01 October 2008

Some Differences Between The EE-UU and Argentina #3

34. Sometimes, when you walk on the sidewalk, the sidewalk moves along with you.

35. Based on the number of pregnant women I see everywhere, birth control isn't real popular.

36. In America you have to pay to get groped by a bunch of people at once but in Buenos Aires you just have to ride the Subte

37. There's jugs of water on the roofs of cars when people are trying to sell their old jalopies (sorry Dave, I stole this one from you)

38. Women in their mid-30's still live with Mom, or their sister, and even grown men don't necessarily pay their own rent

39. Many Porteños that work in companies receive food stamps for restaurants and supermarkets

40. There's a kiosco that sells teen porn right in front of the colegio nacionál, the national high school.

41. Screwing the system often means screwing you

42. Kids smoke pot on the front steps of their parents' apartment

43. Unlike in American cities, cigarettes, beef and gasoline are incredibly cheap

44. Argentines don't treat their dogs like people

45. Like watching futbol, having babies is a national pastime

46. Non-smokers are the minority

47. Overweight, monolingual, white American dudes are exotic here

48. Pedestrians never have the right of way

49. Every Argentine I've talked to wants Obama to win, not just them crazy liberal elitists

50. Instead of hanging out with friends or family for a few hours, people hang out for up to ten hours at a time, and even more miraculously, they don't get sick of each other

51. I've heard more 80's music since I've arrived than I did in all of my life as a 80's child

52. The water here does terrible things to your skin

53. In Buenos Aires, eating at Burger King is considered cool, and even stranger, there's a merienda and a China menu

54. Porteños have no idea what spicy means, nor what real Thai food is

55. When you order salads, you get a lot of cheese, and then maybe a little lettuce for contrast

56. I've talked to enough Porteños to confirm this sneaking suspicion, but no one knows I'm American here. Well, at least not until I talk

57. Even with americanismos like locker, yoga, living and back-up, if you don't say them with a Spanish accent, no one will understand you. And if you get angry and say something like: listen motherfucker, these are my words, you bitches stole this shit from me, you'll get the same blank stare you got when you said the above words without a Spanish accent. Not that I've tried that or anything. But if I had. . .

58. It's actually forbidden by law for women to wear anything except boots or converse all-stars

59. Argentines like to blame a lot of their physical ailments on Asado.

60. When you tell the waiter you're done with your food, this doesn't imply you want the check the way it does in America

61. It's impossible to tell how old a woman is by the back. I can't tell you how many 60-year old women I've seen with banging bodies, only to discover once I've gotten a good look that she's older than my mom

62. People stare shamelessly and they don't feel bad about it when they do

63. In the subways, people plop shit on your lap hoping you'll buy it. And the crazy thing is, it works sometimes


Katie said...

LMAO @ 57. Your whole list is funny and rings fairly true, but that one in particular struck me funny. On the flip side, think about how many foreign words have been become a part of standard English (and how badly we massacre those!).

miss tango said...

In 2005 there was a huge baby boom, people could finally feel they could start a family and manage to feed their kids.
Abortion is illegal her, but is done off the books. It is astounding at the teenage pregnancies though despite the availability of birth control.

And yes, people in their thirties still live with mom. It is awfully hard to come up with the down payment when you live in pesos. And your savings was stolen from you. In my ex-novio´s and his sisters case around 30,000 USD each. How long will it take for them to resave that amount when you earn less than 3000 pesos a month?
Plus to rent you need at least 4 months rent. First and Last, plus minimum 2 months commission (sometimes more)which goes to the real estate agent, for a two year contract. Plus you have to pay for all the repairs that occurs, municipal taxes and building fees. Then at the end of two years...you get to pay it all over again :) YAY! Fun! Living with mom and going to the telo for the occasional romp is a much more economical way to live.

JACKSON BLISS @ 水と魂 said...

Thanks Katie. Of course that's true, I'm constantly getting on people's case about butchering foreign words all the time.

Hi Miss Tango, I appreciate your comments and agree with you. Of course, you're preaching to the choir because my students have told me the same things themselves many times. Nevertheless, despite the legitimate economic reasons why there's lots of mommas' boys, they're still mommas' boys. And I do think it's funny that you see so many macho guys who still live with mom. And it's not just Argentina: it's Spain, it's Lima, it's Colombia. It's Latin American in general. I totally understand but also find it slightly strange in terms of the politics of gender.

miss tango said...

On the flip side...their mamis probably want them to stay at home, especially if they are alone, without a husband. It is probably a feeling of vulnerability if they do not have a man in the house.

Kari said...

ok, I agree with some of these stuff..but what you can find great bargains at the subway, This is my list:
-Guia T
-Good scissors
-12 crayons
all for $2 each! Thas no shit at all!

JACKSON BLISS @ 水と魂 said...

Miss Tango,

Yes, I think you're definitely right about that. And to be honestly, I found that sort of touching.


Way to stick up for subway vendors! No seriously, I was using shit in the strict hip-hop sense of the word, as a substitute for stuff. Like in the sentence:

--What kinda shit you buy at the supermarket?
--Pears, plums, doritos and 2 bars of chocolate.

I promise you, this isn't necessarily bad shit, just shit. It's stuff, that's all. I agree with you, some of the shit in the subway is kinda cool: I bought a guia-te for my novia, and I've seen some useful stuff like scissors and pens. But I've also seen real shit (in the non hip-hop sense of the word) like those cheesy I LOVE YOU valentine's cards, broken hair pins, bootlegged CD's, suction-cup handles that stick to the ceiling, and the world worst teeth-rotting candy you can imagine.

So, you know how the dicho goes: one man's shit is another man's shit. You feel me?

Tina said...

In Italy a mamma's boy is called a 'mammone' and it is a very very common thing there too. Of course, for economic reasons first and foremost, but also many other things factor in. But it's in just about any Latin country for sure!

About #40, I always found it interesting that the porn is always on the bottom shelf where kids can reach, while the G-rated Kids stuff is way on top, where the kids can't reach! Where is the logic in that? ha ha

JACKSON BLISS @ 水と魂 said...

Funny but true tina. Funny but true.

I guess Argentina would rather have pervs than thieves.

martita said...

Hey Jackson
I loved and could relate to pretty much all the 'differences'... I'm forwarding this to some of my friends. One I can so definitely relate to is #54. My friends just don't get that although I'm "spanish" (one of my pet peeves!! I can't ever hold back from quipping "did you mean by that 'hispanic'"?) as an Argentine I don't know spicy!! I'm a spice wimp...!!! I just can't stomach it! I'm argentine by birth but raised for the most part in NYC (been back and forth a bit over the years) I live in glorious Asheville NC (guess what? They call this town the Paris of the South,too!) and loving it every minute.
I miss some aspects of Arg (the FOOD!!!!!!! the FASHION!!! My aunt & cousins and nieces!!!) , but not the dog poop, colectivos and the pushing and shoving. Oh and I'm american as apple pie when it comes to pets... I have a Pug and a Tibbie and they are my spoiled brats!
Thanks for the laughs and the nostalgic wish-i-could-be-there moments.

JACKSON BLISS @ 水と魂 said...

Hola Martita!

Great hearing from you. I'm happy to know that my blog is Argentine-American approved.

It's strange because I'm NOT latino but god I love spice. Sometimes I have daydreams about Thai spice and it makes me cry.

Blessings and besos to you in NC.

El Paparulo said...

Even with americanismos like locker, yoga, living and back-up, if you don't say them with a Spanish accent, no one will understand you. And if you get angry and say something like: listen motherfucker, these are my words, you bitches stole this shit from me, you'll get the same blank stare you got when you said the above words without a Spanish accent. Not that I've tried that or anything. But if I had. .

Yoga es yanki?
Mierda, el imperialismo cultural es terrible.
Que mas quieren eh?
Ahora destrozan el tango tambien?
Mai Gad!!!

Anonymous said...

34. True
35. True, but we're ONLY 40 million in the 8th biggest country in the world. And they're all legal, and if some of them are from bordering countries, they just will be well received due to our Patria Grande programme. On the other hand, America has 20 million illegal immigrants and birth control isn't that popular, too.
37. Lol, this is true
38. People in their mid-30's still living with Mum happens because in Argentina in order to buy a house you HAVE to pay it cash, and do you know an Argentinean who has USD 200,000 in their wallet? They must be just the 0,1 % of the people
45. 'Having babies is a national pastime' again in the same post sounds a little bit racist, like when Americans say: 'They come here by the hundreds and use our NHC, and have lots of children'. Maybe those comments are American pastime, too.
46. true
50. False. Only people who dont work do that.
52. True in BA only. Water tastes differen in Santa Fe, and it tastes different in ER. Look for the good one.
53. BK is less 'grasa' than McD. McD is like watching MTV, and BK is like Much Music.
54. False, while in BA I eat the best Mexican, Thai, Japanese food. Maybe you know the wrong ppl.
57. The same happens to me when Americans say: Los Angeles, San Diego, Hacienda, and mainly Cafeteria. It's like WTF?
59. True, but it's just a joke to try to be cool, but they fail.
60. True
61. Argentine women are obssesed with physical beauty, there are ads about fucking yoghurts all the fucking time and I hate that, man.
63. True, but you dont have to say 'yes'

JACKSON BLISS 水と魂 said...

Dear Anonymous,

The only thing I wanted to say is this: I don't have the budget to try every Mexican, Thai + Japanese restaurant in BsAs, but this I can unequivocally: besides the Japanese cultural center, where I found the food to be very good, Asian food + Mexican here is just plain bad. I'm sorry. It's bad.

Mexican: Look, my mom lives north of San Diego + S. of LA, and I've eaten Mexican food there at least a 1,000 times (not to mention having been to Mexico at least 15 times), so I have some authority on this one. The Mexican food here is wack. I'm sorry. 1. A lot of places here their chicken, which is strange. 2. The homemade salsa isn't homemade, and isn't spicy. 3. Where' the fucking Guacamole? 3. The CA Burrito Factory doesn't count! 4. In a real authentic Mexican restaurant, there should be 2-3 three salsas caseras (half of which will be hot as hell), several types of beans, homemade tortillas, free tortilla chips, horchata, jamaica + so much more. That's just not how Mexican joints are here. And every person I've talked to who actually knows Mexican food cries when I bring up this sore subject.

With Japanese + Thai food, maybe I'm spoiled because I've eaten at some of the best restaurants in the world in Chicago, New York, Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco, LA, Seattle, San Diego, Atlanta (I could go on and on) but the truth is, the Japanese/Thai restaurants here in BsAs don't stand a fucking chance. Don't get me wrong: Osaka is pretty damn good, but it's superexpensive. Ditto with Sud Estada, good, but not Thai, and not cheap. The big difference is that in North Ameria + Europe, there are a plethora of delicious, relatively healthy and cheap Asian joints. So many more than I can possibly count. Brooklyn alone probably has more (and certainly better) Thai restaurants than all of Argentina.

I have to ask this question that sounds obnoxious but I don't mean it that way: are you used to the real thing? Because when I eat Thai in America, the owners are Thai, and they know how to tear shit up in the kitchen. I went to one Thai restaurant in Las Cañitas, and the cooks and owners were ARGENTINE. That's wrong. Granted, some Japanese places in North America + Europe aren't Japanese, but many of the best ones are. And even the mid-range Japanese restaurants can serve better washoku than the vast majority of Argentine ones because of the massive Asian immigration in America--one of many things I'm superproud of as an American. Lastly, I'm part Japanese, my mom and grandmama were both born in Japan, so I'd like to point out that I KNOW my Japanese food. And putting canned tuna (or cream cheese) in your maki is not only sacrilegious, but it doesn't taste as good as the real thing on any level.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jackson, sorry my english, im learning it ;).

I think that it is not fair to compare ethnic food of Argentina with the american ones. In Argentina there are not enough foreigners to make good original recipes. We don't have 10 millions mexicans living here or 2 million polish, or 5 million thai etc. You can't expect better ethnic food here and most time those kind of restaurants aren't even owned by people from those countries.

Ethnic food is relative new here, maybe because of the same reason i said above.

saludos :)

Mariano de Capital.

PD: a correction, in your blog i have seen many "el capital federal", you have to leave "el" out, we just say "capital federal"

JACKSON BLISS 水と魂 said...

Mariano del Capital,

I agree with you. Except, I want to say this: I think it's completely fair to compare two cultures, especially since it's the two cultures I know the best right now. I just don't think it's fair to expect these two cultures to be the same, nor do I think it's fair to be upset because Argentina isn't America, and vice-versa. I admit, multiculturally, I've been spoiled. But I think BsAs has a ways to go before it can match the ethnic food paradise that European and N. American cities have in abundance. As a vegetarian, this matters to me!