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