1) PDAs (Public Displays of Affection) are ‘A – OK’
Don’t shout ‘get a room’ at the couple eating each other’s faces off outside of your hostel. What they’re doing is 100% acceptable and not an embarrassment in anyway, despite it being a very catholic country. On the plus side, a nice looking Argentine couple kissing on the sidewalk can make a great photo, as long as you don’t mind looking like a perv!
2) Do you have anything smaller?
Or..tienes algo más chico? Is a phrase you’ll hear pretty much whenever you hand over a note bigger than 10 pesos. Change is sacred. Guard it with your life.
3) The collective* drivers are loco
Driving off / crushing you in the doors while you in the process of getting on or off is not uncommon (Foto Ruta has even witnessed this happen to multiple old age pensioners). And god help you if you’re too slow saying 1.25 (the standard BA bus fare) as you enter.
3a) Buses aren’t buses, they’re collectivos*
4) You’re going to get lost
For reasons unknown and despite the city’s grid system, many visitors to Buenos Aires find the city somewhat disorientating at first. Perhaps it’s the diagonals cutting across the city, or the lack of sign posts… either way, be prepared to get well and truly lost.
5) Closing hours are wierd
Despite being very much a 24 hour city, with dinner being served around 10.00 in the evening and people only hitting parties and clubs at 1.00 in the morning, the Subte subway system closes at 10.30 and liquor stores at 10.00. Foto Ruta always gets caught out by this. Always!
6) Loose paving stones in the rain
Luckily it doesn’t rain very much in Buenos Aires, but when it does, watch out for the loose paving stones. They gather water underneath, and then, when you least expect it (they are harder to spot than you might think) you step on one. In an infuriating instant your shoes, legs, newly washed jeans are splattered with muddy, gritty water. Probably my least favorite thing about Buenos Aires. En serio.
7) Always leave your house at the time you should get there
Despite Buenos Aires appearance as a frenetic, hectic city, it’s really a pretty chilled out place, and punctuality is pretty alien to most Argentines. Don’t get stressed out by it. Embrace it and join in. Meeting someone at 10? Leave your house at 10.05.
8) Demonstrations are a part of daily life
When I first arrived in Buenos Aires, there was a huge march (manifestación) taking place in Plaza de Mayo. Drums banging, fire crackers, flags, banners, impassioned people standing up for what they believe. ‘Wow!’ I thought. ‘I’ve obviously timed my visit well. Something big is happening in the city!’. A year on and about 250 manifestaciones later, I’ve realized I was a little naïve. They happen all the time, and although the present great photo opportunities, if you’re trying to get anywhere in the city, add on a couple of hours.
9) Don’t jump the queue
I’ve said it a couple of times already. Argentines are a pretty chilled out bunch, they are easy going most of the time, and aren’t hung up about timing or rules like those from uptight countries like England, the U.S. and Canada, but when it comes to queuing, it’s a different story. Not only do they love to queue, but anyone who tries to jump the queue or mess with the system (even if just accidentally) is in for a dressing down.
10) The accent’s a bit funny
You probably already know this but the Argentines speak with a funny Italian twang, and pretty quickly too. So, if you arrive thinking you speak Spanish, think again. This is Spanish from a whole other planet
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