Why are all the Tshirts here in English?

Looking for a shirt in Spanish...

OK, a few shirts I saw today were in Spanish, but most were in English. Some examples:

  1. Love me!
  2. It's only Rock 'N Roll but I like it
  3. Brooklyn
  4. Married to the mob

And the winner is...

And my favorite today? Standing in a bank line a full block long:

IN [blank space] WE TRUST

I think that just about sums up what Argentines have told me about life here. Especially with a change in government coming, there is a gallows humor about the economic situation that makes this the perfect shirt for today.

Perhaps problems are just more open here

Bank Lines

With the four-day weekend/holiday, everyone was out of pesos by today. The banks were out of pesos on the weekend, and everyone was desperate to get cash. There were waiting lines at all the banks and places that changed money. In fact, some places weren't marked as cambios, but the lines outside gave them away.

We don't have an unofficial exchange rate in the USA, so I'm not sure what this could correspond to. It reminds me of the lines at gas stations in the 70s, and only being able to fill our car with gas on odd-numbered days. I was really little, but that memory has stuck in my head.


Last night on the way to the milonga in the rain, I passed a circle of policemen, surrounding an older man who was on his knees on the ground. At first, I wondered if he was ill, It was not clear at all what was going on, but everyone passed the scene as if nothing was happening. It felt really scary to me.

One taxi driver told me that the police just help the mafia, and that he had been threatened at the airport to leave a certain area by the police and the mafia.  He said, "The police are supposed to provide public safety, not mafia safety." As I walked away, I kept worrying about the guy on the ground. You don't need seven policemen to deal with one person.

As is obvious by what has been happening in the United States with the police, perhaps here there is just a wider swath of the population who distrust the motives of "public safety" officers. Here, it's probably going to be a long time before police have car or visor cameras.


According to a friend, the day that Macri won, the stock in one of his friend's companies rose by 8%, and the other stocks declined about 10%. "Everyone knows who is going to benefit from this government," he said. "The people already knew it on the day Macri won."

But this happens in the USA as well, whether we are willing to admit it. If (goddess forbid) Trump becomes the next president, I could see exactly the same scenario happening all over the place. Of course, I'll be moving to Canada (it's going to be crowded).


I think I know what a sardine feels like now

I spent the day rushing around, trying to get too many things done. On the way home, I squeezed into a subway train at the first stop from the terminus. Each stop, more people shoved into the car. Each stop, someone with a loudspeaker had to ask people to let the doors close; each stop, there were people left on the platform who couldn't get in. At one, the announcement happened three times, and someone called, "Attack them!" and everyone in the car chuckled. It is interesting to be surrounded by people, pressed MUCH tighter together than couples on the dance floor, buttocks to other people's fronts/sides/backs/handbags/shopping--and to politely ignore that we are all packed like sardines into this metal box. It was really a relief to fight my way out of the car and get back up into (relatively) fresh air.

Most of this trip, I have walked places. I find that it helps me remember my geography better. I also feel better when I absorb sun. When I am running late, I'll hop into a taxi to get the rest of the way to where I am going if traffic is good. I have been avoiding the buses because most of the time, they don't go all that much faster than walking! The subway is my choice for public transportation if possible because there is so much street traffic that the buses idle in place, with sweating people mopping their brows inside.

I can see why I did not play tourist the first six times I visited Buenos Aires: I am just too tired sometimes to go dancing. Before, if you had given me the choice, I would have stared at you. Of COURSE dancing comes first! However, since I am trying to organize everything I will need for bringing people with me next year, I am spending a lot of time looking at tango hostels, hotels and apartments. I am spending a lot of time doing cultural/touristy things that I should have done before; and I am dancing a lot less.

Right now, I am supposed to be at La Milonguita, a milonga I LOVE, but I never managed to eat today after an early breakfast, so I am eating now. Also, I promised to call my son, and right after school is great for him, but means I miss out on getting to early milongas on time.

Part of why I am late, is that there was a huge demonstration/gathering to hear the outgoing president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, give a speech. On the TV, I could see probably thousands (maybe hundreds) of people jumping up and down, waving flags, chanting, etc. CFK was already speaking when I got home. I watched a bit, fielded a call from my son, and then watched the end of her speech. She was losing her voice by that time.

My hostess was watching the speech, and consequently probably arrived late for the class she teaches. As she got up to leave, I said we would never have this in the USA, that this seemed more like a telenovela than politics--an impassioned speech basically admonishing everyone to take responsibility on themselves for the nation, implying very strongly that a. she will be back in four years ("I am listening to you, I will always listen to you, etc." and b. that the incoming government will be awful--she laughed. She said that, unless one understands the entire history of Argentina, that this speech would seem overly dramatic. Also, we would need to know all of Argentine history to understand that CFK is not a psycho. My hostess seemed very moved by the speech. "We are very Italian," she shrugged. On the other hand, we have Donald Trump doing pretty much the male imitation of what I just saw, so maybe I should not be so shocked.