How Argentina changed my pace

Those who know me can say that I had times when a) I worked too much b) I stressed c) I took many things too personally.
I could say that I was an improved version of a), b), and c) when I set out to Argentina, on a journey scheduled first of all to see our friends – so much time had passed: 9 years since we last said goodbye in Puerto Iguazú.

Sure, I had travelled around Latin America. Colombia is also laid-back… and from the African countries, so are Ghana and Uganda… but travelling around Argentina much more this second time around, I managed to understand why the north, the centre, and the south are so different yet so similar. Why treating the other with kindness is the only way Argentines know how. Why, like other nations that are special, Argentina does not see herself that way. [People are very critical of themselves and maybe that is the main reason for their lovely demeanour – their constant need to improve as human beings.]
I’ll add another set of these [] here—[I may be generalising further on, yet I do it from all my heart ].

In Argentina, people are smiling. So many of them!
And in so many countries, this is rare. In most of the countries I’ve visited, this is rare.
You don’t believe me? Test my hypothesis next time you’re out on a busy street.
Tigre, Buenos Aires, Argentina

In Argentina, when you go to a bar/pub/restaurant, people are actually talking to one another.
Not checking Facebook, Instagram, or downloading stuff. Talking. Enjoying each other’s company.
At times, we were the only two depleting the battery of our phones. In our defence, those were the only moments when we had a good Internet connection, being able to go over the bus schedules, check-in, or send an important e-mail.
Having dinner in Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina

In Argentina, people still have fun in the nice classic way.
They dance, they play football, they prepare some asado (or a vegetarian option) for their friends and family, they sit in the park and sip their mates – all with a lot of joy, putting their whole hearts into these activities.
Saturday afternoon in Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina
They don’t need proof of how well they are feeling. In fact, at one point, in Puerto Madryn, on the main beach, there was a public zumba class and I was one of the only two persons taking pictures. [Actually, I only took one to send to my friend, because she also attends zumba classes. :P]  
Fun at the beach in Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina

In Argentina, people have empathy.
This is something that I cherish very much, being an empath. [This is what I still believe can change the world. There are countries with a higher number of empaths than others and I believe that Argentina’s among them.]
The vibe’s so good and light, it reminds me of home!
During my first days in Brazil, I was a bit depressed (to be continued) and the first person who made me smile was a girl at a restaurant in Campeche, who was our waitress. We hugged when we left and we stayed friends. She is Argentinean. J
People are nice – I noticed – not only to foreigners but also to each other.
Another sweet memory is linked to arriving at our accommodation in Juella and realising that it was a bit too late to eat in the village; our host invited us to eat with him and his wife (who had also left us pies, crackers, and homemade jam in the fridge).
Our home in Juella, Jujuy, Argentina
At a pizzeria in Bariloche, the owner (he had such a kind face and resembled my Grandpa) told us that sadly he was only starting to bake pizzas from 12:30 on, and it was 10:00. When I told him that our bus was leaving at that time, he heated the ovens just for us. J  
Morning pizza in Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentina
In Argentina, people are polite, curious, and considerate.
Most of the strangers that we interacted with were very curious (genuinely curious) to know what country we were from. Greetings are not just a formality in Argentina, they are from the heart. We would talk with people in shops, at gas stations, in taxis, in Ubers, at bus stops, all willing to be helpful, and in a way appreciating that we were so lejos de casa, roaming around their country.
Heading to Salta, Argentina

In Argentina, there’s no need to fight or stress over something.
And these people are right.
Accompanied by our friends, who were showing us around, we arrived at the weekly Saturday Fair in Recoleta, Buenos Aires. I had the most beautiful handmade items I had seen throughout the entire trip before me, yet I couldn’t purchase them all. Not one person got offended when we looked, but didn’t buy.
Recoleta Saturday Fair, Buenos Aires, Argentina
When we returned to Buenos Aires (after a trip to the Andean north-west), the best friend of our host came to check us out at 4am, as we had an early flight. He was so good-humoured that he made me smile. The Uber driver that had taken us to the apartment in the first place had trouble locating us and we had trouble locating him. When we finally met, he had no issues and we ended up talking about Argentina and Romania and laughing in the car.
During our last bus ride (from Puerto Madryn to Comodoro Rivadavia), one of the bus roof windows broke. Nobody fussed. The driver and the bus attendant cleaned the glass, moved the affected passengers to safety, and changed the bus in Comodoro Rivadavia.     

In Argentina, people take their time.
My Mom used to say to me: ‘Petra, all those things you need to do… it’s you who will complete them, take it easy’. Indeed. It’s just that I guess it’s in our Romanian blood to be calm and then inflame. :P We kind of love the intensity and rush of a situation.
Argentines are Latin like us, yes, but I’ve never seen a more detached approach to time anywhere else in the world.
Our friends lead busy lives, our time with them was intense, but they always managed to complete all their tasks, even if that happened at 2am.
...and then we went clubbing with Nuria & Telemaco at 2:30am in San Miguel, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buses delayed? It’s something that happens on a regular basis – and we’ve had delays ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Nobody got mad. Well, we did on one occasion, when we lost the bus to Chile [but that’s another story].
Bariloche Bus Terminal, Rio Negro, Argentina
If we are onto talking about Chile, the taxi driver who took us to the border kept his calm, stopped the car for Marcel to take pictures of Futaleufú River and for me to see a zorro crossing our path. We were 5 minutes away from the closing time of the border. So what? J

So, there you have it: my love for Argentina renewed and some gratitude for making me change my perspectives.
❤️ Argentina
It’s not that I didn’t know how to smile or have fun anymore, but I am so relaxed now – it’s been nineteen years since I felt like this. All the things and tasks that we should perform… well, we shouldn’t do them guided by stress, we shouldn’t get angry at those we love, we shouldn’t let bitter situations linger.
And you know what? All things are falling into place in my life. All my wishes are coming true. It’s going to be a fantastic year, I just know it!
There are political tensions on a wider scale in the world, environmental problems, and medical crises, but I just know that all will be well, in the end. /All were, of course, lies. - my note, 20.11.2023/   

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