Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A car is just a car

I have been in Argentina since 1999. I really love it here. I went through an adaptation period, which is normal. I come from a different culture. I was able to adapt to some things quicker than others due to my mother being Mexican and my father Colombian. One of the things that I really have a problem with is the car culture.

I get the sense that to most people here a car is a piece of metal on 4 wheels that takes you from point A to point B. This is a refreshing point of view from the other side of the spectrum in the United States where a lot of people’s cars are their babies. However, coming from the United States you can’t help but having some sort of attachment to your car even if your car is not your baby. A car is a big investment; I would like to have it clean, well maintained and safe.

I have seen my car, being the only one on the block; get backed up into for example. The guy apologized and I was really at a loss for words. I see the whole block empty and this moron has to back up into the only car parked on the block? Actually I told him that if he could at least start paying attention to his driving it would be a load off my mind and it would be more meaningful to me than his apology. He kind of looked at me as if I had two heads.

I also had someone repeatedly back up into my car while I was in it and honking on the horn. I had a tirade of insults ready for him when he got out of the car. He actually responded saying that I don’t have a Mercedes, what should I be so upset about.

I could go on and on. Is it a weird car culture? Is my car
a moron magnet?


Diva said...

Hi Frank, I`m glad that you started your blog!
Car culture in Buenos Aires is a big mess. If we say that we are Crazy drivers is not enough to describe us.
but we also have a lot of people here that treat their car like a baby, unfortunately they don`t leave in your neighbourhood...

Anonymous said...

This is a very hilarious post. Thanks for writing about your experience in a way that keeps people interested!

tangocherie said...

Congratulations, Frank, and welcome to the world of blogging! Be careful, it's addictive. I began a year ago with one post a month, more or less, and now I'm up to sometimes two posts per day!!

Looking forward to reading more on Sugar & Spice.


familiaoconnell said...

I am from the states too, but I have to say that I am enjoying the fact that the majority of people here look at their cars as just a vehicle with practical applications. We have a decent size dent on the side of our car cause by someone who backed up into us going 30km but never looking back! Its a beauty mark and I dont care. I am going to run this car into the more leasing every three years the most tricked out car on the market.

I agree there shouldnt be the presumption that you dont care if some on else abuses your car, but I do enjoy the pressure not having the car be an extension of me.

Alan Patrick said...

Welcome to the BA blogosphere Frank! Adding your feed to my Google Reader now so that I can keep up to date with your posts :)

All the best,


Unknown said...

Thank you for making me feel welcomed. I hope not to dissapoint.

Elisabeth, I also like it that people are not so paranoid about their cars being perfect or an extension of themselves I just would like for everyone to keep their extensions to themselves. Keep them away from my car please. I just had another moron run into my car on the expressway this weekend. I was going around 110km and this guy came from behind; tried to squeeze between me and another vehicle; he hit me and then he spun around several times without hitting anyone else; streightned out and then left. I am assuming it was a stollen car. Luckily, my car is built like a tank and now I have to replace another door (this is my 4th door).

Unknown said...


Sorry for misspelling your name in my first response. It won´t happen again.

Anonymous said...

Hola PACO, me dio mucha risa leer tu comentario acerca de los carros alla en Argentina, creeme que con lo que me dices nunca comprare un carro alla. Yo cuido mucho mis carros, para mi si son mis bebes jaja. So stay away from my car Argentinos.

Dr. K said...

The cars and drivers here are really something. I don't miss driving. I WILL miss the colectivos when I get back to the USA later this year.

Unknown said...

I actually have to drive all over the city and suburbs. This is both a blessing and a curse. I have gone through defensive driving training in the States from when I workded at UPS, so for me driving is an activity that tires me out. However, I have also gotten to see and know more of the city. It is now very uncommon for me to get turned around in the city even when I venture out into new unknown parts for me.

Unknown said...

hi frank....your pan dulce is awesome.

michael silver

Unknown said...

Thanks Micheal,

I wasn´t aware that you had a blog as well. I am adding it to my list-one more thing to read for me.

Also, keep your eyes peeled. We are going to come out with a Stollen. This is a fantastic baked treat from Germany. I just love stollen and we have a pretty good one.

Mad_Maxx said...

This is a very funny post Frank. I'm sure it didn't seem so at the time but it is funny written here.

I've never had anyone pushing my parked car with their car but I have had someone pushing my car with their hands.

Unknown said...


Time tends to do that and yeah I laugh at most of it now. I have so many car stories I might have to post a second one to get some other ones in.

Thanks for the comment by the way.


Nerd Progre said...

Hi there,

You have a nice blog, and this entry really made me laugh.

I don't have a car -because I never learned to drive -I'm 32!, try to find that in the USA ;)-, and because quite frankly, I don't need to. Colectivos and Subte takes me where I want to go.

About the crazy driving, I know about it, but I have a theory.. like everything bad about "we" Argentines... I say it's because our half-Italian heritage.

Ever been to Rome? Have you driven in Rome? They say it's worse than down here, which is something I don't think is possible.

But really, our "well, there's rules, but in my case I can make an exception" attitude comes from our half-Italian heritage, "la avivada" to be a "wiseguy".

See this (very funny I must add) article on the NYT about how a red light in Italy does not always mean red, it can be a "half-red" in the mind of the Italian drivers. Sounds familiar?.

An insider explains Italy, land of Cheery Disfunction

Unknown said...


I am glad I was able to return the laugh. Your post on Linux software names made me laugh as well. That is not common for techie sites to do.

Saludos and keep up the good blogging