Streets, Pets, Vehicles, and Buildings

This article is a partial list from conversations I’d had years ago with Argentina native Claudia Link about what she enjoyed about Buenos Aires which I’d long forgotten until the moment I encountered the thing or experience she mentioned.  I added details I noticed from my experience of each phenomenon of what it’s like to be walking the streets in Buenos Aires among the hubbub.
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Streets

Many gutters at the edges of the streets 6-12 inches from the curbs have 3 inch wide channels cut 4 inches deep to carry water. Seems convenient so wheels don’t roll through it or feet step in or over water, I hardly noticed water running down the streets even soon after rains.

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Cobble streets. Old, worn smooth stones in older areas where cars still go and in pedestrian areas where there are mostly restaurants and during the day street vendors line both sides of some streets selling everything from mate gourds and straws to handmade leather belts and goods to prints of art.

Traffic lights turn yellow for a few seconds before turning green.

There are many motorcycles of all kinds, but not many harleys.

Vehicles

Abandoned vehicles are left parked in place for years. We saw burned out car frames with no tires, all tires flat dirty windows cars, cars, trucks, and vans full of stuff with broken windows and weeds growing around them parked on city streets. What’s surprising was that they weren’t stripped for parts.

The most common cars are small hatchbacks, gas is over $4 a gallon here in 2016.

The only American pickup trucks are old and have wood-walled beds.
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Fancy buses, all different, customized by individual drivers. Outside: white wall tires, shiny chrome rims, chrome plated sections over the wheel wells, ornate paintings of names and flowers on sides and back. Inside: fur coverings for the rear view mirrors, controls, and pay station, fuzzy dice, ornately carved mirrors, miniature disco balls and fringe hanging above the front window, imprinted with horses, playboy symbols, Mercedes, or others, steering wheels made of white or blue shiny mother-of-pearl style bowling ball material or ornate mirror bolted to the center.

Pets

Feral cats in fenced lots squeeze and pour out from behind the safety of the fences during the cooler parts of the evening and night to hide under parked cars.

There are impressive consistently spaced encounters with dog poop on virtually every sidewalk on every street, Even though there is a law against not picking up after ones pet.  Surprisingly there was rarely an odor of dog feces, but the pervasive smell of dog urine was common.  Every dog I encountered was incredibly well behaved. Even though they were all on leashes, they obeyed their owners implicitly even when the owner didn’thave the leash in hand and let it drag on the ground.

Architecture and buildings
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Architecture.  Buildings and styles from the 1800s to the present. Entire buildings were brought over from Europe and Russia.

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Orthodox Church brought to Buenos Aires from Russia

Ferns, plants, and trees growing on the sides of buildings.

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Not a window box

Some buildings abandoned, vacant, roofs caved in, plants growing inside, fronts still standing.
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Trees with plants growing in them/out of them.

Graffiti on any building, including anti-Monsanto spray paint on the Minister of Agriculture building that had been somewhat removed before being painted over again.
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(Fun fact: Soy eclipsed wheat as Agentina opens their export policies and started planting more corn)

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