Today I did something out of the ordinary. I woke up before 8 am. I am not trying to rub in how nice it has been to sleep in or make all you fellow alarm clock haters jealous, it is simply the lifestyle here. For instance, it is 7:45 in the morning and nothing is open. I couldn't sleep because I have a bad sore throat and against my natural instinct, got up and walked across the street to our local supermercado to buy some throat drops and fruit for breakfast. Even though it was evident the store's garage door was down from where I was standing, I got a closer look just to make sure. Yup, the sun has been up for 3 hours now and not this store nor any other in sight seems to be open. Besides a couple dogs barking the only other noticeable sound was from the water hitting the concrete on the side walks. I learned today that everyone is responsible for the pavement outside their building. Store owners were even scrubbing away at the concrete before them, probably trying to get rid of the dried dog poop residue. I wondered the other day where all the dog poop goes, if it just disintegrates or if people actually clean it up. In case I haven't mentioned, dog walkers here do not clean up dog poop. In fact, in almost every dog pooping incident that I have witnessed the owner has looked away and pretended something interesting was happening in the other direction. Sorry for using dog poop five times in the last four sentences but thesaurus.com has 'cow pies' listed as the first synonym. ¡Qué extraño!
As I walked around the block in my black leggings and baggy shirt in search of a cafe so I could at least grab a coffee, I found cafes aren't open either. Don't people drink coffee before work? It could be the serene neighborhood we live in, but mornings here are like waking up in the park. Instead of drinking a Starbucks on the way to work, maybe everyone is enjoying yerba mate at home. By the way Matt and I did learn the right way to prepare this popular drink and after a couple tweaks and lots of azucar (sugar), it's not so bad. And apparently, at least for me, it can really give you a boost of energy. Mate contains lots of mateína (caffeine) and the tannins from the leaves are what make it bitter.
Everyday I learn something new. I was telling Matt yesterday that I don't think living here for only a month or two would do this city justice. There are too many mysterious I still need to solve, too many locals I still need to talk to, too many parts of the cow I still need to taste, before I can return home and confidently say I dedicated my mind, heart and stomach to learning the Porteño ways!