So… We’re home!
I wanted to live-blog as we were on the road in Argentina, but my goodness! The internet was worse than spotty, and sometimes the most I could do was add pictures to Instagram.
Regardless, we had a lot of fun, learned a lot, and saw a lot of beautiful places.
Iguazu falls – if doesn’t get much better than that!
I just wrote up about 1,500 words on how the trip benefited the kids – especially Garrett – but I think we’ll save that for later and just point out a few key takeaways.
- Argentina is very people-oriented. Almost nothing is automated. They do have pretty normal (by our standards) supermarkets here and there, but for the most part, you walk into the meat shop, (or cheese or produce shop) and ask the person behind the counter for sausage (or cheese, or broccoli). You walk into the clothing store, and person is there to help you with your selection and try ons. You walk into a public bathroom, and SOMEONE HANDS YOU TOILET PAPER. <— That was by far the weirdest thing. And then you tip the person for their service, because they keep the bathroom clean – and they do keep it clean! Usually dashing in to scrub it down between “customers”.
The difference between the Argentine and and United States culture was never more stark, or shocking, than on the way home, after interacting with people non-stop for three weeks, we got to U.S. immigrations, and were met with Self-service computers. Now I understand culture shock – not that I wasn’t grateful for the efficiency after two days of airport delays – but I understand it.
- Wine is everything. Not only does wine accompany lunch and dinner, it’s in the sausage. Now I don’t drink wine, and I look suspiciously at anyone who says it tastes good (because it doesn’t!) but oh man, that chorizo is the best! If you ever get a chance to eat a choripan sandwich, DO IT! The bread there tends to taste more like homemade bread, and that with the flavor of their sausage (chorizo) just makes for a phenomenal sandwich!
- Argentines don’t know how to breakfast. Seriously. A standard breakfast is two crescent rolls and an espresso. Our Argentine friend was kind of flabbergasted by our version of breakfast – eggs, potatoes, and sausage – So much delicious protein! Needless to say, we made our own breakfast any time we stayed in a place with a kitchen.
One of the interesting things about Argentina is that they don't throw away paper and plastic the way North Americans do. Even the main super market doesn't give you plastic bags – you have to buy canvas bags or bring your own, and at any given time, you'll see shoppers walking from shop to shop with their canvas bags, because people WALK and BIKE everywhere. They may bring a car or motorcycle to town, and then walk from place to place once they get there. And these eggs? Yeah, they're wrapped in newspaper. The big super market DOES sell them in cartons, but the small shops wrap them in newspaper or plastic. Oh, and I have yet to see a white egg. ???? . . #Argentina #shopsmallbusiness #newsinargentina
- You can eat like a horse and still lose weight if you walk everywhere. Of course we didn’t have a car, and though we did take a taxi a handful of times, we walked a lot. In fact, Argentines in general walk and bike a lot. I’m not sure how much of it is cultural, and how much of it is just that gas is expensive, but shopping typically consists of walking from shop to shop with a rolling bag, whether you drive, walk, or bike to the end of the street mostly depends on how far away a person lives from the middle of town. I really enjoyed that aspect of Argentina, and YES, I really did lose a little bit of weight despite making it my mission to try every kind of Argentine food, and eat all the dulce de leche.
- Traveling with kids is not that hard. We packed SUPER light and took a stroller. Most airports have priority lines for disabled people, the elderly, pregnant women, and family’s with small children, so we were able to skip the long lines. We took the back seat of the bus when we were able, and for the most part, the kids were enthusiastic travelers, and adored hiking.
- Not only that, traveling is good for kids! The kids learned so much! Garrett can’t wait to go back and learn more Spanish, and they both got to see one of the natural wonders of the world.
- That said, it’s really good for all of us to be back home! While Garrett didn’t want to come home, and wishes he could go back already, the rest of us are a little more introverted. Hadassah’s a lot happier being home, and I’m in love with sleeping in my own bed again.
It’s good to be home – but I can’t wait to go back and explore the rest of the country!
Have a great weekend y’all!