Vertigo Leg 1: 2005, US


'Dusty City'

31 March 2011
'Dusty City'
Buenos Aires. Day off.

Observations about Buenos Aires. There seem to be three categories of employment that flourish in this city unlike anywhere else.

Occupation 1: The roaming feather duster salesman. Whilst out and about, I have noticed several characters walking the streets carrying armfuls of large effusive old-school feather dusters. To see even one person like this would be noteworthy in any town, but I really have seen three or four, walking amongst the traffic, in crowds at the market, past late-night cafes. It's fair to say that this is quite a dusty city - a few of our more sensitive tour personnel have noticed some effect on their breathing - but it seems surprising for it to be of sufficient quantity to have spawned a cottage industry. Perhaps it's the high ceilings in the 19th century mansions?

Occupation 2: The super-multiple dog-walker. I'm sure dog-walkers can make a pretty good living in any large city full of busy professionals, but here in BsAs it appears to have been taken to a whole new level. Several times now I have seen an entire pack of dogs being walked on a vast, complex multi-leash by a single walker. It's quite an extraordinary sight - a writhing, jumping, yapping mass, tethered by a web of leather straps. On one occasion I noticed that all dozen or so dogs in a pack were of the same breed. I'm guessing that either there's an exceptionally high quantity of dogs in this city, or an exceptionally low number of dog walkers. Either way, opportunity knocked and opportunism has answered.

Occupation 3: Garbage ransacking. I'm guessing that this is some form of public-domain recycling scheme, but after dark you'll see individuals tearing open and rifling through vast piles of rubbish bags in the street. Some of them bring along quite sophisticated multiple baskets on wheels, presumably for sorting different kinds of treasure. There must be some sort of private or government payment scheme for recyclables in the city which, on one level, is encouraging, but the ocean of discarded non-recyclable material left behind has to be seen to be believed. Presumably the city then has to send out garbage trucks and sweeping teams at dawn to put the streets back together again before sunrise. It's a strange symbiosis, but it seems to work  - during the day the city is a clean and tidy as any other.

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06 April, 2011
Occupation 2: The super-multiple dog-wal
Yes Willie, in my opinion, you got that right, there's an exceptionally high quantity of dogs in Buenos Aires. But you are not the only one amazed but the super-multiple dog-walker, many American people said to me that too. But dog-walker are more like a mafia thing, they are organized, know each other and they do want to have the huge packs of dogs. More dogs more money. But the sad part, remember that's my opinion, is that the owners don't care about it, they have the dog as a fashion accessory, like a cell phone or something just to give themselves social status. I have two dogs 'pure dog' (I don't know how you call the Mixed-breed dogs, here we call them PP: Puro Perro: Pure Dog) and I have a female dog-walker who comes home to pick them up for a private walk. It's more expensive but I'm so scared to leave them with too many other dogs, they can be hurt. Thanks for taking the time to write about it. I do care for the dogs. Cheers
05 April, 2011
Garbage ransacking
This guys appeared after 2001 economic crisis. They are good people, very respectful, so the neighbours have no problem at all with them, we even try to help them puting in separate bags material they can sell like paper, plastic botles, even metals like old computers and that kind of stuff. They are usually organized in cooperatives to claim rights specially on the rates they are paid for the materials from recycling enterprises. They have no help from goverment of the city at all. There are still many of them, but with economic growth we expect they can have a better job oportunities. Thanks Willie for your views, they are really interesting.
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