¡CULTURE SHOCK!

I got out of Bolivia on January 24th, just in time to avoid the restitution election on the 25th. ¨Someone´s going to die,¨more than one Bolivian had warned me…as if 1-25-09 was 6-6-06.

And so I hauled ass across the border to Chile and then to Aregntina, somehow circumventing the alleged $140 now imposed upon US citizens (it´s not even a visa…just a fee because they love us so much). Could it have been because I was traveling with 2 Argentines and 2 Brazilians and because we paid a small fortune for a private driver? I´ll never know.

Culture shock is one of those things I used to not believe in. It was kind of like a hangover, altitude sickness, or depression for some people; you don´t believe it exists and you think it is all self-created until you actually experience it for yourself. I had never been ¨culture shocked¨ upon entering a foreign country, whether 1st world or 3rd world, but last night, upon entering Salta, Argentina after a month in Bolivia and a few weeks in Peru, I can confirm that culture shock exists and that I am experiencing it for the very first time.

What I am not used to:

10. Bathrooms with toilets and sometimes even toilet paper!

9. Traffic lights and some sense of abiding by traffic laws

8. Pricetags on commodities…and most importantly, the prices mean something and are pretty much consistent.

7. Buying things in their proper stores (e.g. shampoo from a pharmacy) instead of on street stalls.

6. Getting what you pay for

5. Brand names

4. Evidence of U.S. imports

3…2…1… buh-dump-chehhh…sorry I´m not a stand up comedian and I don´t feel like thinking of the last 3 reasons. I´ll leave that to David Letterman. That said, however, I really do miss the chaotic mess of Bolivia. I think it will take a few days to feel comforatble in my new 1st world surroundings…

Regardless, I am excited for Buenos Aires, where I am headed tonight. No more of this mid-size city pish posh, I am ready for a real metropolitain, cosmopolitain, cultural city. You can take the girl out of the city, but you can´t take the city out of the girl. Sorry for the lame cliche. I had to.

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~ by ceciliabien on January 26, 2009.

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