Finally, after more than 24 long hours of traveling, we landed in Argentina. During the bus ride to Recoleta, I immediately noticed some differences. One of the biggest differences was the shape of the skyline. Many American cities have enormous skyscrapers that give a distinct look to the skyline. For instance, in Pittsburgh, the U.S. Steel Building and PPG Place are iconic buildings that give distinction to the downtown view. However, in Argentina the skyline isn’t shaped like that. Buildings are tall but are probably no more than 10 stories, thus giving the city a homogenous look. Interestingly, in the area our highway was passing through, there wasn’t a big distinction between the lower class and middle-class homes. Smaller buildings that appeared to be falling apart, and had laundry hanging on a line on the roof, were scattered around the bases of taller apartment buildings with fancy balconies.
As the bus got closer to the apartment building, we are temporarily living in, another noticeable thing was the mixture of foreign and domestic store fronts. There were a large amount of coffee shops, clothing stores, and gelato stands, all with Spanish names, but a global chain could be found a few store fronts away. For instance, about a block from our apartment was a little coffee shop named Tienda el Café, but right across the street there was a Starbucks and McDonalds. This example goes to show that globalization has led to companies increasing their reach by expanding to countries all over the world.
I started to write out a sentence containing the phrase, “I was pleasantly surprised,” but I have replaced it with this one instead. Other than having our flight delayed 2 hours for the plane to be cleaned, I wasn’t really surprised. The Culture Smart books that were given to us did a good job at preparing us for what we experienced today. We didn’t do a whole lot today; we settled into our homes for the next two weeks, did a little grocery shopping, and ate at a few restaurants, but none of what we did resulted in experiences other than what was detailed in the book. Nonetheless, day one is in the books! Day two is sure to be even better!