Porteños

Most porteños — that is, the people who live in Buenos Aires — look very European, which isn’t all that surprising given the Italian and Spanish influence in the city as a whole. (On the other hand, there are also plenty of people who look very indigenous as well.) On my previous trips to other Latin American countries I’ve clearly stood out as a tourist; here, however, I am often mistaken for a local (as are my parents). People ask me for directions, or about bus routes, and sometimes I can actually help them out. Nevertheless, as soon as they hear my accent, they immediately realize I’m a foreigner.

In terms of fashion, porteños have a very modern style and generally quite well-dressed, especially the older ladies. Leggings, often with crazy patterns or designs, are commonly worn as pants, and very high heels are popular as well. However, the traditional high heel has been replaced with a large wedge — usually about three inches near the toe and four or five inches by the heel. And then there are the shoes with a uniformly sized chunk of perhaps two or three inches — it’s like there’s a brick underneath the actual shoe. I personally don’t find said footwear attractive, but apparently it is quite “de moda.”

Another trend I’ve noticed is facial piercings — not rings, but rather plastic colored studs all over men’s faces. Ughh. A lot of baby girls also have their ears pierced, although thankfully not any other parts of their faces.

Contrary to what some people have told me, including several porteños themselves, I’ve actually found the locals here to be very nice and welcoming and understanding. Sure, I’ve had some not-so-pleasant encounters, but I’ve also met many kind and generous people; on more than one occasion, someone who I just met has given me their contact information and told me to get in touch if I need anything at all. Furthermore, everyone at my internship has been wonderful, and it’s been a true joy to live with my host family — they are always smiling and do everything and anything possible to make sure I’m comfortable and happy.

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