8 weeks in Buenos Aires: Americans are overly polite

buenos aires y lluvia

Wow! The time really flies here. I can’t believe it’s been eight weeks. Here are a few new things I’ve noticed since I’ve been here. Hope you enjoy! ūüôā Free free to share any thoughts below!

Buying groceries means 3 trips instead of just one

Back home in Arizona, I’m used to making only one trip for all my groceries. However, here in Buenos Aires, I make three! Obliviously, not everyone does this but I find it to be more cost-effective to purchase meat from the butcher shop, bread from the bakery, and the rest of my groceries at the supermarket.

Americans are overly polite

Not everyone has said this but a few people I’ve met here have said that the Americans they know are overly polite and always saying “thank you” and apologizing too often. I think the difference may be that Americans tend to be more courtesy in their words and Argentinians with their actions. I am not saying this applies to everyone but this is my hypothesis for now.

Washing dishes by hands

I almost completely forgot that dishwashers exist til I thought about this the other day! In my homestay, and other Argentine homes I’ve visited here, you wash the dishes by hand and then dry them. I think it keeps the kitchen cleaner than having a dishwasher because you simply wash each dish after you use it(for me at least).

Bus lines are run by private companies?

I researched this on a superficial level and couldn’t find much ¬†but I believe private companies operate the bus lines. If you look closely on the inside of the bus, usually you’ll see the name of a company such as Empresa Tandilense S.A., which owns and operates line 152.¬†However, the government subsidizes the fares.

An unexpected surprise in Mendoza, Argentina

mendoza argentinaHopping on the bus at exactly 6:45pm Monday evening, I felt more than pleased with the turnout of the 4-day vacation in Mendoza, Argentina. However, little did I know I was in for a startling surprise.

After finding a comfy position in my seat on the top level of the bus, I made sandwiches out of small, fresh baguettes from the bakery with the most delicious deli-ham I’ve tasted in Argentina. My girlfriend Stacey and I ate them peacefully to settle our appetites for the extensive bus ride to the capital city.

About 20 minutes after we boarded the highway, the bus started slowing down until it came to a complete stop and we could no longer hear the engine. Unsure what was going to happen, we waited in angst, hoping the bus would be fixed soon and we would still arrive at 10AM the next day. 40 minutes later, our worries were eased and we continued back on the highway towards Buenos Aires.

As soon as the drowsiness started to weigh on my eyes almost, the engine died again an hour after the first time. There’s one difference though- this time the bus driver couldn’t¬†recharge the battery and start the engine.

Now normally, I wouldn’t be worried in this situation-sitting on a bus on the side of the highway, eating alfajores¬†while I wait for a new bus to come. Instead, it was the same situation but at 10 o’clock at night and we were in what looked like the middle of the nowhere, next to a mysterious house.

The bus driver did not mention anything to us passengers so we sat not knowing what was going on or what was going to happen. At that moment, I felt a little bit of fear due to my lack of knowledge as to when the next bus would come.

Dogs started barking from afar and everyone turned their heads to the empty patch of land on the right to figure out what was happening. I anxiously approached the window and looked left then right but saw nothing. I assumed that the dogs were barking at the bus drivers outside and returned to my seat.

I began to dose off when all of the sudden I heard a loud BANG on the side of the bus followed by the shattering of a window.

“Joe, what’s going on? I’m scared,” Stacey whispered to me as she grabbed my arm and pulled herself to my side.

“Don’t worry Stace, nothing’s going to happen,” I replied in a calm, soothing voice.

The adrenaline rushed through my body and fully awoken me. A dark-skinned Argentine man in overalls climbed up the stairs to the top level with a large, steel ax in his right hand. He had a fierce look of anger on his old, sun-warn face as he turned his head to look at all the passengers on the bus. No one said a word.

Then he locked his eyes on me. I wanted to look away but I simply couldn’t. He sent shivers of fear throughout the tips of toes and I froze in my seat. Without a second to think, he screamed out of rage and charged me with his ax ready to swing.

“Joe, wake up! The other bus is here. Come on.” Stacey said to me as she grabbed me to wake me up from my horrible nightmare.

The new, fully-charged bus arrived eight hours after our old bus broke down and we finally headed home without running into any other problems.

When we arrived at the bus terminal in Buenos Aires, I released a sense of cheerfulness through a big, bright smile to know that I was back home in Capital Federal and that I never actually encountered an angry old man with an ax.