A few random observations

Riding on a bus in the middle of the night through the Pampas, I’ve realized how similar to the American Midwest this is. It’s vast and flat. There are John Deere stores in every town we pass through and the towns seem to have a laid-back Midwestern, albeit Argentinian, quality to them. Houses are modest, but generally include a garage and often, neatly manicured lawns. Cars are parked outside the homes in the sleepy residential areas and the vibe seems very congenial. And, of course, at 11pm, the streets are not barren of people – most people are probably just heading home for dinner!

The other thing that I love is that there are dogs everywhere! But, they’re pets, not street dogs. And in Buenos Aires, walking around during the day, I think I passed about 5 dog walkers with no less than 10 dogs each in the span of an hour. Apparently, dog-walking is all the rage in Buenos Aires. In other areas, the dogs aren’t leashed and seem content roaming freely. But, it does make me miss Wilco dearly.

This country also seems to be very family-oriented, which I like. People here seem to adore their children and both men and women are quite doting and attentive to their children.

All people greet each other with a wide grin and a kiss on the cheek – regardless of gender.

All in all, this is a very civilized and developed nation and aside from North America, Europe and Australia, is the most western country I’ve been to. But then again, one of first comments in my trusty Lonely Planet is “Forget everything you’ve heard about the challenges of travel in South America. Argentina is different. It’s easy.”
I don’t know how well you can see it, but this container of chips made me laugh – it’s American made complete with English, but they slapped a sticker on it in Spanish, and then put a yellow sticker to cover up the words “Gluten free.” I’m guessing by the amount of bread they eat here, there aren’t too many gluten-sensitive people.

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