Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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I have never seen so many busses in my life. Perhaps that`s because Atlanta has very few, and I havn`t been to many other big cities, but it`s still amazing to me. Today I took bus 67 from Plaza Italia to Plaza Francia, and back. I walked by like 20 bus stops on the way to the stop for 67, and most of those busses appeared to come and go while i was waiting for bus 67. Then later when I was going back, I went to a big  area just for bus stops by Plaza Francia. I thought I might miss three busses if I walked around the place looking for the 67 stop, so I asked the men in the little hit in the middle where it was. I didn`t look for markings on the hut, but it looked like an information booth, and had it not been, I assumed they`d still help me. They told me and I went and waited. About 5 or 6 busses for the stop next to mine went by. When one bus came, half the people from my stop ran to it, but I opted for staying with the half that stayed, and not ending up somewhere in Buenos Aires that I had never seen before and didn`t know how to get back from. As I watched bus after bus go by, I couldn`t help but think that at least one of them probably went through Plaze Italia. Many of the numbers seemed framiliar. But in the end, I waited and got back. I did miss the Plaza Italia stop, or at least the first one, but I only had to walk another couple blocks because of it.
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Right now I`m typing on the keyboard of a student in my dorm. It`s funny, because he is Argentine, and his computer is a Dell, with a spanish keyboard. The reason this is funny to me is that I associate the spanish keybaord with the old computers in the dorm that I often use with a significant amount of difficulty. The difficulty arises from their age and wear, for instance the keys sticking or not being responsive, and the fact that they are arranged differently than the english keyboards i`m used to. I actually don`t type in the proper way, with home keys and such, which is possibly helpful to me in this situation. However, I do have many keys memorized from years of typing without home keys. I have done quite a few underscores instead of question marks, and the act of placing an at symbol for e-mail adresses is a bit of a chore. I`m also often confused as to which punctuation mark i`m supposed to use. i have several choices that look like apostrophes. There seem to be varients of quotation marks as well. An sometimes when I make a bad choice about choosing the ``best fit``, it gives me a letter with an accent or some other symbol over it that i`m certainly not used to seeing from my english keyboard. It`s kind of fun using different apostrophe looking symbols interchangeably. I kind of wonder how they show up on a computer from the u.s.

Some people have said that this holds true throughout most of the world other than the United Sates, but the costomer service here is often almost laughable from the perspective of someone who has held a part time job for three years based on just that. In restaurants, once they bring you your food, they seem to feel that they`re done. I often have trouble finding someone to pay. I guess it`s possible that they just don`t want to bother you, but when I have to search for someone to pay for my meal. It seems strange. One day i walked out without paying. I had just almost been robbed, and they wouldn´t let me pay the next day, because of that fact, but every time I stay somewhere for a while after I`ve finished eating, I must continually remind myself that I need to pay before I leave. I`m so accustomed to the way that in the United States, you`re often given your bill as soon as or before you finish eating. I`ve often heard people say that they were offended by the way a waiter or waitress gives them the bill, as if they are being beckoned to pay and leave, however, I like this, because I`ve been, in a way, spoiled by the custom, and without it, I find myself being reminded by friends, or barely remembering that I need to pay for my meal. I also prefer to have the bill sit on the table for a while than to have to find the server in order to obtain that bill. I guess neither way is truly better. It really is just what you`re used to which makes you more comfortable with it. There is logic behind either way.
I've been to Brazil three times, as most people on our group know. What many of you probably don't know is that in Brazil, there seems to be a strong culture of haggling in the markets. Here, I've noticed that they do not share the sentiment, and even resent the thought. In Brazil I ask the price expecting to be told between one and a half and three times what I will end up paying. I kind of like it. It makes buying things a kind of game. It seems as if the people know the going rate for their merchandise but kind of make a bet at what they can get. they're more than willing to sell their merchandise for far less than what they originally tell you, if your will is stronger than theirs. It's kind of like a tax on tourists since locals know to haggle. That has held true in all the cities i've traveled there, and I'm interested to see if it holds true in the cities we will travel this year. On the contrary, here in Buenos Aires they seem to be completely against the idea of haggling. Even when buying several items, they wont give more than a Peso or two off the price. I've managed to save these couple Pesos at several places, but it's not really worth the time and effort. During the last purchases I've made, I've opted to pay full price after examining similar merchandise from other vendors. In Brazil I just kind of worked the price down until it suited me. Here I shop around for better prices. With enough choices to buy from, either way is a kind of game. Either way the merchandise in the markets is cheap by United States standards. In this environment, I guess you can trust the merchant to be more true to the price they want/need, they aren't just hoping you won't ask for less. They really intend to sell it at their price no matter what.
Group blog, week 1, regional integration course: Mary Beth, Shannon, Vickie, and Dillon According to the Botnia and ENCE representatives, the construction of the pulp mills complies with set international environmental standards. With these statements from the company representatives, Argentina has provided no evidence that these factories contradict international regulations or are any more harmful to pulp mills actually located in a number of their own provinces along the river. In addition to the three provinces that already sustain pulp mills, the province of Corrientes recently begun negotiations with European companies to possibly construct their own plants. These negotiations have weakened Argentina's claims of being environmentally conscious, especially when noting that the province of Corrientes is actually adjacent to the same river over which the conflict arose. Argentina accused Uruguay in the Hague Court of late and insufficient notification of the process of constructing these pulp mills that may harm the environment. However, Uruguay has actually been working on the development of the paper industry since 1987. This is the first major dispute between Argentina and Uruguay. How both countries handle this conflict may set precedents for how the two countries will react to each other in the future. Uruguay is requesting that the Mercosur Council convene in order to review this issue. If Argentina refuses to allow the Mercosur Council to assist in this dispute, this could upset relations and ties between the two countries. With Argentina's lack of evidence combined with the conflicting views represented by Corrientes' talks with European companies, the Hague Court officials rule that this issue be resolved in favor of Uruguay. They have been working on their paper industry for two decades and should be allowed to continue this process by constructing the pulp mills. Construction should continue immediately, and it it recommended that the World Bank lift the suspension on the loans to the European companies involved.
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