After many hours of turbulent travel and a delay in Atlanta, we finally landed in Buenos Aires this morning. As our bus from the airport got closer to the city, the first things I noticed were very tall yet narrow apartment-like buildings. These homes on the outside of the city are not anything like the suburban neighborhoods that you see within the United States. It was my first encounter with experiencing the economic differences between the two countries.
We also stopped by a market to get breakfast supplies for the next day and although you would see familiar brands like Dannon, Frito-Lay, and Goya, the price points of the products overall were much cheaper, even when paying for the American name brand. I was able to purchase water, eggs, a pack of granola bars, and yogurt for about $6 (US). This price difference was not something that our Culture Smart book had mentioned. In terms of globalization, the brands in the grocery store were not the only signs of a globalized society. We saw plenty of Starbucks and McDonalds as well as some less expected companies like Santander Bank and M.A.C. Cosmetics. Seeing these things really stood out to me because I did not expect to find as many brands that I can recognize on the other end of the world.
Our day ended with a meal full of classic Argentinian dishes, which were all delicious, with the exception of the morcilla (blood sausage). I would argue that this was the most significant part of the day because, at my table, we were joined by Mariela, who is one of our guides. She was able to answer a lot of our questions from the perspective of someone who grew up in the city of Buenos Aires. She confirmed what we learned in the Culture Smart books about Sunday nights being important for family dinners and explained that it was why the restaurant is so empty along with the fact that Argentinians do not typically eat dinner until 9 pm. We were also educated on how the college process works in Argentina and she explained how people typically do not move out until they get married, among other things that go beyond the pages of a travel guide.