The Road Less Traveled

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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        I love food. I honestly really do enjoy eating up a storm. Some of my best memories have involved food. Consequently, I am in a state of heaven in Buenos Aires. The food here is wonderful but it is lacking something that I love- SPICE!

            As a Korean-American, I truly have grown an affinity for spice and for spicy foods. I have lived my entire life eating foods that consist of spice and hotness. Like 99% of my family, I like to put lots of flavor and spice on EVERYTHING. At restaurants, I usually ask for hot sauce to put on my entrée. I have taken this for granted because in Buenos Aires, I have not found a meal that has made my tongue tingle or made my forehead slightly sweat due to the amount of spice and hotness in the meal. Finally, I could not take it anymore and I looked up restaurants that catered to my vice of spice.

            My fellow spice lover, Mr. Ivan John, and I ventured to an “authentic” Mexican restaurant called Xalapa to satiate our craving. When we got there, we were greeted by bright Mayan and Aztec designs and colors as well as a waitress who was wearing a traditional Mexican dress….and converse sneakers… anyways, that’s beside the point. We sat down and informed our waitress that we wanted spicy salsa and spicy food. She nodded and smiled at us and reassured us that we would receive plenty of spice. Ivan and I sat in our seats anxious in anticipation and excitement. You could even say that we were giddy.

            When the waitress came back with our “spice,” we soon realized that the spice that we were anticipating was not the spice that we were going to receive. The waitress arrived with a big plate of diced and crushed peppers for us to add to our enchiladas and quesadillas. As we saw this dish, Ivan and I looked at each other in confusion. We had wanted flavorful spice…zing…pizzazz…seasoning. We did not mean we just wanted to add temperature/heat/hotness to our food. Our waitress technically satisfied our request. She literally brought us spice. However, this was not the spice we were talking about. Defeated, Ivan and I looked at each other, shrugged and poured on the peppers to our meal.

            Now this incident conveys an important message: different folks, different strokes. In essence, not everything and not everyone has/thinks the same thing about common topics. Also, there is not just one way to look at something. This notion is very important in life. We cannot expect everyone to think the same way we do and follow the same guidelines that we do. We also have to remember that just because a certain system works for us, it does not always yield the same results for others.

            In particular, this theme of “different folks, different strokes,” is prevalent in Argentina’s economic history. Argentina has been recovering from many financial crises. President Kirchner has been working very hard his entire term to bring the country out of the hole. He has succeeded with this in many ways. The export rate has tripled and there is an annual GDP growth of 10% every year since his term. Kirchner has also put in great efforts to lower the unemployment rate. He has implemented programs such as Jefe y Jefa de Hogar to assist those who are not making enough money and need help.

            This rise in economy did not come easily. It has been a great struggle for Argentina since the economic crisis of 2001. The convertibility of one peso to one dollar has gone to three pesos for every dollar because of the economic troubles. Argentina has also looked towards other countries to assist in the financial troubles. In particular, it has sought the advice of the IMF as well as the United States. Both parties did not give good advice to Argentina. Now, to both parties credit, the US & IMF did suggest methods that worked in theory. However I feel as though these parties gave advice to methods and plans that would not work for Argentina’s background and “personality.” I believe that Argentina felt this same way too. Nevertheless, it still took the country a long time to figure out and finally act in a manner that conveyed this. I think this has worked for Argentina. They are now finally becoming successful with methods and plans that they came up with. Recently, Argentina was able to pay off their debt EARLY to the IMF.

        In conclusion, looking at Argentina’s economic history and present state reinforces underlines a good life lesson to me. There is not a standard for everything in life. Not everything works for everyone. In essence, this is the reason why I believe we should all try to figure things out for ourselves. In life we must find out things about ourselves and others in our own ways. In the words of Harold R. McAlindon, “do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
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82 km (51 miles) traveled
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