I Grew Up in Zarate, First Day in Argentina.

Starting my life over again in Argentina, my first experiences here took place hours outside of the civilized world. I was surprised by most everything I did and saw. We stopped for a coffee and they served me something hot in a cup, the cup was smaller than a shot glass with a tiny handle. It was too big to be from a "Barbie" set, but too small to be worth carrying to the table. My girlfriend Susan looked at me as if this was normal. I learned that it was.

Old world markets - Cowhide carpeting.

I asked how I could get a normal size coffee and she explained that different names for coffees. The tiny one was an espresso. I could order a "lagrima" (the word means tear as in tear drop) which would be a coffee with a drop of milk. A tear drop of milk? Another option was a cafe doble (double coffee?), a cafe cortado (a cut coffee?) and then there was a cafe con leche (coffee with milk). I got the one that has milk in it because of the size. It is almost as big as coffee served in a Denny's or any hometown diner. That is the one I have stuck with since then.

Years later when Starbucks and all their copy-cats opened up here, I was able to get a large coffee, and better yet, a cold coffee!

➖➖ LA ARGENTINA = 💃 OR 🇦🇷 ➖➖ EL @ARGENTINO = 🕺 ➖➖

Also on my first day here.

I learned my first useful word in Spanish. I was smoking back then and wanted to ask for an ash tray so I ask Susan how to say it. She told me and I made an association for it - Sunny Zero. I was pleased with my system of learning vocabulary. I walked up to the counter and said the above word and got what I wanted. I was in for a surprise when the quantity of words started hitting me later in the week.

The word is actually spelled cenicero - meaning "ash holder"

I later learned that most everything you put anywhere goes into its holder, shaker, bin, box, pitcher, etc. and the word will either end with ero or era which is easier than learning all those special words we use in English. Salero (salt shaker) - Pimentero (pepper shaker) - basurero (garbage pale) and on and on.

That part of the language seems very logical and easy to guess. I was making up names for anything that holds anything else. Then I got to bombero which was not a person that holds bombs. He puts out fires - who'd a thunk it.

➖➖ LA ARGENTINA = 💃 OR 🇦🇷 ➖➖ EL @ARGENTINO = 🕺 ➖➖


The first dinner here was at a restaurant where they served pasta, pizza, empanadas, etc.. I got the pasta. I asked for salad dressing and they pointed to the bottles on the table. There was one with olive oil in it and another with vinegar. Susan said "That is the salad dressing." She knew of no other kind except Ceasar which restaurants did not carry. You could only get that at certain places, McDonalds being one of them. Now I started to feel the pangs of what I had gotten myself into. Let's just say, I have have learned to make certain salad dressings from scratch.

The restaurant was a big place, like a large diner, there was a TV in every corner of the room. More than the food, I remember the people. They all stared up at the TV and were in a trance of sorts. I remember the name of the show - and I am dating myself here - it was Show Match with Marcelo Tinelli. I did not understand much of what I was seeing but it seemed like the people were very into it. They only broke their trance like stare to laugh at the right times.

I assumed that they would be matching a show since that was what the show was called, but I did not see anyone doing anything of that sort. It was dumb pranks if I remember right. It also seemed that everyone on the show was practically bowing and worshiping this Marcelo guy. There were people in really stupid costumes that would come out when called and do some crazy action. All of this is from memory and I could be wrong about my perception. I will try to find it on YouTube if it is not banned.

I was interested to find out what they were doing on the show - some translation please... I ask Susan if she could help me figure it out, but all she could say is, "I hate this show! I don't want to know anything about it." I pushed to see what they were doing based on the whole town being into this kind of entertainment, but I got nothing from Susan.

Here some examples of that show back then.

An API version of it in case Youtube doesn't work.

API version just in case. - Fuerte Aplausa!

I was told that the caliber of comedy shown on that show was for the commoners. I did not like hearing that but I understood it later. There is a class of people that are of their own societal stature. Most do not talk about that here but you see them everywhere. Most are not bad people, just under educated and under privileged.

My ignorance of some of the societal problems was bliss because I did not know about them. As I learned how things work, I was saddened by the plight of some people and especially the children that are in that life.

➖➖ LA ARGENTINA = 💃 OR 🇦🇷 ➖➖ EL @ARGENTINO = 🕺 ➖➖

Whether in the suburbs or the city, there is an old time air to the nation.

Old school jewelry appraiser - repair shop.

I have always stopped in at the businesses that I see and spoken to the owner or worker inside. That is the way I have been able to learn the language here.

Most of the people who own news stands near where I live end up getting to know me pretty quick. When I first arrived here, I did not go far from home and when I did, I would count the number of blocks I went and record every turn that I made. Unable to speak the language makes you feel like you are on a deserted island. There are people, yes, but talking to them only renders head shaking and a looks of confusion. Susan was my guide and she was not always around. I had to make sue I could get back home without help.

Of course, I am remembering things that happened over a quarter century ago when the peso and the dollar were pegged one-to-one and Menem was the president. Take it for what it is, I have a lot to say about moving to a new country and the culture shock that goes with it. It has been good though. Very good.

Thanks to all who gave me a really warm welcome on my first post. That kind of thing makes me want to post more.

I am just a geek w ho spent half his life in the other land down under.