Over my time living in this beautiful city I’ve found that Buenos Aires truly is a place to live. I don’t think you can see it all as a tourist, it’s not like there’s a list of specific sights to tick off as you travel round. To me at least, Buenos Aires is a feeling. A feeling full of quirks, weirdness, slightly crazy and oh so wonderful… So, some of my favourite (and perhaps not so) ‘Buenos Airesisms’, if you may.
– Firstly, food (obviously). I love that merienda (essentially afternoon tea) is a full on thing here. Every café will have a merienda menu – to me it just kind of ‘acknowledges’ the need to eat between meals sometimes!
– Unless you go to a super touristy place it is hard to find a bad steak. It’s a big country = big space. Enough said.
– Which brings me to the smell of asados wafting through my window every weekend night…
– Wine. Cheap and bloody brilliant.
– Always awake and always alive. You can party till dawn any night of the week, yet when I leave my apartment early in the morning I’ll see people hard at work, washing down the streets ready for the day ahead. The energy here is infectious.
– You can get anything delivered. Remember my confusion over the trays of drinks being carried down the street way back in January? They were simply delivering coffee to offices, china and all. Any initiative to make money? It’s probably already been done here.
– Women get treated differently. Doors are often held open, women are always allowed on the bus first and will be offered a seat before anyone else. However, machismo is still super strong and cat calling is constant. This is something I will never fully get used to, to me this is never a compliment. Ever. It is degrading.
– People talk to one another. Sat on the tube in London? Avoid eye contact at all times. Sat on the bus in Buenos Aires? You might just make a new friend, or at least bitch about the traffic together.
– Less should, more want. Life isn’t rushed here. It is perfectly acceptable to sit with a coffee in a café for several hours. Although they work hard, porteños haven’t got caught up in the hectic lifestyle that so many of us have fallen into. Not yet anyway. Instead, they live for pleasure.
– Every day is new, one of the joys of being an expat.
– The passion of the people – fiestas, food, drink, fútbol, simply in life…
– At times the city can feel so huge and unknown…and then you go into a local café and they recognise you and bring you some water as soon as you sit down and you feel completely at home.
– Essentially, Buenos Aires is a city of contrasts. It can be so glamorous yet so run-down at the same time. A wealthy, designer-clad woman will walk past a homeless person sat on a street corner. A mad, backwards economy in a country that is so forward in so many ways. Modern skycrapers tower over beautiful colonial style buildings. A crazy football match will take place whilst just a few blocks away someone is tangoing the night away. It’s all so familiar yet completely different, completely magical.
– And my personal favourite… Sometimes you can just be wandering around, having a ‘normal’ day and then suddenly something will make you look up…and you’ll feel like the luckiest person alive.
It is so hard to put the feeling of this incredible city into words, but I feel so lucky to have been able to live here and to call it my home.