¨Buenos Aires¨ = ¨Good Air¨ ?

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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Wednesday May 17th 2006

Literally translated, Buenos Aires means ¨good air¨. Although many may not have thought about this, it was something that I found quite entertaining. I knew that smoking was cultural in many countries worldwide. For example, when I went to Lebanon to visit friends and family, a tray of a variety of cigarettes was passed around the room, along with a tray of sweets. Although I was previously warned about the amount of cigarette smoke in Argentina, I had no idea of its severity. Having a mother that smokes, and many friends that smoke, I thought it would not be a terrible issue. Everywhere I go people smoke, infact the only place that I have been able to get fresh air is in the classroom.  When chatting with my mother last night, she laughed she told me that when she taught in France, most of her students would light up cigarettes DURING class! THANK GOD that there are ¨no smoking¨ signs in the classrooms here!

So with the ridiculous amounts of cigarette smoke,  following you in restaurants, cafes, grocery stores (yes, I did experience this), malls, soccer stadiums, even around little infant kids, one would think that it is possible to find somewhere to gather a few gasps of fresh air, right?¿? Surely one could go outside, maybe in a park to gather some fresh air? I thought it was possible, but the pollution level here is like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. I thought Los Angeles, New York, Beirut, Paris, and even Atlanta were bad, but none of these even compare! To truly get fresh air one would have to travel outside of Buenos Aires, gather as much air as possible, and enjoy it for all its worth!

I have a new appreciation, one that I am willing to openly admit and accept, of the pollution levels in Atlanta. I will never have to smoke a cigarette after my visit here, as I have consumed so much pollution to last me a lifetime. I really miss the evening strolls I would take with my mom when I visited her on the weekends. I miss her so dearly, I miss her saying in her cute little French accent: “ahh take a deep breath, smell the fresh evening air…”   


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