So you’re coming to Buenos Aires…here’s a list of quirks and what to expect so you can learn to love this city!
A quick run down of quirks start with the sexes. Women here have long hair, wear platforms that are lethally high, and are extremely focused on aesthetic appeal. They’re beautiful but there is a huge problem with anorexia and bulimia as women fight to conform to international beauty standards of being thin. The men? Fútbol crazed as to be expected. And ladies, you best be prepared for the onslaught of catcalls (pirópos as they’re known here). A cultural norm common is most of South America, the catcalls might catch you off guard at first but before you know it you’ll become accustomed to them, and even begin to expect them, just ask any local.
And let me warn you about a little thing I call the BA stare down. Men, women, and children of all ages will stare you up and down as you walk. It’s not mean, people are just plain curious. Whereas directly staring at people might be considered rude in the States or other countries, it’s completely normal here.
Now, don’t get too distracted by all the whistling and stares because it’s imperative that you look down! I don’t mean a casual glance down every once in a while, I mean you better multitask and keep one eye on the ground, always. Walking along a sidewalk here is comparable to navigating a treacherous minefield. The sidewalks are constantly being repaired which means random holes, loose rubble and other hazardous paraphernalia to be tripped on. Oh yeah, then there’s the dog poop. Nobody picks it up, so be on the lookout for those landmines.
Another guarantee is you will stay out all night, or at least into the wee hours of the morning. It’s just how things work down here. Everything is later; the average dinner hour is close to 9pm. You know the saying “fashionably late,” right? Well stick to that and you are certain to be on time. Everything is “un ratito,” literally meaning one second but in Argentine terms, that one second could mean one minute, half an hour, or two hours later. So don’t be too worried about sticking to a schedule while you’re in Buenos Aires.
Get comfortable with the fact that you will rely on public transportation and it’s wonderful. Subway (Subté) and buses (colectivos or bondi) make for excellent people watching. Also don’t be afraid to use taxis, they’re abundant and relatively cheap compared to NYC prices. And when all else fails, walk! Buenos Aires is super walkable, and there’s a ton of beautiful parks and fun streets to visit on foot.