January 25, 2017
We traveled to Lima yesterday and arrived after midnight., so I have little to report except two cultural observations.
First, Argentines are not all that committed to traffic lanes. They drift from one to the other; they straddle the line regularly; and they even straddle the line when there is a car in one of the lanes. It begs the question why anyone even paints lines on the road at all. We can only assume it is part of a full employment program.
So driving on a highway is like walking on a sidewalk; while everyone is generally going the same direction, that can meander and shift while doing so. It would make me a nervous wreck if it were not for the fact I saw absolutely zero collisions despite this odd driving style.
Second, when planes land, people applaud. I am at a loss to interpret this tradition. Is it a generosity of spirit or is it really low expectations? “How about that? He managed to get this big bird down without taking us all out. That is worthy of some serious clapping!”
I first noticed it when we first landed in Buenos Aires in some cross-winds, so I thought it was an acknowledgement of a challenging landing situation. Nope, a routine touch down in perfect conditions seems to merit the same cheering.
While this might seem excessive, it feels somewhat nice to me. I think I might start to build on this trend. How about a big hand for delivering a meal or pouring a drink? When a pharmacist provides me a prescription, that is getting an ovation.
I encourage y’all to join this new effort of appreciation.