Buenos Aires Observations

November 15, 2011

The jacarandas are blooming here – spurts of vibrant purple; squishy flowers blanketing the sidewalks. Makes me feel at home, like I’m back in LA. A strange LA.

The school uniform for some children is a white knee-length coat. This makes them look like little mad scientists.

When you order a cup of coffee, it comes with a shot of sparkling water and a little cookie (or some kind of candy, candied orange peel, or chocolate). It’s like snack time.

A young fit-looking dog walker passed by the window of my favorite cafe. She had 14 dogs leashed to her. Big dogs – Burmese Mountain Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Black Labs. A moving mass of fur.

Whenever you leave an apartment building here, you have to have a key to unlock the front doors to get out. Seems dangerous to me.

Walking along residential streets you often come across small booths with windows, about the size of a porta potty. Homeowners on the block hire guards to man these booths and watch over their property. The guards just sit in the booths all day. But at night, the booths are empty…

Breakfast here is coffee and bread – normally a couple of medialunas, mini croissants. Or a combo: today my combo breakfast came with a selection of muffin, pastry, and toast. I had a banana muffin, a chocolate croissant, and two slices of perfectly toasted freshly baked bread, with sour tangy cream cheese and some kind of fruit preserve that I can’t quite make out – passionfruit? It almost tastes like sweet sun-dried tomatoes…

The Argentine diet seems to consist of meat, pastries, and dulce de leche. Yet only 18% are obese, and 50% are overweight – much less than in the US. Is it smaller portions? Periodic skipping of meals? More walking and use of public transportation?

You can sit in a cafe for hours without being bothered, or talked to, or looked at, by a waiter. For them to come over, you must flag them down. Which can be nice, or can be annoying, depending on how much of a hurry you’re in.

The typical breakfast - coffee and medialunas and a shot of water - at Cafe Tortoni, which opened 158 years ago (!).

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