Argentine oddities

Hooray for having survived a week (sortof) on my own in another country! It’s been pretty neat so far. The food is good, the city is fun to walk around, my family is nice, and it’s all pretty casual. (Just ignore the whole vulture funds thing and we’ll be ok.) I had a list at the start of things I was going to have to get used to, like the whole ll/zh thing and Latin time, but there are still a few things I don’t entirely get:

  • Why everyone smokes. I know that it’s still a thing people do, and I guess I’m willing to overlook the older generations because they weren’t beat over the head with the dangers of tobacco use in health clas like we were. What slays me is that 1, so many people smoke (and of all ages, so you know they went through the class), and 2, that they do it when it says right on the box that smoking kills people and causes asthma in kids and makes your legs fall off. Right on the box. Pictures and everything. And they still do it. Whyyyyyyy.
  • Why restaurants charge a cover. I had to ask my host mom about this one, and she said that in the past, the taxes in the bill were split between the restaurant owner and the goverment or whatever, but now it all goes to the government, so the cover is just pocket money for the restaurant owner and a point of competition between restaurants. It’s not the end of the world (last night mine was 15 pesos, which is like US$1.50), but when I’m on a budget and planning on spending 50 pesos on dinner, an surprise 15 more is annoying.
  • Why a lot of shoes sold here have really thick platform soles. I’ve seen chunky heels and not thought anything of it, but a lot of boots and leather shoes have 2 inch platforms. It’s not like Argentines are especially short, either (there were times in Ecuador where I felt like a giant, and I’m only 5’5″ on a good day). I guess they just really like clunky boots.
  • Oh, and the dog walking here is odd, but in a fun way. I didn’t think professional dog walkers existed in real life until last Tuesday when I saw one guy with like 15 dogs.  All sizes of dogs too, and I was impressed that the big ones didn’t trample the little ones. I’ve seen a handful of them since. Some dogs also walk themselves, either with their leashes in their mouths or just walking next to their humans. I know dog walking is pretty mundane, but this was pretty cool.
  • Update, July 1: And the poop. All over the sidewalk. I’ve probably stepped in it three or four times already. I’m ok with them being lax on leash laws, especially since the dogs here seem to be well behaved, but good god, pick up after your pets!

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