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International Center

University of Missouri

Things I’ve learned

Filed in Argentina, Blog by on September 26, 2016
by Magnolia K.
  1. No one has change. Although the country runs almost entirely on plata, or cash, small bills are hard to find and change is almost impossible. To this day, I think I only have three Argentinian peso coins.
  2. Cars are king. You have to double/triple/quadruple check before you cross an intersection. No one stops, and the drivers are a little crazy.
  3. Irrigation canals are a real hazard. Along most of the main roads, you will find open stone ditches that carry water to the roadside trees. Without them, Mendoza, largely a desert, would not be able to sustain much of its green plant life. To the amusement of some locals, I found this out the hard way.
  4. Dulce de leche. Makes everything better. Best gelato flavor ever.
  5. Buses (ala micros) will not stop unless hailed. Even if you are at the correct stop for the micro you want, it will pass without stopping. The key is to hail it. This took me a while to figure out, but after some keen observation, I am now hailing buses like a local.
  6. Milk is bought in bags, not bottles or jugs.
  7. Siesta hour(s) can be inconvenient. Business hours are from 8/9 a.m. to about 1 p.m. At 1 p.m., everyone goes home for lunch, takes a rest and meanders back to work around 4 p.m. Shops stay open until 8 or 9. The general exceptions are cafes, schools and various supermercados.
  8. You will pay for water. Your choice of con o sin gas (with or without carbonation).
  9. Argentinians stare. They stare at tourists and locals alike. The common greeting in Argentina, even if it’s the first time you’re meeting someone, is a kiss on the cheek. Always right cheek to right cheek.
  10. Palm fronds > brooms. The morning ritual for many storekeepers is to sweep out their storefront with a dead, dried palm frond.
Milk in bags

Milk in bags

About the blogger

Magnolia K. is studying abroad on the IFSA-Butler: Mendoza Universities Program in Mendoza, Argentina.

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