Had My First Mate
It is a true right of passage for an expat here to be offered mate. Mate is a big deal. You see porteños erverywhere in the parks and plazas with their mate gourd and thermoses of hot water.
The hot beverage is passed around similar to how the bong used to get passed around at the frat house. I think it started as a gaucho cowboy thing but is enjoyed by city folk of all walks of life. In fact, our local Jumbo store has a whole isle dedicated the "Yerba Mate" (mate weed).
The taste? A lot like drinking a cigarette mixed with green tea. It's very bitter, but after a few sips it starts to mellow out.
Kissed My First Man
Greetings and goodbyes are not done lightly in Argentina. A simple wave and "Bye, it was nice to meet you" won't do. You have to get in and close the deal with a simple kiss on the cheek.
In a place like Buenos Aires with all these beautiful women, this custom can be a very good thing indeed. Unfortunately, it is not restricted to us guys greeting women. Regular guys also kiss each other when greeting or saying farewell. Up till now, I have been restricting this custom to the opposite sex (despite what Diva says).
Well, the other day on one of my Flickr outings, we were all saying goodbye and there was no avoiding it. One of other guys shook my hand and then pulled me in before I knew what was happening.
After one guy did it, I would of offended the others if I refused their pecks too. So there I was kissing a group full of guys goodbye. Oh well, at least I held out for a month on this one.
Stepped in My First Pile of Dog Shit
Buenos Aires is a Dog city. Everyone has dogs. Big dogs. Big dogs have big droppings. And no one seems to mind their dog's by-products littering the city sidewalks. You have to be very careful navigating this city by foot, keeping one eye on the sidewalk at all times. The other day I stepped off the curb and felt a slight squishing give way under my foot.
I guess this means the honeymoon is over.