Last night, as I went out to my friend's good-bye dinner, I was annoyed that the kid in the apartment above us was banging on pots and pans again. As I left, I realized it wasn't just the neighbor. It was the whole city, protesting the taxes levied on the farmers. (See yesterday's post.)
The stores are running out of meat and dairy products. Only entrails are left on the shelves. This hits home in a country that has the highest per capita meat consumption in the world. People are pretty angry.
My taxi driver was honking all the way across town, and every neighborhood we passed through had a group of people banging, singing, and shouting. By the time I was n my way home, the streets were blocked off, and this is what I found two blocks from our apartment:
The same thing is happening tonight: I can hear the banging and signing that started promptly at 8:00PM.
Bloomberg.com: Latin America: "March 25 (Bloomberg) -- Argentina may face worsening food shortages, threatening to undermine support for President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's three-month-old government, as a farmers' strike over higher export taxes goes unresolved."
Export taxes have been raised in some cases as high as 44% and farmers are refusing to take their food to market. According to the above article, we're supposed to run out of meat and milk soon in the city.
President Hugo Chávez's dismantling of the critical press looks to be continuing as the leftist leader whips up public support to shut down Globovisión -- less than a year after he refused to renew the license of the country's most popular TV station.
My eyes are dark brown. Really dark brown. About the darkest brown you can get without being black.
Today, Rob and I were in the café at the MALBA museum and we noticed that among the 30 people or so sitting at the tables around us, I was the only one with brown eyes.
Almost no one in the whole museum had brown eyes. The waiter, green eyes. I go into the restroom, and casually look at the women at the sink. All of them: blue eyes. Men and women walking past me: green, hazel, blue, gray.
Coming from southern California, this was a little twilight-zone for me.
I know most of the people here are descendants of Germans, Italians, and Spaniards. But WTF? I thought brown eyes were a dominant gene, no? Is everyone wearing contacts? or was it just a very Northern-European day at the MALBA?
I saw an episode of Faulty Towers once, where a stereotypical American comes to the Inn- he is loud, obnoxious, and asks for things that they don't have.
Tonight, one of these stereotypically loud and obnoxious Americans was having dinner in the same restaurant as us. He was from Texas- I could tell by his accent. He was wearing cowboy boots, was tall, overweight, drunk, and his voice was about twice as loud as it needed to be. To top it off, he was talking loudly about money, and how inexpensive everything is. Not so endearing, I'm sure, to the other people in the restaurant who have suffered through the economic collapse.
He also callously called the delivery boy over and asked him to box things up at the end of the meal. First, the delivery boy doesn't speak English (yes, he asked in English), and second, it's not his job.
Everyone else in the restaurant was subtly rolling their eyes and was relieved when he left.
A local asked Rob in a bar a couple of months ago, "Why are Americans so loud?" I was surprised by this at the time, because I thought the stereotype was outdated and relegated to European sit-coms.
Supposedly, here in Argentina, when you have a baby you have to choose his or her name from a list of "approved" names (mostly Catholic saints). This explains why I have met at least five Augustins in three months. My name, Julia, is very familiar to people here- I guess there was a Saint Julia. Juliana and Julieta are also popular.
I haven't met any Summers, Karas, or Dylans.
If you want to name your baby something different, you have to get approval from the government. If you are a foreign national, you have to have a letter from your embassy stating that the name you are choosing for your child is "common" in your native country.
What I think is interesting about this is the original reason behind the law (I guess it goes back for quite a long time)- an attempt to control the culture- and I think not just of the culture that they are trying to maintain, but the cultures that they are trying to keep out.
Indiginous names are not on "the list."
A holler out to my Aunts Mareda, Wynona, and Mozelle (may she rest in peace.)