Posts Tagged ‘Argentina’

Random observations

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Apparently I may be a soulless techie barbarian, at least in some respects. No one actually said as much but reading between the lines that was the gist. Never mind, here are a few random observations related to Argentina and Buenos Aires.

Inflation is something that the Argentinians are very familiar with. In 2009 Argentina had the third highest rate of inflation in the world. In 2010 it may overtake Congo and Venezuela and reach the top of the league table. I’ve noticed it myself in taxi fares, the cost of mints and breath fresheners and McNuggets. 8 weeks ago a McNuggets (go large) meal cost $24 (pesos, not US dollars). Now it costs $26. That’s an 8.5% increase in 2 months. Some economic experts predict the annual rate could reach 40% in 2010. If McNuggets keep going up at the rate I’ve seen they’ll cost me about $30 by the time I’m due to come home at the end of September.

The state of the pavements here in Buenos Aires is shocking. There are 2 problems: dog poo and “potholes”. It’s obvious where the dog poo comes from and the porteños do nothing to clear up after their dogs. Utility companies (or whoever) dig holes in the pavements (sidewalks for the American readers) but seem to never make good the holes. They fill them in with dirt but forget to put back the tiles or slabs or whatever was there before they started. While walking around you need to keep at least one eye on the ground at all times to avoid stepping in something squishy and stinky, or breaking your ankle on the broken surface. There are a few photos of the pavements near my apartment over at Flickr. They were taken on Av. Santa Fe and Av. Scalabrini Ortiz and are typical of the pavements I’ve seen all over the city. I know, you’d have to be really bored to look at them, but you could check out the less boring pictures at the same time.

Argentina, or at least Buenos Aires, must be a good place to be a dentist. Porteños in particular, possibly Argentinians in general, collectively have a very sweet tooth. There are panaderias (bakeries) all over the city selling all manner of delicious, sweet, teeth rotting, calorie laden facturas (pastries). Virtually all the breakfast cereals are sugar coated crap of some form. The porteños love their dulce de leche (think caramel but made with milk and sugar), they put it on and/or in just about everything, including facturas. One tried to tell me it was healthy because it’s made with milk. And a whole lot of sugar! I’m sure by the time they’ve spent hours cooking it, virtually all the milk has evaporated and what’s left is basically caramelised sugar. So I imagine the dentists here do very well. Even without all the cosmetic work they do. The facturas are delicious though! Here are some I ate yesterday.

OK, 3 things there not helping the soulless techie barbarian image – a discussion of inflation, admitting to eating an occasional McDonalds meal (less than one a week, honest!) and photos of potholes in the pavements.