I was hoping to do a pre-departure blog post about Buenos Aires but now it would just be foolish to try since I’ve been here for 12 hours already and have a completely different mindset.
The only interesting part about the 23 hours of travel time from Salt Lake to Houston, to Panama City and finally to Buenos Aires was, (well apart from marathoning The Wire) the Panama City airport. More of a mall than an airport, Panama City’s airport had everything from little kid rides to car giveaways by women dressed in skin tight racing outfits. I had the not so glorious privilege of walking across the entire airport.
Now here’s where the mall part comes in to play. You would think the airport would have many different stores but quite the contrary. Duty free store – Toy store – chocolate shop – and electronic store was the pattern that repeated itself over 4 times. If you weren’t sure about buying duty free fragrances or liquor, you certainly had your chances to change your mind.
Moving to the important stuff. Buenos Aires’ first impression has been a mixture of three things — European style and architecture with Latin American culture and a San Francisco type of urban feeling, if that makes sense.
If I was looking for a culture shock, it certainly came with the grocery store visit earlier this afternoon. I wish I had some pictures, but I completely spaced on them as I felt completely lost in this grocery store known as Disco.
First thing I didn’t understand. There was three options of the same type of 1% milk. One was in a plastic bottle and the other in a box. Both of these were not in the refrigerated section. So what gives? To add to this dilemma, I proceeded to find a different sized box of the same type of milk in a refrigerated section. So going with what I knew, I chose the refrigerated milk.
Next were the eggs. Simply put, not in a refrigerated section. What effect this has on the eggs I was not willing to find out, but I’m guessing it’s not bad.
This was clearly the biggest culture shock as the usual snacks and foods weren’t available. I was having to decide on the fly what I could eat and what would make good snacks. To top this all off, when you go to check out, the checker expects you to bag your own groceries. I have no problem with this, but still, another cultural difference.
The breakthrough of the day was our roommate Luke hacking into the wireless network to determine the password was something else than we were told. We now have WiFi and the world seems to be rotating on its axis again.
I’ll leave you with a video tour of the apartment. I haven’t watched it so forgive if the video is shaky or you can’t hear me at times.