One thing about traveling by yourself, you end up with time on your hands. Time enough to post blog entries. We’ll see if and how that changes as I meet up with the bike group tomorrow.

Cars

Most of the cars I’ve seen are small ones. Lots of Fiats and Renaults. Not far from where I’m staying is a Chevy dealership if you can believe that. The Cruze is for sale. 9.9% financing. That is, in fact, the only car dealership I’ve seen. I’ve only walked so far though so there’s bound to be lots more but generally speaking, I haven’t seen that many new cars. In general, I don’t see many American cars. German cars? plenty of VW’s but not much else.

I would hazard a guess there are few if any emissions standards. The hardest thing about taking a walk through the city is the amount of exhaust some cars and trucks are belching. It can often be hard to breath. On top of that, lots and lots of big busses in the city.

Diesel appears to be the least expensive fuel at AR$5.6 / liter. Consequently, lots of diesel cars. That amounts to AR$21.20 per gallon so that’s about US$4.82 / gallon under present exchange rates. Premium gas goes for AR$7 / liter. Ouch.

Garbage

Here in Salta, every house in the neighborhood has a little metal pedestal out along the street and it’s for putting bags of garbage. This guy has a good picture of one, but they’re not all uniformly the same. It’s just a pedestal of some kind, usually metal and you see plastic bags of garbage set out in them. I saw the garbage men doing their rounds tonight as I was on my way home from dinner. One guy walks through the neighborhood in his characteristic striped uniform and collects the bags, and another person drives the truck. I think they pick up daily. The bags are small. I’ve not seen any garbage cans.

Dogs & Cats

As I’ve traipsed throughout Salta and Buenos Aires, I’ve run across dogs that don’t appear to have any owner and that are completely sacked out and snoozing right there on the sidewalk on a busy street. If you didn’t see them breathing you might think they were maybe dead, but no, they’re just snoozing there. Sometimes 2 or 3 of them. No owner anywhere to be seen.

I saw similar in the botanical park in Buenos Aires only it was cats. The park is apparently known for its feral cats. See http://gatosdelbotanico.blogspot.com.ar.

TV & Music

Like pretty much everywhere I’ve ever traveled, American – or at least English – pop music seems to be universally popular. I heard Adele blaring from a car as I walked through the city today. The restaurant I went to tonight and the hotel I’m staying at have both been playing English speaking singers and songs that sound familiar.

It was funny to listen to the rock station the taxi driver was listening to as I taxied to the airport in Buenos Aires. The announcer was speaking in Spanish of course and it was clear it was some kind of advertisement. I couldn’t understand a word of it except for “Nirvana” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

Banking

My Chase Bank card worked at the airport but not at 4 other banks I pulled into today. All the main banks in Salta appeared to be up and down one street in the central part of the city. Rarely have I ever seen so many people lined up to use ATM machines. Some banks – and oddly only some – had lines coming out of the building and down the street a little ways. I thought: is there a run on the banks around here today? Apparently not, but it seemed unusual to me.