Three Embarrassing Stories from my time living in Buenos Aires
I’m a klutz. My husband is often muttering the word torpe (clumsy in Spanish) under his breath while having a (well-meaning) giggle at my expense. Embarrassing stories follow me, but it’s never my fault… right? Here are my three most embarrassing stories that happened to me since I’ve been living in Buenos Aires. There are probably plenty I’m forgetting. And there are definitely more to come.
Mind the Gap
Mind the gap. We all know it and when we say it our heads we hear a cute little British accent. But do you actually think about what it means? One day I found out the hard way when I definitely did NOT mind the gap. Rushing across the city on the subte to pick up my final check from a job I had quit the day before…
I’m getting off the subway train in Palermo. I step out, except I don’t hit solid ground. My foot falls until my knee slams into the gap between the subte car and the platform, too wide to fit through the gap. I hear gasps all around as I try to wriggle out. Someone screams at the driver not to leave. Argentines are great in a crisis, they rally. While I’m pushing frantically against the ground, convinced I’m about to lose my leg, I feel someone behind me. A man slips his arms under mine and pulls me up. I WAS FREE. It was all a blur, it must have lasted seconds but felt like an eternity. I don’t even think I saw the man who helped me up. As quickly as everyone on the Line D rush hour train had stopped to help me, they had left to move on with their day.
As I was hobbling around trying to calm down, I realized I was minus one shoe. It was on the tracks. I don’t know why I couldn’t let it go. Maybe I was in shock, but I definitely wasn’t thinking clearly. Another man comes to my rescue. A young guy saw me upset and hopped down to get it for me. So, of course, I immediately hug this stranger, with all the enthusiasm as if he had been the one who had just saved me from getting my leg ripped off. This guy did NOT want to be hugged. I’m sorry random Argentine man, but thank you for my shoe (and my leg).
Mind the gap, ya’ll.
Sick in the Airport
I used to always get sick when I traveled, a tired body and worn down immune system mixing with the germs of an airport is not the best combination. A week after moving to Buenos Aires, I was already back in the airport on my way to Rio. I had a 5 am flight and I started to feel a little queasy during my 2 am taxi ride. I ignored it, who doesn’t feel a little queasy when your schedule is so thrown off? Things quickly went downhill while I waited in the endless line to check in (why are there so many flights in the middle of the night!?). I felt sure I could survive the line. I’d rather die than wait in this line again, I thought to myself. Just check in, then you can collapse.
Just as I handed my passport to the kind GOL employee, I realized I had pushed my limits. Slapping my hand over my mouth, eyes widening, I shake my head no at her in a panic. Somehow this saint understood and told me to skip the line when I came back, a saint! Sprinting to a trash can and getting sick in front of countless judgemental eyes, I must have looked like a drunk, gone straight to the airport from the bar. I knew plenty of people that did that. But they’ll never know I had taken a 4-hour nap before my flight, so responsible! It was all worth it, I slept off my bug and enjoyed the beaches of Rio!
Illegal Bathroom Prohibition
Needing to use the bathroom in a city can often feel like being thirsty on the ocean, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. Baño exclusivo para clientes. Bathroom exclusively for customers is plastered on every restaurant door. So frankly, if nature calls and you aren’t near a McDonalds (the holy grail of unlocked bathroom doors), then you’re shit out of luck (pun intended).
Just last week I found myself in need of a bathroom on the subway. No problem, I thought. My stop at Ministro Carranza has a public bathroom, always has! False, they’ve locked the doors to the public now (cruel bastards). Up to street level, I go. With no McDonalds or Burger King anywhere in sight, I was forced into the first cafe I see.
The waitress asks what I need. I ask to use the bathroom. She says no. I said, too bad and go into the ladies room anyway. I also mumbled something about how it’s illegal for her to say no, but I wasn’t being very coherent. When I open the bathroom door to leave, she is at the door waiting for me! She’s all on me about trespassing on her private property and that I have to ask permission first. Excuse me, I did ask for permission. The two tables of diners have now stopped eating and all eyes are on me as I scream “well, ok then, call the police!!” Things have escalated quickly. We scream at each other until I’m on the sidewalk, laughing (she was not laughing). Did this just happen? I hope the people eating breakfast enjoyed their little show.
Survived to tell the tale
Well, those are my most embarrassing stories, for now. I’m sure there’s plenty to come. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you while traveling?