13 December 2008

Some Differences Between The EE-UU and Argentina #4

64. Traffic lights turn yellow for a second before turning green, like they're saying "On your mark, get set. . . "

65. It's a fine line between animal cruelty + tough love for dogs here. Here are a few examples: one morning when I was walking to the Subte, I watched an owner who grew impatient with his dog and finally just lifted the poor animal into the air by its collar, carrying him across the street with its little legs dangling. Another time, I watched a pasador (dog walker) try to carry a disobediant pooch on its back, it's paws flailing madly. And that dude was in charge of taking care of other people's pets. Later I discovered that in order to make as much money as possible, pasadores take on way more dogs than they can handle, then they tie them to metal railings or benches or lamp posts, and then they walk them in smaller groups, often in the middle of a busy street. And one time, LB and I were talking to her Argentine cousin about Zoe, our Shia-Poo, when she finally told us "No la tratés a Zoe como un humano," (don't treat your dog like a human--which is exactly what Americans do). The irony of course is that Ines, LB's cousin is studying to be a veterinarian.

66. Hinchas will actually kill you for wearing the wrong football jersey. I saw this first hand in Boca when a bus full of San Lorenzo soccer fanatics started stabbing people in the streets. Okay, I exaggerate to prove a point. But you really can die for wearing the wrong colors; it's like gangland, only with soccer

67. Tights pants + short skirts = corporate garb, not necessarily a statement of sexual liberation at all

68. On a related note, I seriously doubt that the term "sexual harrasment" even exists in the workplace

69. In America, men with long hair = surfer dude or rock star. Here it means soccer hero. Not only that, but I've seen men with long hear wearing head bands, which is culturally forbidden in the US

70. Americans don't know how to hide their nationality sadly (e.g. shorts, bad language skills, baseball caps, Tevya sandals, t-shirts with the names of NBA teams and universities on them, random shouts of "USA! USA! USA!"). Argentines, on the other hand, don't want to hide their nationality. For example, LB and I could spot the Argentines a mile away at Machu Picchu in February: they were the loudest of all the South Americans, they smoked every chance they got, even at Machu Picchu (our Guía scolded them for it), they wore scarves, even when it was hot, and they pranced around in high fashion to hike through dusty trails and rotting vegetation. Not to mention you heard a "che, boludo" every two seconds.

71. A guy sleeping with a prostitute seems about as taboo going to McDonald's: two things that are culturally verboten in progressive circles back home

72. In the subway, most commuters don't move away from each other the first chance they get

73. Stop signs don't mean anything, or if they do, they simply mean just go

74. Lines are a fact of life: lines for the ATM machine, lines for the colectivo, lines that go on for four blocks for the first Madonna show

75. Porteños don't cover their mouth (or their nose) when they sneeze. It's amazing

76. What's beautiful about Buenos Aires is also what makes it a bad fit for those with a weak stomach. Everything is in your face: for example, sometimes, beggars will line up (see #74) in the Subte at Congreso de Tucuman. The first person will be a man without arms asking for change (he collects change with a neck bag, in case you're wondering). Then a blind person will walk through all the cars, bumping into you. Then a woman carrying two passed-out children in her arms. Finally, a burn victim with all of her face melted and a small strand of hair sticking out of the back of head will make the rounds. And that's before the subway has made it to Plaza Italia

77. Canvassers do this weird snapping thing with the paper to get your attention

78. The sexual criteria for beauty and success are different here than in the States. In the US: men are supposed to be handsome, hard-working and hopefully wealthy. Here they just have to be tall, charming and funny.

79. Loneliness + boredom is far worse for Argentines than being overstimulated, claustrophic and stressed out

80. Sometimes in the morning, we hear the sound of a horse trotting down our street

81. Mullets are not ironic in Argentina, and even chicas have them

82. 16-year old girls look and act like 30-year olds, and 60-year old women have (fake) tits like 16-year old girls.


Devin said...

Jackson I am so glad to have found your wonderful blog-I could not agree more with #65 I treat my cat just like a human and my brothers dog like one also. Point number 70-very well taken-I hate the way so many Americans parade their nationality as if it is the best thing since sliced bread! Personally I am ashamed of my nationality at times-especially in regards to the way the US treats other countries. Best as always to you from Arizona!

JACKSON BLISS @ 水と魂 said...

Thanks Devin. It's nice hearing from you. I know what you mean.

Ironically, when I find people with a more objective + well-thought appreciation of American culture, I find that very refreshing, as long as it's not a defense mechanism or a product of ethnocentrism. When I meet someone who can concede the good and bad things of say, both Argentine and American culture, I appreciate that because both countries have their drawbacks, and to pretend either that Argentina or America is an antidote for each country's deficiencies, is kinda absurd to me. It's just about what feels right to us right now, which can change.

Devin said...

Thanks so much for your comments, Jackson-could not agree with you more-my sometimes bf and I worry sometimes about him being deported-he is here undoc-if u know what I mean. Half Mexican and half Venezuelan-extremely handsome-I have always loved the way hispanic people look though-both the men and the women. Best to you from Arizona-and I must find out what music is playing when I come to your site=that is beautiful! :-)

JACKSON BLISS @ 水と魂 said...


Best of luck with your "forbidden" love. There's something romantic about that you know? I wish both of you lots of love, health and protection. Maybe once we get a sensible immigration policy, he'll be able to live without worry.

If you wanna know the names of the songs, just scroll down to the VERY bottom of my blog, past the "goodbye" footer and you'll the name of the song playing.

Devin said...

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments Jackson! I really appreciate it. Thanks also for the guide for the music-I love this-it is so new to me-I also wish the criteria for a 'good catch' as a man for straight or gay people was what it is apparently in Argentina as opposed to the US. I can be pretty talkative-especially if I find a blog I love-so if you are ever to busy to respond do not worry! I am just so glad I found this place -I am going to email my mother about it I know she will love it too-don't worry she usually doesnt comment-not even on my blog and isnt as talkative:-) I absolutely have to find a way to see S America-do not know how but I am so interested now-I am interested in pretty much every country except the one I live in. I hope you and your family are doing wonderful!

Marco said...

Actually it's not like that all around Argentina. In Córdoba traffic lights don't turn yellow before turning green. In Córdoba they go: green-yellow-red; red-green. But I think it's kind of good the way it's in Buenos Aires, because this sequence (actually, the turning yellow point) happens after the opposite traffic light turned red, so it gives some time to those thoughtless drivers coming through the other street to cross (despite it's red) without crashing you.