Tag Archives: Buenos Aires

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.

Flying Over Buenos Aires

7th January 2008

Libby wanted to go skydiving for her birthday, but it wasn’t possible to arrange it, so we took a helicopter flight instead.

I had no idea. It was one of the most amazing things ever, one of those very few things in life that make you dream better. When the helicopter lifted off, it felt exactly how I imagine it would feel to have wings.

(If you plan to be in Buenos Aires any time soon, our pilot was Fernando Rodriguez Alfaro: fralfaros at hotmail dot com. Cellphone: 1551810095. Do it! Do it! You will love it.)

Travel Tips

3rd January 2008

We choose an outside table and order a couple of caipirinhas to battle the heat.

“Towels?” a street vendor holds up a handful of dishtowels for us to consider.
“No, gracias.”
Another visitor moments later,
“No, gracias.”

And so on every few minutes until a drunk man approaches and sways toward us.

“Can I have money for the bus?”
“No. Lo siento.”

My purse is sitting in my lap, and I feel uneasy. When the man leaves, I place it on the ground against the wall. The table and chair legs are substantial enough to block anyone who might reach and run from behind me. We chat for a while until a woman rolls up a large, janitor-style cart filled with small boxes.

“No, gracias.”
“But it smells very good, see?”
“No, gracias.”
“This one? Patchouli?”
No. Gracias.

She begins to wheel the cart away, and then stops suddenly. She leans in close to my girlfriend and mumbles something incoherent. My friend looks confused.

“What beaaaautiful earrings,” the vendor says. “So beaaaautiful.” She comes even closer to admire them.
“Uh. Thanks.”
My girlfriend and I exchange a look, and she’s on her way.

Oddly, she’s the last visitor we have that evening, though several vendors approach other tables. We finish our cocktails and when the bill arrives, I look down for my purse. Of course, it’s gone.

After some conjecture, we figure that it was most likely the incense woman. It would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for someone to grab it from the sides, so I’m fairly sure there was a child or small person hidden on the bottom of her cart who reached in between our legs from the front of the table and grabbed it. Whoever it was had a bit of difficulty (the purse was really crammed in there), and hence the prolonged and awkward earring admiration.


-About $100 in cash. Ugh.
-My gorgeous green wallet with bright pink interior that was a gift from my father in law.
-My very favorite, silver lamé clutch that I got for $2 at Goodwill. Irreplaceable.
-My notebook. My awesome Moleskine travel notebook filled with Argentina goodness.Ugh.


-The knowledge that, for the first time in about five years, I left the house without my camera. Suck it, incense lady.
-I am impressed enough by the thief’s skill that I didn’t punish myself for too long over stupidly putting my purse on the ground.
-Someone found some of my abandoned wallet contents the next day and emailed me, because most people are goodies.
-After four years of marriage and a child, I finally have the incentive to get a driver’s license and credit cards with my married name on them.

In conclusion, when in doubt, shove your purse up your skirt.