By Connie Marianacci, a native Argentinean
Argentina has something available for everyone! The Iguazu falls in the north and Salta where you can do adventure activities. Cordoba and Tucuman in the center, las sierras and warm climate in the summer and cold in the winter. Mendoza and Bariloche known for skiing and also adventurous activities. Peninsula de Valdez where you can see the whales, penguins and finally Ushuaia, the southernmost point in the whole continent close to the glaciers of Perito Moreno.
Buenos Aires is considered something different from the rest of the country due to its size. Walking down a peatonal in Buenos Aires, where the street is surrounded by old renovated buildings, you can get a feeling of the old architecture combined with the new buildings making an interesting composition to admire. And this is what Buenos Aires is all about, combining the old and the new, combining the tango and the techno dances, combining the traditional cafes with the more modern ones. From the older cafes, you can sometimes hear Tango music playing, this is also common during the weekend afternoons on the peatonal. In addition, a couple might be dancing and a small crowd gathers along to cheer.
The second biggest city of Argentina is Cordoba, known as a university city close to the Sierras where you can escape during the weekends. The rest of the cities in Argentina have a small town lifestyle where still some of the stores close in the middle of the day to take a siesta.
In general, Argentineans are quite talkative and you will always hear people talking everywhere you go: supermarket, bus, subway, street, and offices too. Even though there is much talking at the work place, the working hours are also very long.
Below lets break down some issues:
- Family Traditions
- It is very common on Sundays for the families to get together and eat a big lunch, normally asado or pasta. Family reunions can vary in size but sometimes it can reach up to 15 people including children and grandchildren and the women normally work together to cook lunch. If the choice of the day is asado, then one of the men is in charge and the women make the salads to accompany it. After the meal, a short siesta is normally taken by the older people.
- During the week, even though both parents normally work, all the family members try to get together at night to eat dinner at the dinner table and a normal time to eat is at 9:00pm.
- Whenever you greet someone, you give them a kiss on one cheek whether they are male or female. When there is a more formal situation, men might shake hands but women are always kissed on the cheek.
- When making an appointment, it is common for people to arrive later on that the time agreed upon, you just have to be patient.
- After eating lunch it is very common to drink coffee in a small coffee cup, either cortado (with a little of milk) or coffee.
- Night life starts very late. Bars are normally open from 11pm and night clubs (boliches) are open from 12am or sometimes 1am. When going out, plan to come back at around 6am.
- After the crisis during 2002, the whole world is still afraid of what might happen if they get a chance to travel to Argentina, but it is actually nothing like it!
- Out of all the countries in Central and South America, Argentina is considered one of the safest. As long as you keep the standard precautions, nothing should happen.
- At night, it is very common for the young people to go out, take buses and taxis and walk on the streets. Just inform yourself about which areas are the most frequented at night and it will be safe for you to go there too.
- Meals & Drinks
- Asado where the meat is so tender you do not need to press too hard on the knife to be able to cut it. The meat is cooked with no seasoning so you can really have a taste of the meat itself. It is also not cooked with fire, but with the lit coal itself.
- Fernet con Coca is what mostly the young people from the center of Argentina drink when they go out. Fernet is actually an Italian sour dark alcoholic drink.
- Noquis are traditionally eaten every 29th of every month. They are squares made from potatoes considered to be pasta.
- Dulce de leche is spread on the bread for breakfast; it is like milk jelly.
- Mate is a tea that is drank out of a special small container with a straw. This is drank at all times; breakfast, at work, a reunion with friends and you can drink it with or without sugar.
Below is a cartoon of Quino. He is an Argentinean cartoonist that always portrays what the Argentinean culture is like: politics, education, economy and social life.