Memory Scrapbook

12th January 2008

More small differences between Buenos Aires and home:

-You leave your garbage on the curb in bags for pickup each afternoon.

-And yet, the garbage cans are wire boxes on poles, presumably so wild dogs and cats can’t reach the contents.

-I’ve seen at least three women in see-through white skirts wearing black G-strings.

-Milk for your tea comes steamed.

-Bookstores don’t have prices on the books, you have to ask.

-It’s unusually difficult to get change for large bills.

-They sometimes spray perfume on your purchases.

-Milkshakes are just milk blended with whatever flavor you’ve requested.

-At one local grocery store, there’s an express line for the pregnant and disabled.

-All the playground equipment here is still mildly dangerous. Working sea saws and merry-go-rounds, hard dirt ground so the pain shoots up your legs when you jump from the swing.

18 thoughts on “Memory Scrapbook

  1. Jules

    I’m fascinated by the idea of leaving garbage on the curb each day. I wonder what impact that has on the environment– whether people have more or less garbage or if it makes no difference at all other than keeping the inside of your own home clear of it. What a fast month it has been; welcome home!
    House of Jules

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  3. Stuperb

    Jules, I bet it results in more trash, because you don’t get a sense for how much is thrown away if it disappears each day.

    Not like the end of the week when you’re like, holy CRAP I made a lot of trash! and then you’re shamed into wasting less the next week :)

  4. RJM

    In my neighborhood in downtown Seattle, our garbage is handled by a company called Cleanscapes. You buy bags from them, fill them up, and leave them in the alley. They pick up three times a day. We get three types of bags, on for garbage, one for recycling, and one for compost (which includes all food scraps and paper and cardboard food packaging). They also pick up flattened cardboard. As a result, we have no dumpsters in our alleys, less garbage on the streets, less rats, etc. It’s great. They also do emergency on-call cleanup, like when somebody vomits on your doorstep. (And no, I don’t work for them). They operate in SF now, too, I’m told.

  5. Heather

    I wish our playground equipment was still mildly dangerous. There is so much more fun to be had on that stuff!

  6. Lori

    I am loving these random memories. I did the same thing when I traveled to Seoul a couple years ago — jotted down notes like “soy, but no decaf”, “what’s up with the facemasks?”, and “streets: SLIPPERY” on a piece of paper in my pocket. It’s really great to experience Argentina vicariously through you.

  7. marcia

    Of course, steamed milk…why is that not common practice here! I am going to start asking for it! I love the memory of the old steel slides, way to high for anyones safety. And, the thing you sit on, and grab the bars for dear life, while someone spins you in circles….then you get off and walk wonky for a minute! We found one in a park in a rural part of our state, and spun until we were all sick, kids and adults! Fond memory!

  8. T Grum

    In 5th/6th grade, I used to play on the merry-go-round during afternoon recess, well knowing that I would feel sick afterward. I would then complain to the teacher that I didn’t feel well and would be excused from school and get home in time to watch Dark Shadows. I only did this occasionally as I didn’t want to abuse my scam.

    This was in a small Nebraska town where 5th and 6th grade was combined in one room. And back when there was more freedom and everything didn’t require passes and signatures. Kids today are missing out with the nanny state we’ve developed.

  9. Tammy

    “At one local grocery store, there’s an express line for the pregnant and disabled.”

    Wow. This is truly the sign of an advanced culture. I’m packing my bags.

  10. Cameron

    Buenos Aires and Rhode Island (where I grew up) have something in common. Milkshakes are just that in RI, milk with some flavoring, shaken up. If you want ice cream in your milkshake, you order a Cabinet. No idea where the name came from and through all my travels and living in various other states, no where else does this strange little milkshake anomaly exist.

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  12. stacey

    hey, they do the wire-boxes-on-poles in costa rica, too. the whole time we were there, i wondered, “but how does the garbage truck take the garbage out?” sadly, i never saw the actual garbage collection, so i will never know.

  13. Sara

    I love taking notes of these differences too! In Guadalajara (MX), I remember writing, “‘No gracias’ is good enough,” “Everybody wants to bargain with the tourists,” and “Cabs = death traps.” Glad you enjoyed your travels! (And I also wish merry-go-rounds and see-saws still existed in playgrounds, despite the impending dangers.)

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